Patriotic Muslim Front (PMF), a Muslim youth group has petitioned President Akufo-Addo to review the affairs of the National Hajj Board on issues relating to the upward review of this year’s pilgrimage fee and the lack of accountability of the board.
The group in a statement signed by its President, Haruna Mohammed bemoaned the inappropriate conduct of the National Hajj Board stating that “the board has reviewed its fee upward this year to 19,500. Based on the quota the board will manage a total amount of the quota and the new fee. Unfortunately, the board does not even have an eternal audit department. All decisions regarding contracts and expenditures are controlled by the accounts department”.
“The breakdown of the total package paid by pilgrims is not in the public domain. Large table top payments which are not acceptable by all government agencies which is been practiced by the board must be stopped,” the statement reads on.
The group also expressed their disappointment in the Chairman of the Pilgrimage Affairs Office of Ghana, Sheikh I.C Quaye for failing to practice exemplary leadership and has given a two-week ultimatum for the board “to review the deadline for payment of GHC19,500” or they will demonstrate across the length and breadth of this country.
About Patriotic Muslim Front (PMF)
Patriotic Muslim Front (PMF) is a coalition of young Muslim intellectuals, politicians and students whose sole purpose is the advancement of the course of Islam in the context religious pluralism the need for peace and security.
The group have been in existence for the past four years and have engaged in the references of religious co-existence and the demand for accountability from our Muslim leaders.
The group has observed the manner in which pilgrimage to Mecca has been organized in the last few years and quite frankly the number of issues associated with the processes give a course to worry because some of the issues keep recurring every year.
Below is the full statement;
Good morning friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, we are grateful you have been able to make it to today’s press briefing. Today’s encounter is particularly important given the nature of issues we are about to discuss and share with you.
These issues largely bother on the conduct of the Hajj board. But ladies and gentlemen before we proceed further into these issues, kindly indulge me to introduce you to PMF. PMF is a coalition of young Muslim intellectuals, politicians and students whose sole purpose is the advancement of the course of Islam in the context of religious pluralism the need for peace and security and above all else the signification of the Muslim.
PMF has been in existence for the past three years within these years we have been engaged in the references of religious co-existence the demand for accountability from Muslim leaders and encouraging Muslim youth to be ambassadors of righteousness.
Having said all this we have observed the manner in which Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) has been organized in the last few years and quite frankly a number of issues associated with the Hajj process give us course to worry.
Some of this issue seems recurring every Hajj year unfortunately however, they came to a head this year. In this years the following consent were raised;
1. Closing date of payment
2. Value for money
3. Transparency and accountability.
Lack of independent auditing of its large accounts. For example in 2017 the quota given by Saudi authorities was around 6000 and the board charged per Ghanaian pilgrim Ghc 15,000. In effect, the board probably received and spent a total amount of 6000*Ghc15,000. The quota of 2018 was also around 5700*15,000.
The board has reviewed its fee upward this year to 19,500. Based on the quota the board will manage a total amount of the quota and the new fee.
Unfortunately, the board does not even have an eternal audit department. All decisions regarding contracts and expenditures are controlled by the accounts department. The breakdown of the total package paid by pilgrims is not in the public domain. Large table top payments which is not acceptable by all government agencies which is been practiced by the board must be stopped.
From the foregoing, Muslim Umma wish to inform the President and his vice the number one Muslim in the country that we have lost confidence and trust in Sheikh IC Quaye for failing to leave up to expectation.
Your Excellency, PMF is reliably informed that all the factors that constitute the cost buildups remain constant except transport which went up by 70$ In view of this development, the Muslim Umma demands the breakdown of the costs buildups or the rationale behind this increment.
Your Excellency, The Muslim Umma are aware of your commitment to fight corruption and the promotion of transparency and accountability, this is a unit of the presidency and ever since this Board was inaugurated they are yet to submit the audited account to the relevant authority, PMF find this development unacceptable, the wisdom of his Excellency, the Vice President to have an account controller from GRA in the person of one FAROAK HAMZA as board member was to follow and institute layers of Transparency and accountability we, however, demand that the account of the board be audited.
PMF is also giving the board two weeks ultimatum to review the deadline for payment and as well the amount (19500gh), we shall demonstrate across the length and breath of this country if our plea is not heeded to.
PMF recommend the following to be considered;
An independent Pilgrims complains office should be established in the office of the president.
The role of this office is to address complains of Pilgrims in consultation with the board and when necessary through the minister exercising oversight over the Hajj Board. This office should further be asked to prepare report for every particular Hajj to ensure transparency and accountability.