Managing Director (MD) of Japan Motors Trading Company Ltd, Salem Kalmoni, has said that he didn’t pay any money to sit at the high table together with President Nana Akufo-Addo at a recently held awards ceremony.
“Absolutely zero, not one cedi,” Mr Kalmoni said at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, December 20 adding “I was on the table, a few seats away from the president”.
His comments come in the wake of accusations by the Minority in parliament that the President Akufo-Addo led government consented to charges of up to $100,000 for participants at an awards ceremony organized by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.The minority indicated that the expatriates who were able to fork this amount were those given access to sit together with President Akufo-Addo at the high table.
But Mr Kalmoni whose company also picked up an award at the ceremony maintains: “We did not pay anything and we were awarded and looking back I think we deserve it as a company”.
“I think it is new, an award to honour expatriates and natural expatriates who are part of the Ghanaian community and I will be supportive of such an action. There are so many awards and this is another out of the box idea and I will be supporting it,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, Mr Victor Gbeho, has stated that some $25,000 and $100,000 charged per expatriate who sat close to Akufo-Addo at the awards ceremony were for fund raising purposes.“The truth in the matter must come out,” Mr Gbeho told journalists at the press conference on Wednesday adding: “The figures charged were for fund raising and sponsorship but some of the companies have not even paid”.
The former Ambassador said the foundation will no longer have a presidential table at the event since it has learnt its lesson from the raging controversy over the fund raiser which the Minority in Parliament and some civil society organisations have expressed concerns about.Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has summoned his Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen over the $100,000 for seat saga, Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin has said.
“…We want to be clear that we heard it just like almost everybody from the MP for Asawase on the floor of parliament and also through the media. The president had no knowledge whatsoever about the fact that people were being charged $100,000 to sit by him on a table, he had no idea whatsoever,” Mr Arhin stressed.The President through the Chief of Staff has directed the Minister of Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen “to come up and brief him and tell him whatever is entailed in this issue because just like you, we have no idea, absolutely no idea, the president had no idea whatsoever that a certain amount of money was being charged by anybody for people to sit by him,” Mr Arhin reiterated in an interview with Emefa Apawu on Accra-based Joy FM.
Mr Arhin said “the president will make a final decision on that matter”, once Mr Kyerematen has briefed him by 5p.m. today, Wednesday, 20 December.
Mr Arhin said the President’s query to Mr Kyerematen is to enable him understand all the issues related to the alleged sale of access to him at the recently held award ceremony.