GHc1m renovation: Maritime Authority board to blame – Yaw Oppong

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Private Legal Practioner, Yaw Oppong, has said the Board of the Ghana Maritime Authority should not be absolved in the controversy over the GHc 1 million spent on the renovation of the Director General’s official residence.

He even suggested that this controversy was cause for board members to resign.

“In a situation like this, no one may even have to call on you to resign,” Mr. Oppong remarked on The Big Issue.

Other than that, he said “if any of them thinks that they were opposed to it [the renovation] and they feel strongly now, we should hear them speak.”

The authority’s boss, Kwame Owusu, has borne the brunt of public backlash though he has maintained that he followed due process in the renovation, which was also plagued with accusations of conflict of interest.

“It means that the body, the governing body has always been aware of these matters going on and they have sanctioned it,” Mr. Oppong surmised.

In view of this, he also said there was little cause to blame Mr. Owusu alone for the expenditure.

“I am not saying that we should exculpate him from any wrongdoing but then we shouldn’t also leave out the board. If indeed he disclosed all these things to them and at the end of the day, they have allowed it to occur then there may not even be a justification to blame him.”

“There will be very little merit in even taking him out and blaming him for it even though as a body, and he is part of it, he is also to blame if there is any wrongdoing at the end of the day.”

As a statutory institution, the Maritime Authority board is made up of a chairperson; the Director-General of the Authority; one representative of the Ministry of Roads and Transport; one representative of the Fisheries Commission; one representative of the Ghana Navy; one representative of the Volta River Authority; one representative of the Environmental Protection Agency; one representative of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority; one person each from each of the following bodies nominated by the respective members: Ghanaian registered ship owners; Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders; Ghana Shippers Council; and two women with specialised knowledge in the maritime industry nominated by the Minister.

Transport Minister orders probe

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has directed the board of the Ghana Maritime Authority to investigate the alleged misappropriations.

The Transport Minister in a statement said the board is expected to make its findings available to him for an appropriate decision to be made.

However, there are concerns about whether the board will do a fair job, considering their links to the Director General.

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