GIPC Saga: Confusion Over Board Chair's GHC 20,000 Birthday 'Present'

The murky situation at the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) is set to grow muddier as questions about the exact amount doled out for the Board Chairman's birthday party and the exact balance returned has been called into question. The financial transactions at the GIPC have come under public and governmental scrutiny following revelations that a wing of President Mahama’s campaign team, Volunteer For Mahama (VFM), were given a cheque of GHC 4,000 to be draw from the GIPC’s ECOBANK account. Another GHC 20,000 cheque was also allegedly paid to the Board Chairman of the Centre, Mr Ishmael Yamson for his birthday celebration. President Mahama instructed the board of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) to convene an emergency meeting on Tuesday to investigate the allegation that the Chief Executive of the GIPC, George Aboagye ordered the payment of funds to the group. It will be recalled however that in an earlier interview, the Board Chairman of the Center, Ishmael Yamson said, "the cheque was returned to the GIPC and this can be verified from the GIPC... Many organisations donated to my birthday party, i got to know later... in this particular case my children told me about it and i said, 'no, i don't want GIPC cheque. Return it to them. Its a state organisation. Someday', and i have been proved right, somebody is going to say 'you were given a cheque for GHC 20,000 for your birthday party! ' Whatever reason they had i wouldn't know but the fact of the matter is that, that cheque was returned back to the GIPC" Mr. George Aboagye, who resigned as Chief Executive of the GIPC on Wednesday "as a matter of principle", in an interview on Joy FM however said the Board Chairman was issued a receipt of GHC 9,000 which was allegedly used for the birthday celebration. "It was a management decision to support the birthday party and we normally do things like Club 100 and all that. With the budgetary arrangement with the major hotels is that, its just what they followed. This is a budget, it was not something that was to be necessarily consumed by him. We said 'we will buy the drinks', and so when we bought the drinks, almost GHC 11,000 was excess and he returned the money and we gave him a receipt. So we have that he has returned the balance". "So the actual money that was spent out of the budget was less than 50 percent of the amount... Almost GHC 11, 000 was returned." According to Mr Aboagye, the money spent was justified because "he [Board Chairman] is not not a private person, he is the Chairman of the board of GIPC. This is a man who doesn't even take his board allowances. He donates it to the Institute of Hygiene or so. So its not not like we were going to just give him money to consume it and that is why we wanted our receipts for expenditure, which were given to us, and then we also took the money that was left and gave him a receipt. " "He himself didn't directly come for the money. It was the people who were organising his birthday... normally these things come as 'we want to surprise him." "For the benefit of hindsight, i think that if a board Chairman who has contributed so much and he is celebrating a birthday party, depending on the way you value the person, any support of any kind is welcome," he concluded.