The Board Chairman of the Ghana Investment Promotion Council has with great subtlety indicated he will take action on a Daily Guide newspaper publication that the GIPC spent a whopping GHc20,000 on his birthday celebration.
Even though he described the report as nonsense, Mr. Ishmael Yamson, conceded that the GIPC presented a cheque for GH¢20,000 as a contribution for his birthday celebration – a cheque he ordered returned when it came to his notice.
“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 told Joy FM Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah.
He said those who cared to check could verify from the Council whether the cheque was returned or not.
The Daily Guide newspaper in its Tuesday November 27, 2012 edition reported that “The latest in the series of revelations on the trend of questionable expenditure at the GIPC is the approval in April of 2012 of GH¢20,000 as spending money for the celebration of the 70th birthday of GIPC’s Board Chairman, Ishmael Yamson.”
But Mr. Yamson said “the story 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.”
He said many organizations donated to his birthday but when his children drew his attention the GIPC’s cheque, “I said no, I don’t want GIPC cheque, return it to them; it’s a state organisation; someday, and I’ve been proved right, somebody is going to say ‘you were given a cheque for GH¢20,000 for a birthday party.”
The Board Chairman said whatever reasons the GIPC had offering him that amount “I wouldn’t know but the fact of the matter is that the cheque was returned…to the GIPC.”
Responding to earlier reports that the GIPC doled out GH¢4,000 to a group campaigning for President John Mahama, the Volunteers For Mahama, Mr. Yamson said although the cheque was issued to the group, it was not cleared – an explanation the Communication Director of the opposition New Patriotic Party Nana Akomea flatly rejected.
Nana Akomea 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.”