The spokesperson for the ‘Cash for Seat’ Committee, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah has advised Parliament to safeguard itself from unnecessary recalls which he says may be aimed at satisfying partisan motives.
His comments were in relation to the formation of a parliamentary committee which investigated claims made by the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak that the Millennium Excellence Foundation charged expatriates between $25,000 and $100,000, to sit close to President Nana Akufo-Addo at an awards ceremony.
[contextly_sidebar id=”ZWCoruEULeIr5mC7VT4rkhbsWN25tdsw”]Before the directive to probe the matter, Parliament was recalled from their recess for an emergency sitting, on January 5, in what Mr. Buabeng Asamoah described as an abuse of Parliament’s Standing Orders.
“One would find that the evidence was farcical so probably, there is some abuse there. If a committee is going to be set up every time 15 percent of the people summon us, we would end up chasing after shadows,” he said on Eyewitness News.
“You would find a group privatising the constitutional authority to recall Parliament in pursuit of funny political goals. Therefore, even though it is a mandatory provision, it should be hedged with certain safeguards,” the MP added.
Majority confident in committee’s report
Following the debate on the committee’s report and the Minority’s boycott of proceedings last week, Muntaka Mubarak said that members of the Majority side of the cash-for-seat Committee were being dishonest with its report of the Committee because it neglected the views of Minority members.
But Mr. Buabeng Asamoah said that the Majority side of the ad-hoc committee is unfazed by the minority’s claims.
“He [Muntaka] has all the public space to continue spewing all the things they said before which they never substantiated.”
He added that his side is confident in the report it produced following the sitting.
“I am totally committed to that report and I believe Parliament must stand for something. And parliament should not shoot itself in the foot. I believe that a serious Member of Parliament should act responsibly when acting in the public space; making allegations of extortions and bribery. I am very proud of what we delivered and I believe the house is satisfied.”
Report before privileges committee
The Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday referred the findings of the Committee exonerating the Trades Ministry and the Millennium Excellence Foundation of any wrongdoing to the Privileges Committee.
The Privileges Committee has been tasked in that regard to investigate the source of the allegations and other related matters.
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, is of the view the Minority members who championed the recall of Parliament culminating in the setting up of the Committee to probe the allegations have caused financial loss to the state.
He said the emergency recall of the house to discuss the matter was unnecessary.
Controversy over ‘Minority report’
The Minority members on the committee decided to prepare a separate report which was leaked and indicted some key figures in the probe, including the Ministry of Trade and the organizers of the awards scheme, the Millennium Excellence Foundation.
The Minority side of the Committee, comprising of Dr. Dominic Ayine and James Avedzi, concluded that, the Ministry of Trade engaged in multiple infractions including breaches of the public financial management law and multiple ethical violations.
It also said the Millennium Excellence Foundation, among other things, presented forged evidence to the Committee.
Dr. Ayine subsequently called for the withdrawal of the already laid report so that a composite report will be presented to Parliament.
The Minority walked out while the report presented by the Committee was about to be debated in Parliament and have subsequently declared a sit-down protest in the House.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana