The Minority caucus is demanding that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo strips off the honorary awards conferred on the Ministers of Health and Information.
They are also calling on the President to strip off other awardees who were cited in the Auditor General’s report on COVID-19 funds since the issue is still being probed by Parliament.
Kwaku Agyemang-Manu and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah on Tuesday, March 14, received the Order of Volta awards for their roles in the COVID-19 fight.
But the Minority in a statement said it “believes that awardees including the Minister for Health, the Minister for Information and others cited in the Auditor General’s audit of COVID-19 funds and other undeserving awardees should be stripped off their national honours in order to maintain the sanctity of the awards otherwise we risk a situation in which deserving Ghanaians will shun the awards altogether”.
The Minority in the statement signed by MP for Juaboso and Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, said the awards conferred on persons cited in the report are a desecration of the awards scheme.
“Inasmuch as the Minority agrees with the principle of duly recognizing the efforts of deserving awardees, we are of the opinion that yesterday’s event lowered the high standards previously set and maintained by previous awardees by comingling deserving and undeserving awardees at the event,” the Minority pointed out.
The Minority caucus argues that the state honouring these persons means they have been cleared of the offences they have been accused of.
“The Minority in Parliament is deeply concerned about the manner in which yesterday’s National Awards Ceremony held at the Accra International Conference Centre turned out to be a final attempt at clearing persons being investigated by a Parliamentary Committee of Enquiry on their stewardship in the management covid-19 funds,” the Minority stated in its statement.
According to violations cited in the audit report by the Auditor General, the Information Ministry improperly compensated its employees GH¢151,500 for COVID-19 insurance while failing to deliver $81 million worth of government-paid vaccines.
The state among other things is said to have spent US$607,419.02 out of US$4,049,460.12 for the acquisition of 26 ambulances, but the vehicles were never delivered.
The government through the Ministry of Finance responded to criticisms following public outcry by stating, that the funds spent on direct COVID-19 interventions and general budget support were in accordance with the mandate approved by Parliament and that of the Public Financial Management Act.
The award was to recognise the selflessness, hard work and outstanding contributions of the national COVID-19 Taskforce in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state explained that the Order of Volta-Companion awards cover core members of the COVID-19 national Taskforce, Trustees of the COVID-19 private sector fund and legal team as well as other individuals nominated for special awards in recognition of their extraordinary contributions towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and in other spheres of national lives.
The Order of the Volta is an order of merit from the Republic of Ghana. It was instituted in 1960 and is awarded to people for their outstanding service to the country.