GEBA Presidential Table Fees: MEF President Floors Minority’s Corruption Allegations

The controversial GEBA presidential circle fees have been found to be means of sponsoring the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards initiated by MEF, organisers of the event…

President of the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF), Ashim Morton, has come out to say that the paid-for presidential table which has been raising a lot of dust between the minority and majority members of parliament was initially meant to be occupied by him and not the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo.

Also See: Minority-Majority Fight Over $100k Akufo-Addo Access Fee

According to Ashim Morton, the “President” in the $100k presidential circle offer was actually referring to him and not Akufo-Addo as he [Akufo-Addo] was not billed to attend the awards event. He further pointed out that their letters to the expatriates never stated that the “president’s table was designated for the president of the Republic of Ghana.”

“Nowhere in our literature did we specifically or categorically say that the Presidents’ Gold table was designated for the President of the Republic of Ghana. I am the President of the Foundation and that Centre seat was designated for me.”

Mr. Morton said he only relinquished the position after President Akufo-Addo indicated great interest in attending the programme. Although he admitted that special seats were indeed reserved for all the companies that agreed to pay $100,000, “no one paid before the event.”

This appears to have cancelled out the thriving claims by the minority that the Trade Ministry is using the President of the Republic of Ghana to make money.

Meanwhile, the Trade Ministry has continued to insist that the controversial GEBA presidential circle fees were just means of sponsoring the event which was initiated by its organisers and not a fraudulent money-making stratagem by the ministry as many have alleged.

According to explanations given by both the Deputy Trade Minister and spokesperson of the Ministry, they played no role in placing the price tags for positions of proximity with the president at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) and that the monies will also go to MEF, the organisers of the event.

The Trade Ministry according to them, only partnered with MEF to lend credence to the progamme since MEF is not yet a popular organisation. This they said, was meant to encourage the expatriates to see the event as a creditable one and hence, part with their money.

They further explained that the GEBA presidential circle fees were not imposed but were voluntarily paid by interested expatriates as a way of sponsoring the event.

Read the Trade Minister’s statement on the contentious GEBA presidential table fee below to get more details on the partnership between the Trade Ministry and the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) in carrying out the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA):

PRESS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO THE BASELESS ACCUSATIONS RELATING TO THE GHANA EXPATRIATE BUSINESS AWARDS (GEBA) 2017.

      1. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has learnt with disdain the baseless allegations flying in the media (including social media platforms) that the Ministry charged expatriates between 25,000 and 100,000 dollars to offer them seats close to the President at the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA).
      2. The GEBA was the brainchild of the Millennium Excellence Foundation, an entity noted for its prowess and credibility in the organisation of world class events such as the Millennium Excellence Awards and the Accra Marathon.
      3. Upon the conception of the novel idea, the Foundation informed the government, through the Presidency and further sought partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the organisation of the first ever award event targeted at recognizing and rewarding the contributions of the expatriate and naturalised expatriate community to the socio-economic advancement of the country over the decades. For the avoidance of doubt, this is the first of its kind in Africa.
      4. As a Government that believes in the private sector as the engine of growth, the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry welcomed the initiative to collaborate with the Foundation to see to the birthing of the initiative.
      5. The Ministry consequently signed an MoU with the Foundation that spelt out the roles of both parties. Resource mobilisation to ensure that the event was organised at no cost to the taxpayer was the sole responsibility of the Foundation
      6. As a serious and experienced event organiser, the Foundation came up with a sponsorship programme as would be done by any serious-minded event organiser which included series of fundraising dinners and sponsorship packages.
      7. Non-mischievous minds with a basic knowledge of event organisation will know that as is the case with all fundraising activities, there are different sponsorship categories and packages with their attendant benefits. As to how one chooses to categorise them (whether presidential circle or platinum down to the least package) is only a matter of semantics, nomenclature and ingenuity.
      8. It is very worrying for people who are expected to know better (especially if some happen to be leading members of the august House of Parliament) to conveniently join the streets wagon in pursuit of petty partisan parochial interests to churn out deliberate falsehood to perpetuate the fallacy that access to the President has to be secured with financial inducements
      9. The two documents being paraded in the social media and some other platforms, that is the Ministry of Trade letter and the Millennium Excellence Foundation Package have nothing in common as they were not presented to sponsors at the same time. The Ministry only wrote letters to introduce the Millennium Excellence Foundation to sponsors and solicited support whilst the Foundation prepared the sponsorship package kits and presented it to potential sponsors at a later date.
      10. Without any show of disrespect or attempt to tag individuals and organisations as not being corporate responsible, on the so-called “for sale Presidential Table “ were the Award winning MD of Tigo/Airtel (Roshi Motman), Amar Hari (IPMC), Salem Kalmoni (Japan Motors), Ashok Mohinani (Polygroup), H.E. Jerry John Rawlings, Hon Alan Kyerematen, Amb. James Victor Gbeho, Hon Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, Mr. Yofi Grant of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Amb. Ashim Morton who did not pay a pesewa to be seated on the “for the highest bidder Presidential Table”.
      11. People who know or ought to know better should desist from mischief and propaganda and rather learn to commend individuals and institutions that come up with initiatives such as the GEBA that has the capacity to boost the country’s FDIs.
      12. It is gratifying to us as partners that all the wild and unsubstantiated falsehoods has not included anything to the effect that any company that won an award did so by virtue of its ability to pay – a testament to the commendable work of the event validators, the reputable KPMG.
      13. A technical team defined the criteria for evaluating the award categories. This technical team consisted of personnel from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority, the Registrar General’s Department, the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Private Enterprises Federation, the Ghana Free Zones Board and the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
      14. KPMG acted as an independent party to evaluate, analyse and validate the data to determine the winners. Their role as Event Statisticians required them to ensure that the defined criteria and process for determining the winners were strictly adhered to. KPMG concluded that the award winners won on the basis of the criteria and process defined by the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards Technical Team.
      15. The GEBA has come to stay as an event to be held every other year to appreciate the contributions of the expatriate and naturalised expatriate community to the growth of the country. An investigative report by a competent security agency of the country has put to rest the spurious allegations that one has to pay his or her way to have access to the Presidency. Let no one attempt to resurrect a dead issue through GEBA.
      16. The Ministry of Trade and Industry as one of the major drivers of the industrial transformation agenda of government will continue to endorse and support worthy initiatives as GEBA that is championed by proven credible individuals or organisations to help accelerate socio-economic advancement of Ghana.