By Halifax Ansah-Adddo
(Daily Guide Friday, 04 June 2010)
Ghana’s Tourism Minister, Zita Sabah Okaikoi, is residing with her maid-servant and bodyguard in a government of Ghana facility while on a private visit to New York to seek maternal care, information reaching DAILY GUIDE from the United States indicates.
Reports say the pregnant Minister and the two are cooling off on the 14th floor of 19 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017, a residential facility at the New York Consulate of the Ghana Mission in the United States.
The facility, DAILY GUIDE learnt, is exclusively reserved for Ghanaian officials on official working trips to the US, and is not to be used by persons on private visits.
The female Minister, together with her bodyguard and servant, are incurring extra cost for the Ghana Mission at a time a number of workers there have not been paid for months.
Apart from staying at the residential facility at the Consulate, reports say Zita and her private maid are chauffeur-driven in government of Ghana vehicles on their private rounds.
The vehicles are fueled and maintained by the Ghanaian tax payer, sources say.
Amazingly, all telephone numbers to the office of the consulate went unanswered and were directed to voice mails when DAILY GUIDE called.
Zita herself could also not be reached on phone and when DAILY GUIDE asked Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, what the Tourism Minister was doing outside the country, he seemed not to be in the know and suggested that Zita herself speaks to the issue.
Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni could also not be reached on phone and two text messages sent to his phone for a reaction were not answered.
The 15-floor consulate was purchased for Ghana by ex-head of state General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.
A source who spoke on anonymity explained: “The building is very big and there are some parts that are scarcely used.
It was restructured and rebuilt into two residential facilities by the Kufuor government and the minister is staying with her house-girl in one of them.”
When news broke in Ghana that Zita had travelled outside the country, ostensibly to seek maternal care, she had a lot of public bashing from persons who expressed surprise that a Minister for Tourism under the Mills administration did not find any hospital in Ghana worthy of her status, but had to travel to US just for maternal care.