Thursday, 18 June 2009
Story by Halifax Ansah-Addo
Daily Guide of Thursday June 18 2009
STEPHEN ASAMOAH-Boateng, the ‘most wanted’ former Information Minister, yesterday packed his toothbrush and paste, cosmetics and toiletries, cloths and boxer shorts plus a King James bible and followed his wife; pretty-faced Zuleika to the headquarters of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).
National Security agents, yesterday morning, pounced on Zuleika at her residence in an attempt to arrest her after they had gone to the Tantra Hill residence of her mother to throw their weights about and issue wild threats of arrest.
Asamoah-Boateng’s family packed their toiletries and panties to the BNI because they are unsure on when and if they would be given back their freedom to return home; already, his sister-in-law, 25-year old Yasmin Damoah, who was arrested without charge last Tuesday morning passed the night at the bureau and it is uncertain when she would be released or allowed to speak to her lawyers.
Perhaps, Asamoah- Boateng’s years of experience from living as in exile as a political refugee has taught him a few lessons in responding to invitations from national security greyhounds; especially when such invitations are politically motivated.
The untamed hunt for Zuleika and her relatives is part of a government agenda to throw the hangman’s noose on the neck of her husband, Mr. Asamoah-Boateng, over reports that an in-law of his had shares in a company that won an GHC86, 915.85 government contract last year.
Reports are that a top government official has whispered to the President that Mr. Asamoah-Boateng wrongly influenced the award of the said contract to Plexiform, thus the BNI has been unleashed to do a meticulous investigation to prove the allegation so as to get the ex-Minister under lock and key.
Zuleika’s arrest yesterday has to do with allegations from government that she “obstructed justice” when she dramatically snatched her husband’s passport from some BNI agents at the Kotoka International Airport last Sunday and kept it on a part of her body where no sane man would dare remove.
This happened after the said agents ambushed Asabee, Zuleika and their two kids aged four and two at the Airport and physically prevented them from boarding a British Airways flight to London; flight after delaying for an hour, was eventually ordered to off-load the checked-in luggage of Asamoah-Boateng and his family.
The agents, who refused to disclose their identity cards, claimed Asabee could not travel because he was to report to the BNI the next day; they seized his passport and those of his family and he was neither told the reason for the invitation nor shown any arrest warrant.
Asabee had since rejected the invitation and insisted that he would only respond to a formal invitation and not a verbal one from agents who would not disclose their identity.
Deputy Minister for Information, Okudjato Ablakwa, in an interview on the issue said “Stephen Asamoah-Boateng is being investigated for corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of office.”
Meanwhile, Plexiform upon completion of the contract has not been paid as a result of a presidential directive that the payment should be halted.
The Acting Chief Director at the Ministry, D.A.Y. Sampong, apparently displeased over the issue, has fired a letter to the Office of the President, asking that the President authorizes the release of funds for the payment of the contract because the Ministry went through “the necessary procurement processes to award the contract to M/S Plexiform Ventures”.
The Ag Chief Director noted that “the Ministry was on the verge of issuing the cheque to the company when a directive was received from the office of the President that all payments should not be made prior to approval by the Office of the President.”
The contract was awarded after it had properly gone through tender and the Ministry’s Entity Tender committee, of which Mr. Asamoah-Boateng was not a member, had accepted the Evaluation Report and unanimously agreed that out of the three companies that bid for the contract, Plexiform Ventures stood tall in aptitude, yet had the lowest price quotation and period to execute the contract.