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Friday, November 13, 2009

Courage Quarshigah Speaks On His Alleged Arrest

Major (rtd) Courage Quarshigah
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Former Food and Agriculture Minister in the erstwhile NPP government, Major Courage Quarshigah (rtd), says allegations leveled against him of fraudulently awarding contracts to companies are “spurious and that the courts will definitely exonerate him.”

Initial media reports suggested that he had been arrested by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over the allegation.

But the former Health Minister denied the arrest saying he “was only invited by the SFO” regarding the allegations and later granted a self-cognizance bail as is with the practice with the SFO.

“They are talking about a contract awarded to somebody for the renovation of our training schools…the Genesis of this is that it’s a new thing I was trying to introduce into the ministry. We spend so much money on renovations every year, so I hatched upon this idea from a Canadian School that I attended. Periodically, priovate people with contract with these institutions, come to check your plan and if there is anything going on wrong, they will till you immediately…this was an idea I brought to Ghana…everybody is complaining we don’t have a culture of maintenance, so I thought it was a good idea. Then luckily, my headquarters wrote to me that they want to implement my idea in the training schools,” he told Kwami Sefa Kayi in an exclusive interview on PEACEFM’s “Kokrokoo”.

According to the Major Quarshigah, who also served as a Minister of Health, his minutes on a memo emphasized the need for cost effectiveness and strict adherence to procurement procedures.

“And now we are hearing that I have given contracts to companies that do not exist. The work has not even been done…I read the “Graphic” now and I’m being indicted with two others for awarding fraudulent contracts, when in fact…the SFO has not actually even finished with its investigations. When they actually finish, I don’t see how I can be indicted because I did my work exactly how the minister would do it. You must be sometimes stupid to issue contract to ghost names, I’ve never done that in my life…I was surprised to read in the “Palaver”, “Daily Guide” and now “Graphic” indicting me and two others,” he told Peace Fm.

An emotional charged Courage Quarshigah lamented that in spite of having initiated several projects that saved the country lots of money, he is now being accused of corruption, saying “I don’t know what exactly is going on, this is why it is good to go to court and sort things out…I used my capital investment money to supervise the work done at the Gushegu Hospital, instead of getting consultants to do that… we saved close to half a million Euros for that contract, and when I thought It was satisfactory. I used them again to supervise the Accident and Emergency, center at Kumasi…and I’m telling you Kwame, we saved over 2millions Euros, these things do not attract any news. I’m surprised and nobody has ever come to me and said, “oh Quarshigah you have saved so much money for the country”…now I am running into trouble with this, we will find out what happens…sometimes I like to take some very drastic initiatives and sometimes I know it can land you in trouble, but that is the mark of leadership, you must be bold to take initiatives,” he told Sefa Kayi on PEACEFM.
Source: Alex Ofei/peacefmonline

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