Ishmael Yamson Opens Can Of Worms

The Board Chairman of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ishmael Yamson, on Tuesday made startling revelations on various media outlets that authenticated on-going damning publications that the Centre flouted the Political Parties Act (574) and approved an amount of GH˘4.000 to oil the campaign activities of the Volunteers For Mahama group. He disclosed when the approval came to his notice, he halted the process. However, there is no record per our checks at the GIPC as at yesterday that the Board Chairman halted the unholy act. Mr. Yamson further revealed that the GIPC had approved an amount of GH˘20.000 towards his 70th birthday anniversary and a cheque indeed issued to that effect. He revealed again that he returned the cheque when his children drew his attention to it. “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…”, he stated. Although President John Mahama through his campaign Communications Director last Monday ordered the GIPC to immediately investigate the supposed funding of the VFM, the Board Chairman said he was unaware of such directive. Mr. Yamson further entreated all doubting Thomases to verify his claim from the GIPC. “The story (that he was given the money) is not true. The truth of the story is that the cheque was returned to the GIPC and this can be verified from the GIPC”, Mr. Yamson reiterated. Commenting on the damning report that the GIPC financed the campaign activities of the VFM, the Board Chairman stated that although the cheque was issued to the group, it was not cleared based on his express command. The Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea who also spoke on Oman Fm and Joy Fm, both Accra-based radio stations, said the explanation was unconvincing. “You mean the cheque was not cleared because there were no funds in the accounts”? “A request was made to the GIPC…when the request came, Volunteers For Mahama requesting for public funds to prosecute their agenda; I mean this immediately should not go beyond the administrative secretary…you should call the people and advise them that ‘look, please don’t write to public institutions asking for funds, you are going to put everybody into disrepute’ but no that is not done. The letter goes to the top and instructions are written that money should be disbursed from the Ecobank account to them. Following upon that minuted instruction, a cheque is written and signed and we are being told today that the cheque did not clear; what it means is that GIPC did not have sufficient funds or somebody stopped the cheque,” he noted. Nana Akomea said he was surprised that Mr. Yamson, reputed as a celebrated advocate for good corporate governance, would spearhead an organisation engaged in such practices as approving questionable expenditures. He said it was unconscionable that the GIPC even wrote a cheque of GH˘20,000 to the Board Chairman for his birthday celebration. Commenting on government’s directive to the Volunteers For Mahama to return the money immediately and Mr Yamson’s revelation that he returned the GH˘20,000 cheque, Nana Akomea asked, “Why should it even happen?...would you do that kind of thing at Joy FM? Because it is public money everybody is doing what they want with it.” According to Good Governance watchers, the GIPC Board must answer pertinent questions such as: 1. Who authorized the payment of the money to Volunteers For Mahama and Mr. Yamson? 2. Did that official approve it unilaterally? 3. Was it documented when Mr. Yamson returned the cheque? 4. Who halted the cheque for VFM in its track? 5. What were the reasons for halting the VFM cheque? 6. Is there any documentary evidence to prove that the cheque did not go through? Please stay tuned as we seek to bring clarity to this saga.