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Deputy Trade Minister resigns after breaching COVID-19 protocols

A Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, has resigned for breaching the self-isolation protocols on coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

A statement signed and issued in Accra yesterday by Eugene Arhin, Director of Communications, Office of the President, said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has accepted the Tema West MP’s resignation from office with immediate effect.

The President further urged all government officials to strictly comply with the protocols to support efforts to fight against the disease.

“President Akufo-Addo is admonishing all of his appointees to bear in mind that they are to provide leadership, at all times, for adherence to the protocols that have been established to help the nation defeat COVID-19,” the statement noted.

It said the President recognises the resignation of the Deputy Minister from office as an honourable act in the circumstance and wished him well.

Mr Ahenkorah, on Thursday, admitted on several media interviews in Accra that he visited voter registration centres in his constituency on Tuesday, despite testing positive for COVID-19.

He argued that, he visited the centres after reports emerged that some of the machines being used for the exercise were faulty.

He further noted that his decision to visit the centres was to prevent speculations about his health and whereabouts, as the voter registration exercise was ongoing.

Although he was positive, Mr Ahenkorah said that he adhered to all the social distancing and health protocols, and did not expose members of the public at the centres to the disease.

Earlier, he had refuted reports that, he was admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after testing positive for the disease.

He said his overnight stay at the isolation centre of the hospital was for a review, and not at the ICU as speculated in the media.

“I was admitted for an overnight review on my COVID-19 status at the Isolation Centre in Korle-Bu yesterday around 5 pm, and discharged at 11am this morning.

“I have not in any way been taken ill or suffered any serious breakdown to send me into ICU. I must categorically state that, I am not in ICU neither am I in Korle-Bu at the moment,” he added.

Meanwhile, social media was rife yesterday with calls by section of Ghanaians on government to prosecute the Tema West MP.

Among them is pressure group, OccupyGhana, which said in a statement that, it was disappointed in the Deputy Trade Minister’s action that put his fellow citizens at high risk of contracting the disease.

“As a minister of state of a government that is battling hard against this pandemic, he has shown a remarkable lack of good sense on the social and physical distancing that is required by law, on the pain of criminal prosecution.

“His actions show gross disrespect to the pronouncements of the President concerning keeping the populace safe, and his behaviour makes a mockery of any enactments government has made in the fight against the coronavirus,” the group noted.

According to the group, Mr Ahenkorah’s “conduct was despicable, outrageous and selfish, adding that his defensive nonchalance was not befitting of a person occupying the high offices of a Deputy Minister.”

It called on the police to investigate his actions and prosecute him, if necessary, and urged the New Patriotic Party to withdraw him as their candidate for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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