Friday, June 5, 2009

It's all lies - Mubarak to President Mills

Youth and Sports Minister Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak has rubbished reports that he has misapplied funds at his ministry and described the allegations as disgraceful.In a five-page response to the Presidential query, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak said certain personalities within the Ministry are hell-bent on sabotaging his effort at executing the President’s agenda.He said the allegations against him are creations of the principal accountant of the Ministry who is disgruntled after he was transferred.Touching on the allegations, the Minister who is also the Member of Parliament for Asawase said it was untrue that Edith Zineuali who travelled as part of the national delegation to the finals of the CHAN tournament in Cote d’Ivoire was his girlfriend.“She is the secretary of the Majority Leader in Parliament and she expressed interest in witnessing the final match of the 1st CHAN tournament in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. I was advised by the Chief Director that the Ministry could include her in the funding of those going to witness the match.“I imagined that since we sometimes even fund supporters unions to these events it is permissible practice at the ministry to facilitate her attendance hence I assumed that the Chief Director was perhaps proffering good advice. From available records within my ministry in respect of such requests I did not find it unusual and irregular and therefore endorsed her inclusion on the trip.”The Minister denied allegations that he took $10,000, which should have been paid as reimbursement for landing charges, and humbly invited the President to verify from officials at the ministry if any such payment was approved and made out to him.Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak said the allegation that he took per diem of GHc2000 instead of the maximum allowable figure of GHc1200 was ample evidence of the ploy to discredit him. “I was never told that the GHc1,200 was my maximum allowable per diem on that occasion. Secondly, the voucher should have been prepared by the Accountant for the said GHc1,200 since he should have been aware that that is the maximum allowable per diem on that occasion.“Since it was their design to scandalize me they deliberately prepared a voucher which they knew exceeded my maximum allowable per diem on that occasion and then approved it so that when I, in ignorance of the maximum allowable and assuming that my staff acting professionally and properly in the determination of my per diem, took the money they would be able to use it as part of their ammunitions against me.”The Youth and Sports Minister said it was untrue that he ignored procedure in requesting for payments on behalf of the National Sports Council from the Ministry of Finance. “I was advised by the Chief Director with a supporting letter from the Chief of Staff that it was permissible to use that procedure. Indeed, the Chief Director prepared the letter which I signed.”On the allegation that he singlehandedly arranged the accommodation and feeding of the Black Stars team in Kenya and Sudan, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak said the accusation had been made because he had opened up the arrangement of travel plans for the Black Stars to other travel agents through competitive bidding making huge savings as a result.With respect to allegations that the Minister requested for the refund of GHc674.02 in respect of baby food, mouthwash and other household items he admitted that some refund was made to him based on ‘misleading’ advice from the Principal Accountant.He said when a senior accountant advised against it “and I requested a return of the receipt so I refund the initial moneys to the Principal Accountant he declined alleging that it was within the remit of what I could claim as household expenditure. Since then I have not submitted any claim.”On allegations that he requested a refund of GHc15,200 with a receipt in the name of Zinabu Mubarak in respect of food and other food items, the Minister said it never happened and challenged his accusers to prove otherwise.Reacting to the allegation that he had demanded savings made from the CHAN tournament and the Black Stars vs Benin match, the Minister said it was untrue. He said he rather had a problem with the Principal Accountant for refusing to declare actuals after matches to enable savings to be calculated. “The Chief of Staff will confirm that I was the one who made actuals from the said matches mentioned in paragraph 8 known to him. The Principal accountant has refused to declare the actuals on all the other matches.”The Minister said it was untrue that Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu, a Director of the Ministry authorised payments without due procedure. “Alhaji Yakubu was at that material time the Ag Chief Director, once the substantive Chief Director was not at post. In any case it is within the remit of the Director of F&A to approve any expenditure of less than GHC600.”

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