Some chiefs in the Nzema East Municipality of the Western Region have made it clear that their own daughter and former Minister for Tourism, Catherine Abelema Afeku, has done nothing untoward with regards to the recent Auditor General’s findings.
A section of the 2018 Auditor General’s report mentioned that the Ministry of Tourism under the tenure of Madam Afeku misapplied an amount of GH¢200,000.
The money is drawn from the Marine Drive Project, according to the report, was used for the 2018 celebration of the Kundum festival of the people of Nzema in the Western Region.
After the release of the report, one Nana Nkwantabisa, who is the chairman for the Lower Axim Kundum festival, in numerous media engagements, has insisted that the reported amount was not given to the Planning Committee and has since been vilifying the former Tourism Minister.
However, setting the records straight in an interview with journalists, Nana Awuzah, Chief of Otupae in Axim and a member of the Planning Committee, said there was nowhere in the report that the Axim Planning Committee was mentioned.
He said the report also did not say that Catherine Afeku gave money to anyone or the Planning Committee, adding “So how can a member of the Planning Committee conclude that the report was referring to the Axim Kundum festival alone?”
He indicated that the former minister has explained that the Tourism Ministry used the money to transport and support artists who performed at the Kundum festival of which the Planning Committee was aware, saying “This is the question journalists should be asking the Nzema people whether the artistes came or not and that should settle the matter once and for all.”
He said Catherine Afeku also sent musicians to perform during the Nsein festival and that of Nkroful which took place in front of the original tomb of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President.
He, therefore, mentioned that no chief or Nkosuohene has any locus to vilify the former MP for the area, particularly when the committee was not mentioned in the report.
The Acting Paramount Chief of Upper Axim Traditional Area, Nana Adusei II, also said at the news conference that the 15-member committee did not support the unilateral decision the Nkosuohene took.
He disclosed that a community close to Axim even tried to get one artiste to perform at their festival and the musician charged GH¢150,000 but because the people could not raise the money they could not get the artiste to perform.
“So how much more our own daughter who brought over 10 artistes to perform. Do you expect that to cost GH¢200,000?” he quizzed.
For his part, Nana Awiafum, Gyantuahene of Lower Axin Traditional Area, noted that the people could testify that the 2018 Kundum festival in the area was exceptional in that the people watched some celebrities they could see only on television, performing live.
The Queen mother of Akonu near Axim, Obaahema Asafuah was also not enthused about the behavior of Nana Nkwantabisa and asked him to retract or face the wrath of the chiefs who installed him as Nkosuohene.
Later in an interview, Catherine Afeku threatened legal action against the Nkosuohene of Axim, Nana Nkwantabisa, for tarnishing her hard-won reputation while interpreting the 2018 Auditor General’s report.
She dared the Nkosuohene to show wherein the report that the name of a chief or a palace was mentioned, saying “I would want him to show wherein the report I was given specific instructions to carry a cheque to a chief or a palace that I have not done.”
“I am daring him to bring that evidence, failure to do so, he will face legal action. Because he has brought major disrepute to the good people of Nzema including my good self,” she stressed.
“It must be noted that I have not been on any airwave to insinuate or sought to make any chief a witness to how the ministry’s money for the Kundum was used,” she added.
Some people in the area, calling themselves ‘Concerned Youth of Axim’, have also issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Nkosuohene, Nana Nkwantabisa, to retract and apologize for dragging the name of the former Member of Parliament, Catherine Afeku, and the highly recognized Kundum festival into disrepute.
One of the conveners, Theophilus Musah, noted the report did not accuse any chief of taking money nor did it accuse any Kundum committee chairman of receiving money from the ministry.