The event management company has been accused of colluding with the Ministry of Trade and Industry to extort cash as much as $100,000 per expatriate businessman who sat close to the President at the ceremony.
But Mr Gbeho, on Monday, 15 January, told parliament’s five-member ad hoc committee investigating the matter that the Foundation has been depending on sponsorship for its events for the past 30 years in countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, among others, and plainly denied selling access to the president.
“We sought and received the partnership of the Ministry of Trade and Industry on clearly spelt out areas of responsibility and the rest is history. The Millennium Excellence Foundation did not and Mr Chairman we should repeat that, we did not coerce or levy any person or institution to come out with sums of money that will enable them to sit next to the Head of State,” Mr Gbeho said.
He continued: “The Foundation found voluntary sponsors to support the first-class event that was held. It did not sell seats for cash nor was any expatriate excluded from the attendance of the event because it did not sponsor. Indeed, it is a fact that most of the VIPs seated on the presidential table did not pay sponsorship or the alleged $100,000 before the gala event. Finally, Mr Chairman, I wish, on behalf of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, to confirm that the Foundation did not participate nor encourage any stratagem to steal money from any businessman.”
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