A Deputy Minister nominee for the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, Madam Francisca Oteng Mensah, during her vetting by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, said she believes she will be exonerated by CHARJ’s investigations on the conflict of interest allegations.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is investigating a conflict of interest issue concerning the purchase of quantities of hand sanitizers from the Adonko Company Limited by the National Youth Authority (NYA).
Madam Oteng Mensah, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Kwabre East, told the Committee that she was the Board Chairperson of the NYA, whereas the Adonko Company Ltd belonged to her father and that she was a shareholder of the company.
She was responding to a question raised by Mr Alhassan Sayibu Suhiyini, the NDC MP for Tamale North, on whether she was aware of a conflict of interest investigation by the CHRAJ in relation to the NYA’s campaign to educate the populace on the COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic.
Mr Suyihini said the investigation concerns the budget approval of about three million Ghana Cedis to educate people on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Madam Oteng Mensah said per the practice, as the Chairperson of the Board, she could not be a member of the Entity Tender Committee and so she was not on the Committee.
“Secondly, I have no idea they were purchasing from Adonko Company Ltd at that time. It got to the time when we were in the peak of the COVID-19 season, in fact, if we all recall, getting access to sanitizers were a huge challenge, and so, at that point in time, everybody including even Members of Parliament were struggling to go anywhere that they could get sanitizers to give to their people,” she said.
“And so, at that point in time, in that state of emergency, nothing of that sort came to me and so, I find it difficult to accept that there is any conflict of interest, it was afterward that I got to know that they even purchased some number of sanitizers from Adonko Company Ltd.”
The nominee said the NYA did not purchase from Adonko Company alone, and that, per her checks, it also purchased from other companies like the GIHOC.
“On the issue of conflict of interest, I am sure CHRAJ is a competent body, and with their investigations, they will be able to come out and definitely exonerate me,” she said.
Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, reminded the nominee that Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution, provides that “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office”.
“You Chaired the Board Meeting, which approved the Three Million Ghana Cedis.”
In attendance at the vetting was the nominee’s husband, Mr Kwadwo Adade Amponsah, and some prominent chiefs including Barima Saasi Ayeboafo II, Chief of Mamponteng.
The Committee earlier vetted Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, NPP MP for Walewale and Minister-Designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection.