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Minority to invite Finance Min. to Parliament over Subah controversy

The Minority in Parliament has hinted of dragging the Finance Minister to the floor of Parliament to explain the circumstances surrounding the alleged financial impropriety involving IT firm, Subah InfoSolutions Ltd.

Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, said he was a bit confused about the mandate of the firm and needed clarity from the minister

He was speaking to Joy News’ Francisca Kakra Forson on Monday.

Subah Info Solutions has been accused of receiving some four million Ghana cedis monthly, totaling Ghc144 million over a period of two and half years for no work done.

They were contracted in 2010 by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to monitor and verify the volume of calls generated by telecom companies for tax purposes but failed to carry out their mandate.

The Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, in an interview with Joy FM said Subah Infosolutions Ltd. was not known to have any previous experience in monitoring and verifying volumes of phone calls for the purpose of calculating the Communication Service Tax.

He, however, said the company, which was selected without going through competitive bidding, has IT experts from India and other parts of the world.

Government has begun investigations into the alleged impropriety.

Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei said the Minority has little details on the whole deal and must be briefed.

He found it a bit intriguing that Subah was contracted to begin work at a time when the ACT of Parliament, which legalizes their operations, had not been passed.

He also questioned how the IT company was doing the monitoring when the telecom companies had not been informed about its operations.

He said the Finance Minister must come to Parliament to address the concerns of the minority.

Parliament resumes sitting on Tuesday

Parliament resumes sitting on Tuesday after about three months recess.

During the recess, the MPs were recalled to undertake some urgent government business.

Key among the Agenda for the Third Meeting of the First Session of the Sixth Parliament is the presentation of the 2014 budget to the House by the finance minister.

The MPs are also expected to work on some unfinished public businesses tabled in the last meeting and begin new ones.

A number of bills, papers, instruments and agreements will be handled before the House goes on the Christmas recess.

Manso Adubia MP funds electricity project

Teaching and learning in some parts of Manso Adubia in the Ashanti Region has received a major boost as Member of Parliament for the area Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo has funded an electricity extension project for Kensere primary and Junior High school in the area.

The MP who took time to inspect the project expressed satisfaction to the extent of work done saying that the move could go a long way to improve education in the area.

However, briefing GhanaMPs.gov.gh after the inspecting the project, Hon. Frimpong further noted that it has long been his desire to serve his constituents who helped him gain power in the 2012 general election after scooping 26, 368 out of 35,172 valid votes cast.

He urged pupils to grab the opportunity offered them to help improve their education.

Hon. Frimpong Yaw also pledged to support various schools in the constituencies that are yet to be connected to the National Electricity Grid to be provided with power.

According to him, education, health, agriculture, energy and transportation would equitably be distributed in various communities within the constituency to ensure a total development.

Emmanuel Frimpong Mensah/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Regulate and tax Prostitution – Akrofuom MP

The Member of Parliament for Obuasi Akrofuom, Kwabena Appiah Pinkrah says prostitution is a major source of employment and as long as people earn some form of income from practising it, the vice should be regulated so that government can generate revenue from it.

“Prostitution is a main stream job and those who engage in it are earning money so they should be taxed by the state and the practice should be regularized so that the professionals among the prostitutes will be registered,” he said on Adom FM’s Burning Issues programme on Monday October 28.

Appiah Pinkrah was speaking in relation to a swoop carried out by Takoradi police during which they arrested 23 prostitutes in an area close to the popular night hangout Vienna City.

He added that if the practice is regularized, those who engage in it will undergo regular health checks in order to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Appiah Pinkrah pointed out that instead of concentrating on the moral and emotional sentiments, the state should rather focus on the revenue that can be derived from the sex trade.

“My pastors can say what they want to say but I still maintain that the practice should be regularized so that the state can tax those who engage in it.”

“We should not rob those who engage in prostitution and the state the opportunity to earn money,” he reiterated

Asked if he would allow his children to engage in prostitution, Appiah Pinkrah said those who engaged in the act don’t tell their parents and;

“My children will not either ask for my permission if they want to engage in prostitution but they should be old enough to do that and if they did, they would earn income and hence should be taxed”.

He concluded that taxing prostitutes will help the state financially and it will control the movements of those who engage in it.

Adom News

Provide MPs with security – Hon. Agbesi

Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Alfred Agbesi is advocating for security to be provided for Members of Parliament to ensure their safety in the performance of their duties.

According to him, the time has come for security of MPs to be taken seriously especially in the wake of the recent armed robbery attack on Member of Parliament for Akan constituency , Hon. Joseph Kwadwo Ofori, which left him wounded.

Hon. Alfred Agbesi who was speaking on the floor of the House Tuesday on reconvening of Parliament after three months of recess, tasked the Parliamentary Service Board to take up the matter with the Interior ministry.

Intriguingly MPs have expressed mixed reaction to the call by the Deputy Majority Leader. While some have welcomed his move, others are of the view that the proposal is needless as it would have a toll on the state but they rather security in the House must be tightened as it is inefficient currently.

Meanwhile the Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho earlier welcomed members back to the Third sitting of the House and called for effective corporation especially as Parliament prepares to hear the 2014 Budget statement on November 14, 2013.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Sissala E MP donates computers to two SHSs

The Sissala East MP, Madam Sulemana Alijata Gbentie with support from the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has donated 15 computers each with UPS to some second-cycle institutions in the district.

Schools that benefited under this move by the MP are the Tumu and the Kanton Senior High Schools (SHS)respectively.

The move is primarily geared towards making ICT a solid programme in schools and assist students gain inclined knowledge, as the latter has become a compelling trend in contemporary education.

Donating the facilities to the schools, the MP urged the students to endeavour to take advantage of the opportunity created for them with regards to the learning of ICT so that they will be computer literates in future.

The Digital ambassador for ICT in the Sissala East District, Abu Haruna joined the MP in her donations to these beneficiary schools.

He said British Council in its ICT programmes has managed to establish the district as a digital hub, and has appointed him to act as an ambassador to co-ordinate the training and facilitation of ICT in all the communities under the district.

This he noted was targeted at eradicating computer illiteracy across-board in all the areas of the district.

Jonathan Jeffrey Adjei/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Parliament’s security increased due to possible terror attacks

The Police have increased their presence in some public areas across the country after the recent Westgate Mall attacks in Kenya.

The British government Ghana reportedly warned its citizens in the country of a possible terror attacks about a month ago citing the presence of Ghanaian troops as the possible trigger.

Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday after three months on recess and Citi News understands all visitors to the House were thoroughly searched before they were allowed to enter the building.

Citi FM’s Parliamentary correspondent, Richard Sky reporting live from the House said: “if you are coming to Parliament now, the hitherto situation where people could walk in any how has been addressed. If you are coming here, you must be coming here to do some business with a Member of Parliament [MP].”

“If you get to the main gate, you will be thoroughly searched before you are given access and there should be a confirmation from within the Legislature that indeed, you are coming to transact one business or the other,” he added.

According to Richard Sky, four new checkpoints have been set up at the Parliament House being manned by security personnel.

He noted that the response of the MPs have so far been positive because “many people come to Parliament to harass Members of Parliament for cash. Sometimes, we’ve heard from Members of Parliament complain about the fact that people have broken into their vehicles and stolen valuables…and speaking to Members of Parliament, this is a relief.”

The Deputy Majority leader in Parliament, Alfred Agbesi in an interview on the new development lauded the initiative adding that “Parliament is not a market place where you can just go and look at tomatoes. If you have business doing in Parliament like if you are coming to see your MP, fine, that is a business…”

He advised persons who have genuine reasons for visiting the Parliament House to do so but adhere to the new security regulations which have been put in place.


NDC MP wants sitting President contested during congress

The National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for La Dadekotopon has kicked against any attempt to amend the party’s constitution to allow a sitting president on the party’s ticket to automatically become flag bearer in a second term bid.

Hon Nii Amasah Namoale argued that the status quo should be maintained in the NDC’s constitution for the sitting President to be contested during the party’s Presidential primary.

The former Deputy Minister of Agriculture in charge of fisheries under the erstwhile President John Evans Atta Mills administration maintained that contesting the sitting President will deepen the party’s internal democracy.

He however endorsed President John Mahama’s Presidential bid for 2016 but stressed the need for others to be given the opportunity after his second term in office elapses.

“In my view, I think the President must be contested but not this our present dispensation; President Mahama should be allowed to go and beyond that he should be contested.”

On the issue of nursing his Presidential ambition, Hon. Namoale said he will announce his intention appropriately.”


PAC innovates ways to make institutions more accountable

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament would soon summon institutions that have been cited for misappropriating public funds, to reappear before the Committee at a special sitting to provide feedback on actions taken on it’s recommendations.

Chairman of PAC, Kwaku Agyemang Manu told Joy News this that “innovation” was among several steps being adopted by the Committee to ensure that public institutions and office holders were made accountable to the state.

“We have suggested that we are going to do what we called implementation hearing. So two or three months after our recommendations, we will call agencies who have been cited to tell us what they have done about the recommendations that came up”, PAC chairman intimated.

He was reacting to a UN report which indicated that the Committee may lose the support of donors for its work because it has not been able to carry through its recommendations.

The PAC is mandated by Parliament to investigate findings raised by the Auditor General’s auditing of public institutions.

A global parliamentary report released by the United Nations Development Programme, however, revealed that PAC in many African countries have failed to see through the prosecution of public officials found culpable during their sittings.

This, it noted, has largely reduced the committee’s work to a name and shame exercise.

Country director at the Canadian Parliamentary Center, Dr. Rasheed Draman says the development, if not checked would erode public confidence in the legislature.

He further explained that naturally, donors would want to see the best out of resources they invest on institutions.

“If you take the PAC as an example, they make recommendations, they sit in public, talk about the issue and yet you don’t hear anything afterwards. If you are the one putting in resources you will begin to question whether that is proper investment”, Dr. Draman indicated, stressing, “the results have not been impressive to put it bluntly.”

He has therefore charged the PAC to move from doing the public and media talk show and prosecute civil servants, who are found to have misappropriated public funds.

But Mr. Agyemang Manu said he was not “very surprised” about the assertions because people, including the civil society, “don’t listen” to explanations offered by those in authority.

He also disagreed that report would affect PAC’s sources of funding.

Mr. Agyemang Manu conceded that PAC “has a lot of restraints”, which do not allow it to implement its recommendations, blaming the restrains on Ghana’s system of governance – separation of powers

The Executive, precisely the Attorney General, is mandated by law to prosecute people indicted by the PAC, which said explains why committee’s hands were tied to some extent.

He further clarified that Parliament would have to adopt whatever recommendations or action plans the PAC comes up with before they could be implemented.

But Dr. Rasheed Draman thinks PAC could do more than it had explained.

According to him, even if the executive is dragging its feet, Parliament has the power to coerce the Executive to act in order to ensure that resources were used judiciously.


Ahafo Ano South West MP supports 80 students with sch. fees

Member of Parliament for Ahafo Ano South – West, Johnson Kweku Adu has paid the school fees of eighty (80) students in his constituency.

The beneficiaries are needy but studious students drawn from both the second cycle and tertiary institutions.

In an interview with GhanaMPs.gov.gh Hon. Johnson Kweku Adu noted that education in Ghana currently has become expensive with parents and guardians having to doll out huge sum of monies to cater for their wards in school, while the less fortunate students have had to drop out of school due to financial constraints.

He said he had to pay a whopping GHC 24,000 as school fees to enable the students enrol in school and have the peace of mind to study and become responsible adults in the near future.

Hon. Johnson Kweku Adu reiterated his commitment to ensure an improvement in the quality of education in the area, adding that he will stop at nothing in realizing his vision.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh