The Progressive Muslim Forum, a pressure group is calling on the Hajj management committee to make public its audited report for the 2017 and 2018 activity years.
This call comes at a time the Auditor General has served notice it is investigating a case of alleged “unwarranted increase” in the Hajj fees this year following a petition by the Patriotic Muslim Front (PMF), a coalition of young Muslim intellectuals, businessmen and students over what they described as ‘outrageous’ hajj fees of GHC19,000 for this year as against GHC15,000 last year.
The Auditor-General on Monday acknowledged receipt of the petition, promising a committee is being constituted to look into the case.
“We are interested in the Auditor General looking into the books of the Board since a lot of would-be pilgrims and Muslims have contacted us to express their displeasure over the fees”, the president for the Patriotic Muslim Fronts (PMF), Haruna Mohammed has said.
An award winning journalist, Adnan Adams Mohammed has been critical on demanding for the hajj annual operational reported for years now.
“It excites me that, we have more concern groups demanding for the accountability and transparency in the operations of hajj activities”, he expressed.
Meanwhile, the Progressive Muslim Forum has also described the absence of audited report from the hajj management as ‘disrespectful to the Muslim community’
“We find it disrespectful to the Muslim community that the NPP government supervising over the hajj management is making no effort to render detailed account on the 2017 and 2018 Hajj to the Ghanaian Muslims. It is almost a year since our brothers and sisters returned from the 2018 Hajj; and until now, there is not a single report to the public on how the funds paid into the Hajj accounts were disbursed.”
In a press release signed by Imran Hashir Dikeni added that, “Government and Hajj board members have consistently reported on the airwaves on how the Nana Addo government subsidized Hajj in this country, yet not a single report to authenticate this allegation.”
“The Progressive Muslims Forum is reliably informed that the government of Ghana rather makes profit from the monies the Muslim Committee pay towards their pilgrimage. We cannot continue to throw dust in the eyes of the public for personal parochial political interest. Politician in successive government have rather included party apparatchiks among the pilgrims for free. This is the reason why there is a whole lot of problem with successive Hajj in this country.
“We therefore demand the government of Ghana through Hajj board to publish an audited account on Hajj 2017 and 2018 for the Muslim community and the public in general.
“The President and His Vice should not sit and watch the Hajj board and some few members of the political class plunge this huge profit-making venture into a corruption hub.
“Hajj in every country brings remittances to the nation. Why is Ghana’s case different? The Vice president must ensure there is transparency in the work of Hajj board by way of rendering annual audited reports and regular interaction with the people on Hajj matters.”
Consequently, a member of the Islamic sunni clergy, Abuuhidaayah Abdul-Fattah Twahir Akinyele has supported the call for the hajj management committee to publish its audited report annually and timely to enhance accountability and transparency.
“It is good to embark on such an exercise; we cannot be left behind and stay aloof as Muslims in the context of all the advocacies for best practices and good governance systems that are moving nations forward; this is even what Islam teaches us. We only make a mockery of ourselves if we do, after all the good people that we project ourselves to be – we have Sheikhs, Imams, academics, professionals, entrepreneurs, graduates to PhD levels, university
students – mention any field of endeavour, and there will be unanimity that we are not lacking in any area.
“What we can confidently hold on to the call for best practices is the lack of Transparency and Accountability in the management of the Hajj, and this alone is enough for anybody or entity to call for Reports and an audit of the books of the Board, as we reading from this petition. This call has been one of our main concerns as far as the Hajj management is concerned since 2005. Lack of Transparency and Accountability breed suspicion and only leave people with no option than to speculate and concoct some “Jinnie” influenced figures, which is not a good thing. Be that as it is, the issue of windfalls or profits from the management of the Hajj undoubtedly is a known fact that has come from past managers of the Hajj, since the days of Alhaji Salia; the report of the 2005 Hajj, at least, gives some indication in that direction. And revenue, I believe, must be derived from the management of the Hajj, if we are really a serious people who wants development, and the beneficiaries must be the good people of the Muslim Ummah, NOT individuals. If any individual wants to make any profits or make money legitimately from Hajj, that individual must go into private business, go into the goods and services area, just as the Hajj Agents are doing; now we even have a new entrant into the business in the name of MUDI HajjUmra Services Ltd, not so!!! This must be clear to people, and this is the way to go”, he noted.