The emergency recall of Parliament occasioned by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority Members is making Ghana lose GH₵120,000.
The motion for the recall is for the Legislature to set up a bipartisan committee to investigate President John Dramani for accepting a Ford Expedition gift from a Burkinabe contractor
The House, on recess, was recalled and sat on Thursday, September 1, 2016.
Accra Times has learned that the whooping GHc 120, 000 includes the cost of transporting MPs from their constituencies to Accra and back, based on the mileage the members cover.
Other items, according sources entail publicity of the recall, transport fare, opportunity cost, cost of printing and risk as Members of Parliament (MPs) had to drive from their various constituencies to Accra.
The Accra Times also learnt that some staff of Parliament who are on leave during the recess were recalled and had to be paid some allowances.
Majority Leader Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who addressed a press conference in Accra on Wednesday August 31, 2016 over the issue, described the minority’s action as needless since they knew that what they were seeking was an exercise in futility
Nonetheless, he said all that the NPP Minority was seeking for was to dent the image of President John Dramani Mahama for accepting a Ford Expedition gift from a Burkinabe contractor and nothing more.
In his view, the proposed motion calling on the House to set up a bipartisan committee to investigate the President is just a complete waste of time and the country’s scarce resources.
The matter is before the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and according to Hon Bagbin, the Minority knows very well that once a matter is pending before a competent state institution, Parliament cannot delve into the same matter.
“It is clear even to the uninitiated that this recall of Parliament and the New Patriotic Party’s strategy that has heralded it has been borne out of clear mischief and a desperate attempt to throw as much dirt at President John Dramani Mahama ahead of the December 7 elections,” he noted.
Hon. Bagbin, who also represents Nadowli/Kaleo Constituency in the August House, said although the recall of Parliament was occasioned by the Minority, the reason was not to impeach the President. Instead, it was to call on the Legislature to constitute a Special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the President for accepting the Ford Expedition vehicle gift.
“This recall of Parliament has been occasioned by the Minority in Parliament invoking Article 112(3) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 38(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament. We have only today the 31st of August, 2016 upon returning to Parliament seen the motion submitted to the Right Honourable Speaker as the reason for the recall,” he said.
The proposed motion which was signed by the Minority Leader Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, is calling for a Special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the following:
(a) whether the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama received a Ford Expedition vehicle from a Burkinabe contractor;
(b) whether the Ford Expedition vehicle received by the President infringes any law of Ghana;
(c) whether the Ford Expedition vehicle donated to the President infringes his own code of conduct; and
(d) any other matter relevant to the above subject.
Hon. Bagbin commenting further, said the action of the Minority “is most certainly a needless waste of scare resources and precious time when Members of Parliament ought to be engaging their constituents.”
“Why is the NPP Minority claiming publicly that they seek to impeach the President, when this is a not contained in their motion? Why is the NPP Minority asking Parliament to investigate the matter which is already being investigated by a constitutionally mandated body – the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)?.
“Why did the Minority Leader who signed the motion as far back as August 3, 2016 state on Citi FM as recently as this Monday the 29th of August, 2016 that he did not know the reason for the recall and that he was “taken aback” when he heard the news of a recall from the “grapevine” as there had been “no prior consultation” with him? What is the Minority Leader running away from? What is he ashamed of? Ghanaians need to know,” the Majority Leader asked.
However, in reference to relevant articles in the 1992 constitution, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho stated that, it was hard time state institutions are allowed to function independently.
The Speaker, a lawyer by profession, noted that Article 287 of the Constitution, gives the CHRAJ the power to investigate matters relating to the breach of code of conduct of a public officer.
“As Speaker I am with the firm conviction that constitutional bodies must respect each other in the performance of their duties in order to avoid gross conflicts”, Rt Hon Adjaho said.
“Standing Order 38 (1), under which I summoned the House, does not take away any discretion of the Speaker under Standing Order 79 (a),” he pointed out.
“I hereby direct the Clerk to return the motion to the Member in whose name it stands in line with Standing Order 79 (4), since this is the matter that brought us here, I adjourn the House sine-die”, the Speaker said.
By Simon Agianab / Accra Times/GhanaPoliticsonline.com