Emmanuel Victor Smith, Minister (Designate) for Eastern Region
VICTOR SMITH, a dismissed aide to former President Jerry John Rawlings, secured a stormy parliamentary vote to become the Eastern Regional Minister but with a highly battered image.
Members of Parliament, by a majority vote of 97 for and 61 against, late Thursday night approved the nomination of Victor Smith for appointment as the third minister for the Eastern Region just a little over three years under the Mills administration.
However, the integrity of the former Ambassador to Czech Republic was virtually torn into shreds in a tempestuous debate by MPs on the report of the Appointments Committee of Parliament chaired by Edward Doe Adjaho.
The House had to go through a secret vote lasting hours to take a decision on the embattled former aide to NDC founder, ex-President Rawlings after it had unanimously approved his colleague for the Volta Region.
The marathon vote on Victor Smith followed Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo’s ruling that the former Ambassador’s fate be determined by a secret ballot, making him the third to face such predicament after Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and Fiifi Kwetey, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning.
MPs from both sides of the House unanimously endorsed Henry Ford Kamel as the Volta Regional Minister, describing him as a true gentleman with exemplary humility.
Soon after the secret vote on Victor Smith, Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu urged President Atta Mills to reconsider his intention to appoint the former Ambassador as a regional minister.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the MP for Suame, was of the opinion that the majority side got it very wrong by voting in support of the nominee.
Members of the Minority caucus, led by Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, described Victor Smith as a serial liar, unworthy of being appointed as the political head of the Eastern Region.
The group had earlier rejected the nomination of the nominee at the Appointments Committee on similar grounds, compelling the majority side in the Committee to take a majority decision on him.
Citing false publications and disquieting utterances by Mr. Smith, Asamoah Ofosu and Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, NPP MPs for Kade and Manhyia respectively, labeled the former aide to President Rawlings as somebody who lacked credibility and an alarmist who could create security problems for the people of the Eastern Region.
The Minority MPs’ raid on him followed his apparent retreat from a string of damaging allegations he had previously made against the NPP administration when he appeared before the Appointments Committee last week.
While purporting to be a managing editor of now defunct Weekly Standard newspaper, Mr. Smith had published that then President Kufuor had been involved in a supposed $5 billion crude oil deal with a Kuwaiti oil mogul.
However, the nominee beat a fast retreat, confirming he could not substantiate the allegation when he was subjected to strict proof by Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, during his appearance at the Appointments Committee last week.
At the same platform, Mr. Smith also failed to prove his recent allegations that Kufuor’s NPP administration had plotted to “assassinate” former President Rawlings.
All these, according to the Minority group, made Victor Smith an undeserving person who should be the head of security of the Eastern region.
Meanwhile, the House went on Easter break Thursday night after a marathon sitting was adjourned sine-die at about 11:30 pm Thursday.
The House is expected to reconvene on May 15, 2012.