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Members of Parliament return to work today after months of recess

Law makers will Wednesday return to work after months of recess.

This will be the first sitting of the second meeting of Parliament for this year.

The Members of Parliament are expected to consider about 32 bills and approve crucial loan agreements including the loan agreement with STX Construction Company of Korea.

STX has been contracted to put up some 200 thousand housing units, 30 thousand of which will be allocated to the security agencies.

The MPs were recalled for an urgent sitting, something Minority MP’s have described as needless.

Source: Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Minority chides Mills over dead pregnant woman

The Minority (NPP) in Parliament has accused President Mills of being ‘‘selective’’ in defending the rights of Ghanaians. The Minority’s latest outburst is in reaction to the death of a pregnant woman who collapsed at the offices of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) after she had been invited for “questioning.”

28 year old Celestina Tsekumah was at the BNI for questioning in connection with what was thought to be a fraudulent withdrawal of some money from the Western Union outlet at Mamobi in Accra.

She reportedly collapsed soon after entering the BNI office in Accra and was rushed to the 37 Military Hospital only to be declared dead on arrival.

On Monday May 24, the Minority NPP in Parliament at a press conference attacked President John Mills, accusing him of being “selective” in defending the rights of Ghanaians.

The Minority said it was provoked by the President’s deafening silence on the pregnant woman’s death, especially as his government has caused investigations into deaths of similar nature in the past.

“It will be recalled that when our colleague MP’s wife passed away at the Police Hospital, His Excellency immediately instituted a committee of enquiry,” the Minority said in a statement on Monday, questioning: “Why has the President not done the same” over the death of the late Celestina Tsekumah.

Minority Spokesperson on Women and Children, Hon Gifty Ohene Konadu, who addressed the media, went on to pose a rhetorical question: “Is it because of her lower social status or because she is not a known NDC activist?”

“It is very strange that a mere issue regarding transfer of money should assume a dimension that would attract the attention of an institution like the BNI,” Hon Gifty Ohene Konadu, said.

During her address to the media, Hon Gifty Ohene Konadu, broke down in tears as she asked Ghanaian women to “rise” against what she called the “monstrous activities of the BNI.”

She said: “In recent times, the BNI has involved itself in activities that appear to be outside their mandate…The time has come for the role of the BNI to be redefined to enable it play a more respectable and meaningful role for the benefit of the country.”

At that same press conference, the opposition NPP served notice it would lead a “massive demonstration” against the Mills administration “if the President fails to set up a Committee of Enquiry” to probe Celestina’s death.

NPP Women’s Organizer, Otiko Afisah Djaba, who announced the NPP’s plans declared: “If this investigation is not done within the next week, we the women of this country will demonstrate because this is not the first time…Women in this country should be respected.”

Meanwhile, the Majority side in Parliament has responded swiftly to the NPP Minority’s threat to bankroll a street demonstration to demand justice for the dead pregnant woman.

A Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Hon George Kuntu Blankson, told CitiNews the Minority is merely seeking to make “cheap political capital” out of the unfortunate death of the pregnant woman.

He told Citinews, the NPP was just making “noise.” In his view, the Minority should have taken up the matter on the floor of Parliament “in the form of a question to the Interior Minister” rather than threatening the President with demonstration. “We should start using institutions as against personalities,” he charged.

Deputy Majority Leader, Hon Rashid Pelpuo also spoke to CitiNews on the issue, saying the Minority’s charges are misguided. “They have gone overboard. How much investigations have they themselves done before coming out with a press statement? Have they gone to find out from the

BNI as to what the BNI has done over the issue? On what basis are they saying the President should come out to investigate? You don’t just hit the streets to demonstrate and ask Parliament to investigate an issue you yourself has not done proper due diligence on.”

He added: “It is not a political issue. It is an issue that we need to show a collective interest in. The target should be the BNI not the President.”

The Minority delegation has since visited the family of the deceased to express their condolences.

MP constructs boreholes and dams for communities

Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakari Dey, Member of Parliament for Salaga, has spent over GH¢ 105.000.00 out of his share of the MPs common fund to build three boreholes and two mini-dams in some communities in his constituency.

The MP constructed three boreholes at Kayerso, Kuwani and Abrumase at the cost of GH¢ 85.000.00 and two mini dams at Kariba and Abrumase at the cost of GH¢ 20,000.00, all in the Salaga district.

Alhaji Dey said the projects were undertaken mitigate their daily struggle to get potable drinking water and to minimize the spread of water borne diseases which were common among the people.

The MP who disclosed this at the end of a series of soccer matches he organized in Salaga on Saturday to foster unity among the people, pledged to continue to support the people in the provision of social amenities to improve their living standards.

The football matches were played among eight teams, made up of the Kulc, Mankango, Konkomba, and Kempe wards and the Salaga, Bunjai, Kariba and Abrumase wards.

The final match played between Salaga Black Stars and the Konkomba ward resulted in a two-one victory for Salaga Black Stars.

For their prizes, the Salaga Black Stars received a set of jerseys and three footballs and a cash amount of GHc200. 00 while the Konkomba ward took the same set of jerseys and a cash of GHc100.00. All the other teams also received a set of jerseys and footballs.

Addressing the sportsmen and the people after the match, Alhaji Dey impressed upon the players on the need to be disciplined and urged them to take their training seriously so that they could grow up to become international class footballers

He urged the people to realize that they were one people and as such they should not allow partisan politics to divide them.

Mr. Alhassan Mumuni, the District Auditor of the Audit Service in Salaga, who was the guest of honour for the matches, urged the players to look beyond the present and take football as a career to achieve success in life.

Recall of MPs waste of resources – Minority

The Minority in Parliament has described the recent recall of Members of Parliament (MPs) to transact urgent parliamentary business under a special four-day sitting as “needless and a complete waste of national resources”.

“Prudence in the managing of the nation as the President insists to pursue, should mean that he would serve this nation well by ensuring that there is no recurrence of such needless meetings.”

A statement signed by the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah, noted that despite several omissions in the procedures as required for the recall of

Parliament, the Minority co-operated with their colleagues from the Majority side during the special sitting which took place from May 4 to May 7, 2010.

The statement indicated, however, that as required by the Standing Orders of the House all matters which were deliberated on during the period were referred to the various committees to determine the urgency of the matters referred to them.

“Noteworthy, in all of the referrals to the committees, all of which are chaired by NDC MPs, not a single matter was deemed urgent to be treated.”

It explained that all the committees were of the view that the matters referred to them could have waited and taken care of during the Second Meeting, which was already expected to commence on May 26, 2020.

The logical questions, according to the statement, that arise, therefore, were: Why the government tried to stampede Parliament to do its bidding; why the government and those in charge of government business went to such great extent to keep the Minority MPs in the dark about the business to be transacted during the period and what the government’s real motive was for bringing Parliament back out of recess.

The statement also faulted a Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah, for his lack of parliamentary procedures, explaining that if a matter was determined “urgent” by a parliamentary committee, it was taken through all the stages in one day.

“Indeed, there is a world of difference between speed and urgency,” the statement said, adding that “clearly, therefore, the special sitting of Parliament from May 4 to 7, 2010 was needless and complete waste of national resources.”

The statement also suggested that government business during the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Fifth Parliament should be programmed in a manner that would permit better scrutiny and the conduct of more transparent due diligence in pursuit of a more accountable governance, “instead of crowding the last few days with multiples of agenda items as has become usual”.

Source: Daily Graphic

Minority leader accuses government of plotting to gag him

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu is incensed over media reports suggesting he and other members of the New Patriotic Party have been over-paid their ex-gratia.

The Daily Graphic Newspaper on Thursday, May 13, 2010 published that the minority leader and four others in the NPP have been ordered by the Auditor General to refund an amount of GH¢94,000 as over-payment for their ex-gratia.

But the minority leader told Joy FM’s Sammy Darko the report is misleading.

He suspects a grand conspiracy championed by the government to humiliate and create disaffection for him and other members of his party.

According to him, he was paid the same amount of ex-gratia as his opponents who were then in the minority and wondered why he and a few others in the NPP will be singled out as having been over-paid.

“The amount that was paid to me is no different from any other member of parliament who served between 2005 and 2008.

“If I have been over-paid then it means that every single one of us have been over-paid,” he said.

Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu challenged the Auditor General to publish the details of payments made to all the MP’s for purposes of comparison.

Given the controversy that surrounded the payment of the exgratia, he said the minority had always demanded to know the basis of the payment, a request he said the government has continuously failed to honour.

Several attempts by Joy News to get a reaction from the Auditor General proved unsuccessful as he declined going public on the matter, at least for now.

NDC propaganda tool is laughable, amateurish …. Minority Leader

Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has refuted claims by the government that he should refund about Ghc20, 000 alleged to have been an overpayment of his ex-gratia.

According to him, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC)’s attitude in dealing with this issue concerning him and some colleague MP’s was laughable and too amateurish.

“I believe this is too amateurish a propaganda tool for them to use”, he stated, adding that it was a failed attempt to discredit him.

Speaking in an interview on Peace Fm’s “kokrokoo” programme Thursday, Mr Mensah-Bonsu said there were so many complicated issues governing the issuance of the ex-gratia award to parliamentarians, as they have not provided any justification of the computation made before the disbursement of the ex-gratia.

He noted that the ex-gratia was too small for them since it was not based on the actual report.

He said in 2008, the MP’s did not get any salary adjustment but were paid based on their 2007 salary, a situation he said was not supposed to be.

He told Kwami Sefa-Kayi, host of the programme, that in calculating the ex-gratia, the last month of the last year’s is what is used, and therefore, it should have been based on their 2008 December salary.

He noted that instead singling out minority MPs to refund the extra payment, though all MPs received about the same amount of money as their ex-gratia, the government should ask all MP’s to refund theirs.

He is therefore challenging the NDC government to publish the amount it paid as ex-gratia to all the MP’s to confirm the truth of the matter.

He told Peace Fm that he did not know precisely the amount of money paid into his account but he knew it was paid in installments amounting to about GH¢60,000.00.

Four ex-ministers in the erstwhile Kufuor administration and the current Minority Leader in Parliament have been ordered to refund a total of GH¢94,080 as over-payment made to them in their ex-gratia computation.

Those ordered to refund the money are Mr Christopher Addae,Gh¢17,936; Mr Samuel Kwaku Obodai, Gh¢17,936; Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Gh¢20,848; Mr Ernest Debrah,Gh¢19,424,and Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw,Gh¢17,936.

It follows a request from the office of the President, by a letter dated March 29 2010, requesting the Auditor-General to conduct an audit verification of emoluments for ex-Ministers and MP’s to advise on whether there were shortfalls in payments made by the office of the President, whether there were any
overpayments by parliament, and whether there was a basis for reconciliation of the various payments.

Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

Wean yourself of “infantile politics”, Rashid Pelpuo tells NPP

Deputy Majority Leader, Rashid Pelpuo has advised the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to wean itself of infantile politics and be constructive in it’s criticism of the government.

According to him, the NPP cannot task the government to sing their praises by crediting them for projects they initiated because state projects are not peculiar to governments.

“If you want to tell a good story about yourself, tell it yourself, he said, adding that “don’t blame the government for not telling your story”.

Speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana programme Thursday, he noted that once a government is voted into power, it inherits everything about the state to channel it in a way that would benefit all the people.

He was reacting to issues raised by the Minority in Parliament that the government was taking undue credit for projects initiated by the erstwhile NPP administration.

Information Minister John Tia had sternly warned that the government would not be dictated to by the opposition as to how to manage the affairs of the country, a comment that has incurred the wrath of some Ghanaians who think the minister is being arrogant.

But Mr Pelpuo says the NPP is not using a healthy approach in addressing issues, insisting that time is due for the re-definition of the country’s politics to focus on policies.

However, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, who was a co-panelist on the programme, was of the opinion that it is not a big deal if the government does not credit the NPP for projects they initiated.

But he was worried that the government would distort facts about such projects in order to crudely criminalize the previous regime. “If you won’t acknowledge, don’t distort!” he maintained.

By: Dorcas Efe Mensah/myjoyonline.com