George Aboagye, the immediate past Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), has countered claims by Chairman of the Board Ishmael Yamson that he returned a cheque for GHc20,000 donated to him by the GIPC for his 70th birthday party.
Aboagye insisted that Mr. Yamson only returned GH¢11,000 of the total amount to the Council.
Yamson, reacting to a Daily Guide article claiming that the GH¢20,000 had been approved for his birthday, said there was not an iota of truth in the story.
Whilst conceding that a cheque for GH¢20,000 had been donated by the GIPC for his 70th birthday party, Mr. Yamson said when the cheque came to his attention, he instructed that it be returned.
He told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Thursday that, “it is true that the GIPC donated a cheque for GH¢20,000 but the cheque was returned on my instruction back to the GIPC, so the GIPC did not give me a cheque which I accepted…”.
However, George Aboagye, who resigned from his post as GIPC boss Wednesday, said on the same program that the cheque had been cashed and that GHc9,000 out of the original GHc20,000 had been spent on drinks for the birthday party.
He explained that after the drinks had been purchased, “almost GHc11,000 was excess and [Yamson] returned [that] money and we gave him a receipt.
“So the actual money that was spent out of the budget was less than 50 percent of the amount. Almost GHc11,000 was returned.”
According to him, “it was a management decision to support the birthday party."
He stressed that Mr. Ishmael Yamson did not personally receive the money. Rather, he said, the people who were organizing the party came for the cheque.
Aboagye maintained that there is nothing wrong with an organisation contributing to the birthday celebration of its chairman.
Speaking on his resignation, he explained that he “resigned perhaps even before I went to the meeting of the board because I felt that the issue at hand is just an aspect but there is a larger picture to the whole incident. I resigned because I felt that this is a place where confidence is very important especially among the investor community and if documents could be copied and put to the public domain under my watch … then I think it is not fitting that I stay...”.
Responding to reports that he approved a request for GHc4,000 by a group, Volunteers For Mahama, which campaigns for President John Mahama, Aboagye, who is running for a parliament seat on the NDC ticket at Ahanta West, said that the support “was for peace purposes.”
“Those people came to us and they came with a letter and upon discussion with them I [thought] that they were going to do a peace walk and that was what I understood…so if at a point you realize that it wasn’t going to be that, it was going to be coloured a bit, maybe a little bit more political, then you have the option not to present the cheque to them so the cheque never went to a bank, the cheque is with us,” he explained.
He added that although the final cheque was given to the group last Friday, it was never cashed because “at that instance we were seeing that there was a bit of political slant so there was no need to support them. We had discussed, myself and one of my directors, and said we will not support them.”