Red flags, have started flying over the suitability of the man appointed by President Nana Akufo-Addo, to head the Middle Belt Development Authority, as he has issues with accountability as District Chief Executive (DCE).
Mr Joe Danquah, an administrator from 2001 to 2005 was the DCE for the Wenchi Municipality in the Brong Ahafo Region, under the John Kufour administration and had issues which many, including Jones Samuel Tawiah ex- DCE of Tain, have said makes him unsuitable for the job offered him by the President.
Some of the cases against Mr Danquah, bothers on criminality and has been in court struggling to clear his name and save his reputation for years now.
Intriguingly, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the current Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, has acted as his lawyer in the case.
As Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the Wenchi Municipality which included Wenchi, Tain and Banda, until 2004, Joe Danquah, was reportedly given a Cashew processing machine for the people of Banda, but he kept it in his room, until the then Member of Parliament (MP), Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah alias General Mosquito, severely took him on.
Mr Joe Danquah, who also served as MP for Tain in between 2004 and 2008, took GH¢40,000 from his Common Fund to build a kindergarten block for a community in Banda called Kabrono, but this never happened.
Jones Samuel Tawiah, disclosed to The Herald that the building was only constructed when he took over as DCE for Tain.
He confirmed that, the President’s nominee is presently battling criminal case in the Sunyani Circuit Court, with respect to stealing.
Additional reports are that in 2016, explosives were found in Mr Joe Danquah’s car on his way to a Galamsay site. This is also in Sunyani Court.
During the 2012 elections, Mr. Danquah, then as a Parliamentary candidate, reportedly kept monies meant for New Patriotic Party (NPP) polling station agents in Banda in the Banda Constituency.
Some motorbikes put in his custody for election monitoring in the Banda Constituency, were also sold to the annoyance of NPP supporters and bigwigs in the Constituency.
The Middle Belt Development Authority, according to the Akufo-Addo government, is a special vehicle created to fast track the socio-economic transformation of the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. It will be based in the Ashanti Regional Capital, Kumasi.
The ex-DCE of Tain, Jones Samuel Tawiah, who is alarmed at the appointment of Joe Danquah told The Herald President Akufo-Addo, did not do any due diligence on the man.
To him, a cursory background check on the appointee, will reveal he is not suitable for the crucial job.
The ex- DCE of Tain, insisted, the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, who knows him very well, won’t deny his claims against Mr. Joe Danquah.
Mr Tawiah, accused Mr Asomah-Cheremeh of frustrating the criminal trial on the GH¢40,000 Common Fund with adjournment upon adjournments, when he acted as Mr Joe Danquah’s lawyer.
Last month, President Akufo-Addo, appointed three persons to act as chief executives and 10 others as deputy chief executives for three of the development authorities created by his government to advance the development agenda of the country.
Information Technology (IT) professional, Samuel Attah-Mensah, will be the acting Chief Executive for the Coastal Development Authority, while Jerry Ahmed Shaib, Bob-Charles Agbontor , Mona Gertrude Effah and Emmanuel Affram Anim, have been appointed as acting deputy chief executives.
Mr Atta-Mensah alias “Sammens” until his appointment as Coastal Development Authority CEO was the Managing Director of Citi FM and Citi TV based in Accra.
For the Middle Belt Development Authority, Joe Danquah, an administrator, has been appointed the acting chief executive with Joyce Opoku-Boateng, Vincent Frimpong Manu and Alexander Ferka as acting deputies.
Alhaji Abdel-Majeed Haroun, an agricultural economist will head the Northern Development Authority in an acting capacity, while Lariba Zuweira Abudu ,Osmani AludibaAyuba and Stephen Yir-Eru Engmen, have been named as acting deputies.
“The appointees are to act pending the receipt of the constitutionally required advice of the governing Boards of the Development Authorities, given in consultation with the Public Services Commission,” a statement from the presidency signed by Communications Director, Mr Eugene Arhin said.
The IPEP programme will oversee the disbursement of the equivalent of $1 million per Constituency per year, in fulfillment of one of the NPP’s major promises.,
The project is also expected to have a direct link with government’s one district one factory project, which is estimated to cost GH¢456.3 million and create about 350,000 jobs.
In July last year, ten-member committees each for the Eastern, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions, were inaugurated to implement an Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP).
The launch of the authority was in fulfilment of the manifesto promise of the NPP to establish three development authorities to spearhead the development of the three ecological zones.
They are the Southern Development Authority that will address development challenges in the coastal, Central, Western and Volta regions; and the Northern Belt Development Authority that will take care of the development of the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions.
Launching the authority, the Senior Minister, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, said the zoning was in line with the ruling NPP’s campaign promises and towards the implementation of the ‘one-district, one-factory’ pledge, the ‘one village, one dam’ initiative and the $1m for each constituency policy.
He said the government needed to prepare well for a good take-off in order not to be embarrassed by challenges that could arise with the fulfilment of its campaign promises.
“Most of these programmes and projects require legal backing and, as I speak, documents have been submitted to Parliament for the implementation of the IPEP and the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
“We came to power on the wings of unemployment and the authorities are to work towards creating employment for the youth,’ he added.
In connection with the realisation of its policy objectives and vision, Mr Osafo-Maafo said, the government would only play a facilitator role, instead of directly involving itself in the implementation of all those projects.
He urged each member of the committees to identify investment potential, infrastructure deficiencies and share knowledge for the realisation of the objectives of the programme.
The Minister of Special Initiatives, Ms Mavis HawaKoomson, said the programme would not only eradicate poverty but also help address inequalities in all forms.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, said since the NPP was a centre-right party and did not frown on wealth creation, the committees should empower individuals to make wealth and contribute towards national development.