Major Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, has bemoaned the direction given by Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to give an account of Ghana’s COVID-19 expenditure before a loan request can be approved.
According to him, the action of the Speaker was unfortunate since he did not have the power to give such directions of his own volition.
The Major Chief Whip, who was speaking at a press conference in Accra, indicated that only Members of Parliament can conclude on such a decision for the Speaker to only communicate.
“... the Speaker has no persona of his own. Such a decision has to be the sense of the house. He [Bagbin] cannot communicate his own decision, especially when he is not a Member of Parliament. The sense of the house at that moment is that the question should not be put, but it wasn’t that the Finance Minister must first come to the house to render an account,” he said.
Also, Annoh-Dompreh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Nsawam/Adoagyiri, added that the government was not running away from accountability for its COVID-19 expenditure as some persons are asserting.
“Nobody is shying away from accountability, but that wasn’t what the house was saying. When the Majority Leader returns, we are going to engage the Speaker. Going forward we don’t want to have any banter with the speaker but where we think that things need to be straightened we will find a diplomatic way of reaching out to ensure that we have peace for the progress and execution of the work of parliament,” he added.
The Speaker of Parliament summoned Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta to appear before the House with details of monies received and expended in the name of Covid-19, after the shooting down of a 75 million Euros loan agreement between the government of Ghana and the European Investment Bank, EIB for the Covid-19 health response Ghana Project.
Members of the Minority Caucus led by MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Cassiel Ato Forson questioned the failure of the finance minister to properly account for funds received in the name of the pandemic so far.
Another Minority MP, Ho West MP, Emmanuel Bedzra then threatened to mobilize the NDC MPs to vote against the loan since the President himself has through relaxation of the Covid restrictions given an indication the worst of the pandemic is over.
Majority Chief Whip Frank Annor-Dompreh sensing the mood in the house prayed to the Speaker to stand down the agreement.
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