A former Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of livestock during the erstwhile NDC administration, Dr Louisa Hannah Bissiw, has been challenged by Excellent Ghana, a civil society organisation, over claims that monies allocated for the compensation of poultry farmers whose farms were affected by the bird flu had been used for logistics and administrative expenditure.
This is because, according to the organisation, the government has intervened by purchasing six vehicles and 20 motorbikes, as well as established laboratories, to help contain the disease.
The organisation, in a statement signed by the founding president, Carl Nii Addo, said it is also shocked by claims from Victor Oppong, the president of the Ghana Poultry Farmers Association, that majority of their members whose birds/farms were destroyed, owing to the Bird Flu outbreak, are yet to be compensated, five years after their livelihoods were destroyed
“In performing our proper role and constitutional duty of demanding accountability and transparency, it is our conviction that her farcical and ludicrous position confirms that Dr Louisa Hannah Bissiw neglected her duty of care and still appears unrepentant in helping the farmers receive compensation, but is rather adding insult to injuries,” the statement said.
To this end, the CSO has called on the former deputy minister to come out and state how much funds were voted by the Mahama government and other bodies for the containment of bird flu between 2015-2016 as well as how much of the released amount was actually paid to affected poultry farmers.
The statement from the CSO also asked for an account of how these monies were expended.
“Under what circumstances and under whose control was the amount released for the compensation of farmers affected by the bird flu disease disbursed? What provisions and procedures were followed in disbursing the funds released for compensation if due diligence was firstly done at all?” they asked.
It continued, “Has Ghana suffered any financial loss/ misappropriation from the use of released monies for the compensation of poultry farmers, with regards to the Bird flu outbreak in 2015, and if so, are there grounds to charge anyone with the offence of ‘causing financial loss?”
The CSO again sought to find if the said funds were underutilized through negligence, criminal activity or any other illegal or wrongful act, and if so, who was responsible for it.