Sheikh Ibrahim Coffie Quaye, the Chairman of the 2017 Hajj Board, has described allegations levelled against him by some aggrieved members of the Hajj Board as nothing but frivolous and lies aimed at attacking or damaging his personality and image respectively.
Sheikh I.C Quaye, also debunked claims by his attackers that he run parallel departments within the Hajj Board contrary to what was stipulated by the President and was boastful that no one can remove him as the Hajj Board Chairman and not even the President.
Addressing pressmen in Accra on Tuesday, Sheikh I.C Quaye said that it was the President who appointed him as the head of the Board and can remove him at any time should his work be found not satisfactory.
This year’s Hajj process was the best in the history of Ghana as everything was done in accordance to the plan of the Board and that all those who paid for the trip were airlifted to Mecca to perform the Hajj rites without any hindrances.
The press conference was also in reaction to a front page publication by the Accra based Crusading Guide newspaper, titled ‘’ Hajj Board in Crisis: I.C Quaye fingered for his abuse of office’’. He said he never abused office nor did anything contrary to the agreed objectives stipulated by the President of Ghana and the Board.
Sheikh I.C Quaye noted that had it not been for the cordial relationship and respect he has for the owner of the newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baku, he would had sued the editor of the new Crusading Guide.
He explained that service passports were applied for all members of the Board and that it is never true that he only secured service passports for certain elements within the Board who are his allies and others who are not on the Board.
‘’The service passports were applied for in two separate batches for only members of the Board, ‘’ he further explained.
On the issue of luggage for pilgrims still not arriving into the country, Sheikh I.C Quaye explained that some pilgrims were carrying additional luggage beyond the agreed 50 kilos which the airlines could carry and as such those things were dropped at the airport. We have to take the trouble to package those luggages into five different containers for shipping to Ghana after the pilgrims had been airlifted back home.
He assured that within some few weeks the luggage will reach the shores of Ghana and the media would be invited to witness the occasion. He therefore entreated pilgrims who have still not gotten their luggage to remain calm as very soon they would be called to collect their items.
He denied engaging anyone to shoot two documentaries for the Hajj Board without consulting the Communications Director. He however admitted that they are now about to embark on the shooting of the documentary and all Board members have been made aware.
He commended the government for ensuring that the 452 pilgrims who paid for but couldn’t be airlifted to Hajj last year were made to travel this year whilst those not willing to travel were paid back their monies.
Among the successes chalked by the 2017 Hajj Board, he mentioned the airlifting of all the 6,400 fully paid pilgrims in addition to the 452 left behind last year and that no one was deported or rejected by the Saudi authorities.
Responding to a question on him appointing his family members as heads of departments within the Board, the former Greater Accra Regional Minister noted that no member of his family headed any department or was part of the Hajj Board.
However, he averred that only six members of his family travelled to perform the hajj this year and that they are all Muslims contrary to claims making waves in the media that non-Muslims were allowed to travel to Mecca for the hajj on the Chairman’s orders.
‘’All those who travelled to Mecca through the Hajj Board were Muslims,’’ he said, and further called on the aggrieved members of the Board to come back for them to iron out their differences amicably and in a better way.
For his part, Alhaji Amin Bonsu, a member of the Board indicated that there is no division among the members and that all members have been informed of the press briefing which was meant to set the records straight and debunk certain claims among the section of the public.
Three different awards were conferred on Sheikh I.C Quaye by the Saudi Arabian Authorities for his tremendous contribution towards and during this year’s Hajj.