The Minority’s boycott of the cash-for-seat debate in parliament on Tuesday, 6 February 2018, was wrong and “irresponsible”, former Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa, P.C Appiah Ofori, has said.
The Minority on Tuesday walked out of parliament in connection with a debate on the 146-page report by the five-member ad hoc committee set up to investigate claims that the Trade Ministry extorted $100,000 from expatriate businessmen to allow them to sit close to President Nana Akufo-Addo during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in December 2017.
The Minority, led by Haruna Iddrisu, said there was no way they could debate such a hefty report when copies of it had just been given to them in the chamber, thus, the walk out.
Reacting to this development on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Wednesday, 7 February 2018, the anti-corruption campaigner said walking out of parliament is not the best way to handle grievances in parliament.
He told show host Moro Awudu: “I was surprised that the Minority did not sit down to partake in the debate, they walked out and I didn’t like it. Whatever grievance you have, they can put their position on the floor of the house for everybody to hear their side of the case but to walk out is not enough, so, I don’t like the way they behaved.
“Whatever your grievance, put it on the floor of the house, the hansard will take care of it for future reference; you don’t just walk out. Granting that their [Minority] argument is right… it is mostly irresponsible on their part, I didn’t like it at all.”
In its report, the ad hoc committee said the Ministry of Trade and Industry did not extort monies from expatriate business people to give them access to President Nana Akufo-Addo at an awards ceremony last year as claimed by the Minority in parliament.
The Speaker ordered a probe into the matter after a motion was filed by Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak and North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
In the report presented to parliament on Tuesday, 6 February, the committee said: “It has come to a conclusion that there is no merit in the allegations levelled against the Ministry of Trade and Industry as contained in the Motion and which culminated in the setting up of the Special Committee.”
The committee also recommended thus: “That the Controller and Accountant General and the Ministry of Finance should consider in the formulation of the new Regulation of the PFM Act, adequate provision to cater for public private partnership arrangement and emerging or contemporary issues.
“That there is a need to have a second look at the recall mechanism and ensure that it is not needlessly invoked at any time because of its mandatory nature in the Constitution. Upon a recall, Mr. Speaker may have to establish that there is a ‘prima facie’ case and if Mr. Speaker is not satisfied that there is a good reason for the summoning, he may dispense with the meeting. This test is likely to curtail frivolous and vexatious request for a recall.
“That the practice of some Members of Parliament trooping to the media to make allegations against highly placed officials must cease. The Committee is of the view that Members of Parliament who indulge in such acts ought not to be heard in Parliament if they should thereafter bring those matters before Parliament for Parliament to deliberate on the matter.”
The committee’s report, however, contrasts that of the two-member Minority members of the committee who indicted the Ministry of wrongdoing and accused Mr Ashim Morton, president of the Millennium Excellence Foundation – organisers of the awards – of forgery.