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Special Prosecutor Bill goes through 2ndreading

Parliament is inching closer to the passage of the Office of Special Prosecutors (SP) Bill, 2017 after it went through second reading yesterday.

Attorney General, Gloria Akufo who moved a motion for the second reading emphasized the importance of the Bill in the fight against corruption.

According to her since corruption has reached alarming levels with negative impacts on the economy, there is the need for the state to take steps to eradicate the menace of corrupt practices in order to enhance the fortunes of the nation hence the advent of the Bill.

The Attorney General noted that it is only when cases of corruption are thoroughly investigated and culprits punish whiles proceeds of the act recovered that a deterrent can be served against corruption.

She noted it will only take political will to investigate and prosecute cases when politically exposed individuals and hierarchy persons.

The Bill she said insulates the office of the Special Prosecutor from the interference of the AG and any other in the performance of its duties and grants the SP and its officials the power of a police officer according to other laws of the land.

Presenting its report to the house, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah Banda said the Bill was subjected to a proper scrutiny and has come to the conclusion that it will significantly fight corruption.

He disclosed that inputs were received from several stakeholder Authorities on the subject of corruption through memos and conferences.

Ranking Member on the Committee, InusahFuseini  raised concerns about the potential conflict of the Office of the Special Prosecutor with functions of the AG according to article 88 (3 and( 4) of the 1992 constitution.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu however debunked the Ranking Members claims and said there OSP role does not conflict the AGs roles.

Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu assured the Minority in Parliament and the NDC as a party will support every effort aimed at fighting corruption especially the Office of Special Prosecutor.

He cautioned that in an attempt to create such an office, the principles of laws on corruption must be followed to avoid creating an impression as if corruption was an NDC phenomenon.

The Tamale South Member of Parliament urged that whoever becomes the Special Prosecutor must be prepared to work with accurate and reliable facts before the courts in the performance of its functions.

The Special Prosecutors Bill, 2017 was laid by the sector Minister on Monday, July 31, 2017 for passage in accordance with article 106 of the 1992 constitution.

The Bill is aimed at establishing an Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialized agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption and prosecute these offences on authority of the Attorney General.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Irrigation is key for increase food production— Nyarko Osei

The provision of irrigation facilities and mechanized centres across the country will significantly increase food production, deputy Minister designate for Food and Agriculture, Kennedy Nyarko Osei has stated.

He indicated that an atmosphere of easy access to capital, improve seedling distribution, ready market for farm produce among other incentives such as tractor services will attract the youth to venture into Agriculture to help government realise its Planting for Foods and Jobs initiative.

The deputy Minister designate disclosed these when he appeared before the Appointment Committee of Parliament yesterday for vetting where he was quizzed on various issues relating to the sector.

Mr Nyarko Osei who is also the Member of Parliament for Akim Swedru assured to use his vast marketing background experience to fix the disconnect between Agriculture and Industry.

He noted that the New Patriotic Party government’s one district,  one factory policy as well as one, district one-warehouse initiative would enhance industrial growth and processing of farm produce where premium would be given to agribusinesses.

 According to him it is important to invest money in the nation’s buffer company to ensure all produce are moped up to prevent post harvest losses whiles ensuring ready market for farmers.

The deputy Minister nominee denied media reports that he said the fall armyworm invasion has been defeated by the government saying ‘’I was misquoted by the media’’.

He stated that the armyworm issue has become a global threat hence the needed for concerted efforts to fight it.

 On the issue of the reverse of the Cocoa sub-sector to the Food and Agriculture Ministry, he said he will collaborate with the sector Minister for proper and lawful actions to be taken to regualarise it.

The deputy Minister designate disagrees with free distribution of fertilizers to farmers on the basis that the nation’s resources cannot sustain free fertilizer for farmers but rather subsidy to help farmers.
Kennedy Nyarko Osei appointment follows the resignation by his predecessor, William Quaitoo.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Garu MP appeals to government to fix their broken bridge

Member of Parliament for Garu, Albert Akuka Alalzuuga has appealed to the Minister of Roads and Highways to come to the aid of his constituency to fix a broken steel bridge, which helps traders ferry agriculture products from Northern part of the country to the south.

Mr. Kwasi Amoako-Attah Roads and Highways Minister was on the floor of Parliament three months ago  and indicated that an alternative route has been constructed as all efforts are being made to fix the bridge.

The Garu MP in an interview with ghanamps.com revealed that the alternative route the sector Minister talked about  is being reshaped to make it motor able.

He was however quick to point out that, traders are not happy with the pace of work on the alternative route and effort to get the broken bridge fixed.

And further lamented that it makes transporting agriculture products from his constituency, and Burkina Faso down to southern Ghana very difficult with the long journey one has to embark on.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

We waiting for AG over Special Prosecutor Bill—-Ranking

Ranking member on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Inusah Fuseini has jumped to the defense of the committee by explaining that, Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 has not delayed as is being bundled around.

According to the Tamale Central legislator in an interview with ghanamps.com, the Attorney General has requested to see the 120 amendments that have been proposed to the Bill, if it sit in tandem with the policy direction of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) government policy objective.

He further revealed that the committee is waiting for the AG to bring the Bill back to the House for it to go through second reading.

We had a heavy participation of the stakeholder’s forum we organize in Parliament House and met at Koforidua where we took the Bill clause by clause, there are 120 amendments of the Bill, he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghana to become West Africa aviation hub-Deputy Aviation Minister

Deputy Aviation Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has revealed President Akufo-Addo’s government is poised to make Ghana  a center of Aviation activities of West Africa and a house hold name.

He further hinted that, government is going to make a major announcement this week, when ghanamps.com in an interview sort to know if Ghana was going to own an airline before the end of the four year mandate of the current government.
Mr. Darko-Mensah also revealed Ghana will host a first aerospace show which will see 700 participants coming to Ghana and 130 exhibitors with airline associations and regulatory coming down to Accra for a conference.

He said, the airshow will bring experts in the aviation industry to Ghana for people to understand the industry through the conference and exhibition, “aviation is the fastest way to connect to cities and will open up our tourism industry too”.

200 students are expected to be flown in airplane, as 12 airplane companies have indicated their participation with three aviation Ministers have confirmed their participation in the aerospace show the first of  its kind in Ghana.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

An opportunity has be lost in the case of AMERI – Dr. Donkor

Former Minister of Power under the previous John Mahama led government Dr. Kwabena Donkor has said Ghana has lost an opportunity in the Africa and Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) case where the ranking member of mines and energy, K T Hammond is seeking a rescission of the deal.

As to whether he has any advice for the current energy Minister on the AMERI power, he responded that, “an opportunity has been lost by stirring up the waters unnecessary,“I believe we can learn from it going forward and avoid some of these things”, he lamented
Despite the Minority members of the mine and energy boycotting the committee meeting on AMERI, the former power Minister Dr. Kwabena Donkor appeared before the committee on Friday 20th October 2017 to give testimony as then sector Minister.

In an interview with ghanamps.com the former Minister bemoaned criminalization and calling of names “fraudulent” even before AMERI and the committee sit down to talk.
“It is wrong as a nation we should learn from this since there was a provision in the contract for both parties to talk”, he said.

The Pru East Legislator remarked that he believe the current legislature has no authority to reverse the decision, as the impact on future investment if approved by Parliament can be reversed by a new Parliament simply because it has the numbers.

“The way we are going about it is wrong, our standing orders has no place for a decision taken by a previous parliament for recession by another Parliament it says we can rescind a decision within a session that is within a year of that same Parliament.The Intention might be honorable but the process in my opinion is wrong, K T Hammond who is my brother.

I have told him is wrong, but it is all in wanting the best for Ghana is a learning experience for all the parties and I wished this has been done early rather than the arm slinging and names calling we should be talking to each other’’ he said.

“This will have a lot of impact on Ghana’s investment climate, already for a developing Country there is a political risk in doing business here.

We pay premium on investment because of this risk we are only aggravating this by reversing a decision that was properly approved, this is not in the National interest a short term decision and in my opinion misleading”, he said.

As to what we have learnt as a country from this AMERI deal, he responded by saying, “let us avoid getting into an emergency situation in the first place”.

According to him; “It is very easy after the energy  emergency 2015,  we are on safe ground now  to look back and say  we should have done this we should have done that,  when you are standing in a positon of safety.

 In  an  emergency, what we need was power at all cost the Country was undergoing tremendous  psychological hick up, factories were not having enough power to keep them running Ghanaian business were shutting down because of lack of power, we took the right decision at the right time”, he said.

As to whether same process will be used today, he said definitely not in normal times, process and procedure you use are different in an emergency situation the most important is the outcome and not the necessary the process.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Take Parliament to the door steps of Ghanaians – Bagbin

Former Majority leader and Second Deputy Speaker of the House, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has called on current leadership of the House to revive the practice where Parliament visited the various regions and held forums to explain workings of the House to Ghanaians.

He further pointed out that the media covering Parliament has a limited space to bring to Ghanaians up to speed everything taking place in the House, whiles majority of the media are interested in covering private businesses.

He urged MPs to encourage their constituents to come and observe public sittings in the public gallery of the House, to observe how Business in the House is conducted.

Parliament he said conducts its business in the open, the reason there is a public gallery for the public to observe meetings unlike a Cabinet meeting for the Executive arm of government.

Mr. Bagbin’s comments comes in the wake of the security in Parliament preventing a chief from Tamale North and his entourage to sit in the public gallery to observe the MP for Tamale North ask a question.

The Tamale North MP raised the issue on the floor of the House, seeking the attention of the leadership to address the issue.

The second Deputy Speaker praised the Tamale North MP for bringinga chief from his constituency to observe proceedings in the House, but advised that in the future MPs should get in touch with the Public Affairs department of the House.

The Speaker revealed that, efforts are being made for Parliament to sit late in the day, to allow Ghanaians observe proceedings in the House to understand and appreciate workings of Parliament.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Parliament will not work to the Executive time table – Second Deputy Speaker

Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Nadowli/Kaleo Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has served notice to the Executive arm of government that, Parliament will not work according to its time table.

He recommended that if sector Ministers cannot come to the House to answer questions due to their busy schedules, deputy Ministers can come to the House to answer questions on the floor of the House.

The second deputy Speaker cautioned that if that does not happen, Parliament will advise itself accordingly.

“If that did not happen, we will take it that they are treating us with contempt because it is an order from the House it should not be taken lightly”, he said.

The speaker quoted standing order 60 (1) to back his point, “Ministers shall, by order of the House be requested to attend Sittings of the House to answer Questions asked of them”.

His comments come in the wake of some Ministers in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government failing to appear before the House to answer questions on the floor of the House, that has attracted the Minority MPs to complain and draw the attention of the Business Committee of the House.

Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini expressed worry over his question which was advertised for Friday 20th October 2017 but was taken away.

Chiefs and elders who travelled all the way from Tamale North to witness the Roads and Highway Minster’s response were left disappointed.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Majority whip defend absence of Minister in chamber

The Majority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh has explained that Minister of Roads and Highways has always made efforts to appear in Parliament to answer questions on the floor of the House.

He further revealed that the sector Minister could not come to the floor of the House to answer questions in his name because, he and his deputies were on a retreat outside Accra and will be available on the 27th of October 2017.

Mr. Ameyaw-Cheremeh said, “My brother from Tamale North can confirm to the fact that the Roads and Highways Minister has been diligent and appears before the House, it is because this emergency situation, I can assure you that the Minister will be in the House next week”.

The Tamale North  MP, Alhassan Suhuyini expressed displeasure on the floor of the House, when a provisional question was advertised in his name on Thursday 19th October 2017, that he will ask the sector Minister the following day only to find out the next day that it has been taken away.

The MP who had invited chiefs from Tamale North to the House to observe him as he pose question to the Road and Highways Minister was disappointed by the development.

The Tamale North legislator further drew the House attention to attempts by security personnel in the House preventing the chief and his entourage five (5) in number from entering the chamber through the Public gallery to observe proceedings.

The Majority Chief Whip clarified that, the Business committee of the House has no hand in the number of people who visit the House and advice that efforts be made to get in touch with the Public Affairs Department of the House since they are in charge of such arrangements.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Mines and Energy Committee to meet Kwabena Donkor over AMERI

Committee on Mines and Energy willmeet former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor over the transaction between the government of Ghana and AMERI during the tenure of the past administration lead by former President John Mahama.

The committee will seek some answers on the $510 million dollars thermal plant deal following an urgent motion by MP for Adansi Asokwa K. T Hammond to revoke the deal.

In an interview with the Chairman of the committee, Emmanuel Kwasi Gyamfi  he told ghanamps.com the media will not be allowed to sit in the committee as was done in the case of K. T Hammond and rather the media will be briefed after the various person expected to come before the committee appear.

Mr. KT Hammond argues that AMERI Energy made over 150 million dollars as profit for no work done. He told Starr News Ameri Energy deceived parliament to obtain approval.

“Ameri Energy made a whopping killing of 150million at the expense of the poor taxpayers of this country, this was not what the committee meant to present to Parliament for approval and indeed this is not what I as a ranking member of the committee of mines of energy intended to support when the motion was moved in Parliament”.

The minority in parliament has been boycotting the sittings of the committee as they served notice they will not be part of the committee to discuss the AMERI deal.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com