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Parliament: Defaulting District Assemblies will not get allocations for next year

Many District Municipal and Metro Assemblies in the country spent close to seventy percent of their allocations on administration to the detriment of developmental projects, the Public Affairs Director of Parliament, Jones Kubglenu has disclosed.

Speaking to Joy fm’s Mahama Shayibu in Tamale at the first meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament Mr. Kubglenu said the Assemblies which failed to answer queries from the Auditor General’s report between 2001 to 2004, will not get parliamentary approval of their allocations for next year.

Parliament is also worried that many of the assemblies did not take serious action on pursuing their internally generated funds.

The Parliamentary Select Committee is expected to hear from 21 districts in the Northern, Upper East and West Regions on how expenditures were made over the period under review.

Opening the meeting, the chairman of the select committee Albert Kan Dapaah said the exercise is part of Parliament’s responsibility of ensuring that the tax payers’ monies are prudently spent by government.

He disclosed that due to misappropriation and other forms of irregularities, the state lost 58 billion old Ghana cedis from the period 2001 to 2004 in the various Assemblies.

He said even though Chief Executives, Finance Directors and Coordinating Directors of the Assemblies who will be appearing before the committee may not have been available at the time the expenditures were made, they can still answer queries because at the time the Auditor General submitted the audit report of the assemblies in 2009 they were in office.

Mr Dapaah said 59 out of the 138 Assemblies nationwide failed to submit their financial statement to the Auditor General due to irregularities in expenditures and warned that those culpable would not be spared.

MPs Fund To Be Scrapped

The Members of Parliament Common Fund will be scrapped by the end of this year, to be replaced with the constituency Development Fund, following a memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to cabinet for consideration and approval.

The move is in line with government’s policy to allocate more funds and resources to the constituencies to enhance development at the grassroots. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, the sector minister, who disclosed this to the Times newspaper in Accra, said the MPs Common Fund was no longer relevant to the decentralization process.

He said “the new fund, when approved, will ensure that the constituencies have the needed financial clout to undertake more development projects to improve the livening conditions of the people.”

He explained that the MPs would apply directly to the Ministry of Finance for the release of funds for approved projects in their constituencies. Disagreements and power struggle between MPs and District Chief Executive over the disbursement of MPs Common Fund have often stalled the speedy implementation of projects in the districts.

Concerns had also been disagreements between MPs and DCEs as to where projects should be sited and when monies should be released for such projects. Concerns had also been raised to the effect that there were no proper monitoring mechanisms to check how the MPs utilize monies from the fund.

Mr. Chireh acknowledged these concerns and said MPs would be given the oversight responsibility of the Constituency Development Fund to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

He said it was not prudent for MPs to allocate monies from the fund, pointing out that it would rather be necessary for them to monitor the funds to ensure their efficient use. Asked whether the district assembly elections should be made partisan, he said it was the responsibility of the Constitutional Review Committee to decide. “I have no objections to partisan election of district assembly members. If you have a multi-party political structure without a partisan election then there is a problem. But it is up to Ghanaians to decide,” he said.

The minister said that for now, no political party could campaign for any candidate, pointing out that only organisations with no political affiliations had the rights to assist candidate to campaign during the district assembly elections. Reacting to a proposal that the Regional Houses of Chiefs should be empowered by law to nominate people to district assemblies rather than government appointees, he said it was not feasible.

The chiefs, he explained, could not appoint nominees in the assembly due to the numerous chieftaincy disputes confronting the institution, which could bring their neutrality into questions.

Source: Ghanaian Times

Children’s education should be a priority to all parents – Cape Coast MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Cape Coast, Mr Barton Odro, on Sunday advised the fishing folks in Cape Coast to see their children’s education as priority since that is the only legacy they can give to the children.

He regretted how most children of school-going age engaged themselves in activities which were a hindrance to their future success, adding that it was about time role models encouraged parents in the proper up bring of their children.

Mr Odro made the call during a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a large shed for all the fishing folks in the area and a donation of 164 Chorkor smokers and 100 T-shirts each to the various Asafo Companies in the area to commemorate this year’s Oguaa Fetu Afahye at Cape Coast.

He said education was the only way of fighting poverty in the area, adding that it required the support and cooperation of all to achieve that target.

He promised them of more Chorkor smoker to enhance and fasten their fishing activates adding that he have the fishing folks at heart and will make sure to provide them with a large shed that can be served as social centres, marketing place and entertainment centre.

On MASLOC, Mr Odro promised the fishing folks that they would be the first to receive the facility before any other group in the Region, adding that as at now he had endorsed 60 applications.

He therefore appealed to the fisher-folks to support him to fulfil the promises he made during the election in order to develop Oguaa to its befitting status.

Nana Kojo Bo, the acting Apofohen of Cape Coast who received the items, thanked the MP and his team for their kind gesture and pledged his support for any developmental activities by the MP in the area.

Source: GNA / Ghana

Adansi Asokwa MP wants NDC Chairman arrested

Former Deputy Energy Minister, Kobina Tahir Hammond is advocating the immediate arrest and prosecution of his friend and pal, Dr. Kwabena Adjei, chairman of the National Democratic Congress.

K.T. says Dr. Adjei, with whom he shares a common catcall “Mugu Yaro”, has committed high treason by making an “outrageously careless” comments that sought to undermine the constitution of Ghana.

He was speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen current affairs programme Wednesday, condemning Dr. Adjei’s comments asking for reforms in the judiciary because it was biased against the ruling party.

But K.T. Hammond says the comments by his friend infringes Article 3 of the constitution that prescribes punishment for actions that seek to undermine, abrogate or subvert the constitution either in part or in whole.

The Adansi Asokwa MP said while he knows his friend Kwabena Adjei to occasionally make ‘careless’ statements, on this occasion he was ‘outrageously careless’ in his comments, observing that there are procedures in the judiciary for seeking redress and justice and wondered what wrong had been committed by the judiciary to elicit his calls for a purge.

According to K.T. Hammond, judges in the country have a sad reference in the past where some of them were needlessly murdered and Dr. Kwabena Adjei’s comments were an upsetting reminder.

He said while the constitution provides for processes for redress, it is also clear on what grounds the Chief Justice could be replaced and it was dangerous for the party chairman’s attempt to subvert the constitution of Ghana and for which he must be prosecuted.

Minority calls for NDC chairman’s arrest

The Minority in Parliament (NPP) has asked the police to effect the arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of the National Democratic Congress.

Former Attorney General, Joe Ghartey at a press conference in Accra on Thursday described as “treasonable” Dr Kwabena Adjei’s comments that the judiciary is biased against the ruling party.

The NDC chair among other things said the Chief Justice Mrs. Theodora Georgina Wood must take steps to clean up the judiciary or the NDC will do it for her.

His comments have provoked serious sentiments and criticisms from lawyers, politicians and the civil society with members of the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana Bar Association announcing a strike in protest of the comments.

Even though Dr. Kwabena Adjei has since clarified his position saying his comments have been misconstrued, the NPP appears not impressed.

Quoting Article 33 of the 1992 constitution Mr. Joe Ghartey maintained Dr. Adjei must be made to answer for his comments.

According to him, the comments were capable of usurping the powers and independence of the judiciary.

“Why has hell broken loose now? What Dr Kwabena Adjei is suggesting is not only lawless but also criminal,” Mr. Ghartey said.

“May we reminded you that high treason is the greatest offence or crime that can be committed in Ghana. Dr Kwabena Adjei’s statement raises several questions. Who are the ‘we’ he is talking about?

“…This is a matter that should immediately alert the appropriate authorities and galvanize them into immediate action.

“We in furtherance of Article Three (3) and (4) of the Constitution call for the immediate arrest of Dr Kwabena Adjei as the first suspect in the commission of the crime of high treason by himself or together with others,” he added.

He further reminded the police that they need no instruction from government before taking the necessary action.

Source: myjoyonline.com

CJ sets record straight on STX writ served on Parliament

The attention of the Hon. Lady Chief Justice has been drawn to recent discussions in sections of the media regarding a writ served on Parliament over the STX agreement, to the extent that the action is being given some wrong interpretations.

It is therefore imperative that the Judicial Service and for that matter the office of the Chief Justice sets the facts straight by educating the public on court processes and procedures by which writs are serviced.

The service of writs is done by the registries of the various courts without the prior knowledge of the Hon. Lady Chief Justice or the trial judge who will sit on a case. Therefore, the assertion that the Supreme Court directed the Writ to be served on Parliament when it was in session is a palpable falsity because it could not have happened. The Supreme Court which is headed by the Hon. Lady Chief Justice does not direct the service of writs and the manner in which these are to be effected.

In addition, at the time the writ in question was issued and serviced, a panel of the Supreme Court had not been constituted and could therefore not have directed the service of a writ on Parliament.

As a matter of public information, we wish to emphasize that has been the practice, when a writ is filed at the registry it is the duty of the Bailiff to serve the court process on the defendant. After a stipulated number of days the docket is referred to a judge for trial to begin. So before then, a judge has absolutely no idea about the writ until it is set before him/her by the Registrar of the court.

It is therefore erroneous for anyone to think or state publicly that it is the Supreme Court, chaired by the Chief Justice which directs the manner in which a writ or any other court process is served as is being portrayed in the case of the STX agreement while it was before Parliament. Had this been the case, it would have amounted to a clear violation of the Constitution and other laws of Ghana and also undermined the cherished values of the concept of separation of powers.

G. A Tagoe (Mrs.)

Director of Communications

For: Judicial Secretary

Review terms of MPs

Participants at a two-day Brong Ahafo regional hearing and mini consultations organised by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC) in Sunyani have called for a review of the number of terms that a Member of Parliament (MP) can serve.

According to them, the Constitution should limit the number of terms for MPs to two as the Constitution had spelt out for that of the President.

They were of the view that some MPs were taking advantage of the ex-gratia award paid at the end of every term to enrich themselves whilst refusing to give the chance for others to also serve the people.

They said if someone went for four terms or more, that person was entitled to receive ex-gratia for each tenure and, therefore, people who aspired to become MPs had to fight ‘tooth and nail’ to become MPs which did not augur well for the growth of democracy in the country.

The participants also called for a review of the provision in the Constitution which allowed the President to appoint at least one-third of his ministers from Parliament.

This, they said would enable the President or the party in power to select competent members within its rank and file to serve as ministers to free parliamentarians from interference by the ruling government.

The Chairman of the CRC, Prof. Albert K. Fiadjoe, announced that the Commission had received about 32,000 submissions after community and district consultations as well as two regional ones in the northern part of the country.

Source:Daily Grahpic

Dormaa- West MP assists hospital with Common Fund

Member of Parliament for Dormaa-West, Kweku Agyemang Manu has committed GHC 20,000 out of his MP’s Common fund to development projects under construction at the Presbyterian Hospital in Dormaa Ahenkro.

Disclosing this to the GNA in an interview at Dormaa-Ahenkro, Mr. Fred Effah-Yeboah, general manager of the hospital said the MP had borne the cost of floor and wall tiles to rehabilitate an abandoned Isolatied w ard to serve as an additional maternity ward.

Mr. Effah-Yeboah said the maternity ward, when completed, would also serve as a one-stop practical centre for students of the proposed Presbyterian midwifery training school to be sited at Dormaa-Ahenkro.

He said management and board of governors of the hospital had placed the MP’s contribution on record as “an outstanding unilateral assistance in the history of the health facility”.

The general manager noted the MP’s gesture was not only unique but also had made him a leader worth remembering and entreated other stakeholders to contribute to enable the hospital provide quality health-care.

Mr. Agyemang-Manu told GNA that he chose the hospital project for sponsorship to drive home the need for individuals and agencies to promote health-care delivery as a nation’s productivity was contingent on a healthy population.

He announced that he was also using part of the MP’s fund to provide remedial tuition for Senior High School (SHS) leavers in the municipality desirous of bettering their grade.

Part of the money would also be used to pay Health Insurance premium for the aged.

Akim Abuakwa South MP denies swindling former client

Lawyer and Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Atta Akyea, has denied allegations of professional misconduct by his former clients.

Officials of construction firm J. Adom Ltd say the MP misused more than GH¢230,000 whilst he was legal counsel for the company.

Managing Director of the company, Kwabena Arhin, also alleges the MP withdrew $60,000 from its account to purchase a house at the Airport residential area in a fictitious transaction.

Police have begun investigations into the matter.

But Atta Akyea tells Joy News the allegations are untrue. According to the MP he is being asked to pay for “monies I have not collected.”


NDC MPs To Meet President Mills…Over Footsoldiers’ Demands

Members of Parliament drawn from the majority side of the House,(NDC) will meet with the President, John Evans Atta Mills to discuss issues relating to the agitations by the party’s footsoldiers.

MP for Akan constituency in the Volta Region, Hon. Joseph Kojo Ofori, who confirmed this in an interview on PeaceFM News@Mid-day, said he expects the meeting to fashion out ways of improving the living conditions of its cadres or footsoldiers.

For some time now, some irate National Democratic Congress (NDC) youth, who prefer to call themselves footsoldiers, have run amok seizing state properties, and in rather violent demonstrations, stampeded government into dismissing public officials.

The footsoldiers, who have seized public toilets, offices of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), as well those of the National Youth and Employment Programme (NYEP), have also agitated for the removal of some personnel of the institutions who were appointed by the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, and to be replaced with people loyal to the ruling party.

President John Evans Atta Mills, Vice Present John Dramani Mahama, and the IGP, Paul Tawiah Quaye, as well as some ministers of state, have on one occasion or the other, called for the unleashing of full rigours of the law on the perpetrators of such unruly acts.

In spite of these warnings from the highest echelon of governance in the country, the footsoldiers still continue to unleash mayhem across the country, to make their grievances heard.

The NDC MP for Akan Constituency reiterated their commitment to address the concerns of the footsoldiers and expressed the hope that the meeting with President Mills will be productive, adding that most of them (footsoldiers) need loans as start-up capital for business ventures.

Source: Peacefmonline.com