The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied reports that the immediate past Executive Director of the agency, Mr Peter Abum Sarkodie, and two other officials, spent $81,000 on a six-day trip to Finland.
The agency stated that rather, $14,200 (GH¢62,809.64) was released for the official trip of Mr Sarkodie, the acting Director of Inter-sectorial Networking of the agency, Mr Ransford Sekyi and the Communications Director, Mrs Angelina Tutua Mensah, to “sign strategic partnership agreements” with Oulu University in Finland and the Finland Environmental Protection Agency.
The Deputy Executive Director in-charge of Finance and Administration, Mr Charles Cudjoe Amevor, who disclosed this in an interview the Daily Graphic, said “These media reports are basically untrue and mischievous as they are crafted to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Mr Sarkodie and the two EPA officials,” Mr Amevor stated.
A copy of the payment voucher, prepared by Mr J. M. Addo, an accountant of the EPA, was made available to the Daily Graphic, showing that the agency released $14,200 for the six-day trip of the three officials on February 27, 2018.
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It would be recalled that the Executive Director of the EPA, Mr Sarkodie, was relieved of his post by the President last Thursday.
A letter signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, directed Mr Sarkodie to hand over to the Deputy Director of Field Operations of the agency, Mr John Pwamang.
Reports making rounds in the media had attributed Mr Sarkodie’s removal from office to allegedly “blowing” $81,000 belonging to the agency on a three-week foreign trip together with two officials of the agency to Finland to sign an agreement with a University Oulu.
Reacting to media reports that some staff of the EPA known as Concerned Citizens’ Association had called for the dismissal Mr Sarkodie in a petition forwarded to the Presidency on September 8, 2017 and March 29, 2018, the Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of the agency, Mr Amoah Antwi-Bosiako, denied knowledge of such group or any agitation by staff against Mr Sarkodie.
“There are only three recognised groups within the agency—the Senior Staff Association, the TUC and the EPA Ladies’ Association — and we are not aware of any Concerned Citizens’ Association at EPA,” he explained.
‘University never paid for trip’
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Acqua Minerals Ghana, Mr Samuel Owusu-Asare, who facilitated the meeting between the EPA and the Finnish university, debunked media reports that the University of Oulu paid for the trip of Mr Sarkodie and the two officials of the EPA to Finland.
“It was impossible for the Oulu University to pay for the ticket of the EPA officials because there was no reason for the university to do that since meeting we had was not at the instance of the university.