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Help us highlight on diligent MPs—Osei Kyei-Mensah

Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is advocating for the media to give coverage and highlight activities of Members of Parliament who are diligent in doing their work.

According to the Leader of Government Business, MPs who take Parliamentary business serious should be given the needed highlight which he believes the media in Parliament is not doing.

Again let our constituents know and see MPs who come to Accra and are representing them seriously and have their interest at heart. This point was made at a media encounter in Parliament House.

Addressing the media at the media encounter in parliament, he lamented over the practices where media practitioners outside parliament come to the House to report on issues they do not have firm grips on, whiles it is the duty of Journalists in Parliament to report authoritatively on.

When they become central issues from you, our constituents would place some value on our attendance and also who is able to contribute effectively in the House, he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

“Parliamentary business, the longer you stay the better you become”—Majority Leader

Leader of Government Business Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said the longer a Member of Parliament stays in the House, the better the person becomes in the wake of high attrition rate in Parliament.

According to the Leader of Government Business, his own party has decided to monitor the attendance of MPs to the House, as of when they came to the chamber and leave the chamber, hence the rate of improvement.

He further added that it would go into the factors of determining whether an MP would be retained or not in the 2020 Parliamentary election.

“We send attendance to the leader of the Party who is the President and the Party head office and would be keen in our determination”, he said.

Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu further pointed out that, “many of us who have stayed for three or two terms are even unfamiliar with the turf in Parliament”, he lamented.

When it comes to drafting of legislation which is the core business of the House, you do not see a lot of our colleagues on the floor of the House, that cannot be good people, because it raises the question of quorum, he pointed out.

Again MPs are expected to play a generalized role when they get to their constituencies, all kinds of questions would be thrown at MPs, if you are not regular at Parliament how do you address some of these issues.

“If you are not a diligent law maker and you do not attend to business on the floor of the House, how are you able to do this”, he lamented.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

We are available as MPs for the four years we were sworn in—Adaklu MP

Member of Parliament for Adaklu have said MPs are available to work anytime they are called upon within the four year team that they have been sworn into office.

According to the Adaklu lawmaker as legislators they can be called upon to perform any duty any time, any day within their four year mandate.

He made this remarks when he represented the Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu at a media encounter, second of its nature in the second meeting of the second session.

The Adaklu legislator lamented over the practice where parliament does not start on time while there are a lot of work to be done.

He took on board suggestions made by Journalists for both the Minority and Majority caucus to have a system where, things said by both caucus are kept on record in the whips offices and when needed could be recalled easily.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Revised Standing Orders to come into effect next year–Majority Leader

Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had given indications that, the revised Standing Orders being worked on and in its final stages would come into effect in the third session of the seventh Parliament of the fourth Republic.

According to the Majority Leader, the third meeting of the second session is a budget meeting and would not be appropriate to introduce the revised Standing Orders that has implications of committees to be recomposed.

He further added that, it would be difficult for members to adjust if the revised Standing Orders is introduced after recess and adopted by plenary in the third meeting of the second session.

When questioned on the status of the revised Standing Orders, he indicated that it is with the Speaker who is also adding his bit to it and would come back to the technical committee and the Standing Orders committee for finalization before being presented to the plenary for adoption.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu in addition revealed that in the revised Standing Order, Members of Parliament are expected to belong to just a committee which would be strengthened and members motivated.

Some MPs are not happy with this development as they want to belong to more than one committee and added that the committee system would be worked on to have proper select and standing committees, he said.

Majority leader made this remarks when leadership of the House had a media engagement with the press corps, second of its nature in the second meeting of the second session.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Plenary to decide on the fate of Assin Central MP

The fate of Assin Central MP would be decided by the plenary as the Privileges Committee of Parliament has recommended sanctions against him over his claims that Parliament is cheap.

The Privileges Committee of Parliament has recommended sanctions against the Assin Central Member of Parliament Kennedy Agyapong over his claims that Parliament is cheap.

The committee chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu has recommend the suspension of Kennedy Ohene Agyapong for the rest of “this session”.

The Committee arrived at this decision after finding Mr. Agyapong to have been in contempt of Parliament for the remarks he made that “Parliament is cheap” and “Parliament is useless”.

Prior to arriving at this final decision, the Committee was divided as to which sanction to recommend to the plenary to for consideration.

“The Committee noted the apology rendered by the Member and therefore did not consider expulsion as a sanction to be imposed. The Committee was however in favor of either a reprimand or a suspension. After extensive deliberations, the Committee put the two options to a vote. Out of a total membership of thirty-one (31), twenty (20) Members were present at the time of the voting. Ten (10) Members voted in favor of reprimand as a sanction and ten (10) Members voted in favor of suspension as a sanction. In view of the split ballot, the Committee recommends to the House to determine which of the two sanctions to be imposed on the Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong”, the report of the Privileges Committee on the breach of privilege and contemptuous comments allegedly made by Hon. Member for Assin Central constituency, Mr. Ken Ohene Agyapong, in part read.

Section 35 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) provides that “Where a Member of Parliament is found by Parliament to be guilty of contempt of Parliament; Parliament may direct that the Member be reprimanded in the Member’s place by the Speaker”.

Section 36(1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Act also provide that:

1. “Where a Member is found by Parliament to be guilty to be guilty of contempt of Parliament, Parliament may suspend the Member from the service of Parliament for a period not exceeding nine months, whether or not that period extends beyond the end of the Session.

2. Where a Member is suspended from the service of Parliament, the Member (a) shall forthwith leave the precincts of Parliament and shall not enter them again while the suspension continues; (b) shall forfeit the allowances to which the Member would otherwise be entitled as a Member in respect of the period of suspension”.

Section 37 (1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Act also provide that:

1. “Where a Member is found by Parliament to have been guilty of conduct which, whether or not it amounts to contempt of Parliament, is so grossly improper as to indicate that the Member is unfit to remain a Member, the Member may be expelled by Parliament.

2. A resolution for the expulsion of a Member under subsection (1) shall be of no effect unless (a) at least seven days’ notice that it was to be moved was given in the manner required by Standing Orders for the giving of notices of motions, and (b) it is supported by the votes of at least two-thirds of the total number of Members”.

In the view of the Committee, they found Hon. Agyapong to have been in contempt of Parliament after carefully watching the video evidence submitted to it by the Complainant in the person of the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka.

“The Committee was convinced that contrary to the denial by Hon. Agyapong, he indeed made those disparaging comments that “Parliament ay3 foo” meaning “Parliament is cheap” and “Parliament foo” meaning “Useless Parliament”, the report in part noted.

It added “The Committee determined that the comments by the Hon. Member affront the dignity of Parliament and he is therefore guilty of contempt of Parliament in terms of Article 122 of the Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament”.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Auditor General should have a seat in Parliament—Minority Leader

Vice Chairman of the Special Budget Committee, Haruna Iddrisu is advocating for the Auditor General to have a seat in Parliament House.

According to him, Parliament remains the Auditor Generals strongest Partner in the fight against corruption and added that that is what pertains in the Australian Parliament, “this strengthens the bond between both institutions”.

He made this remark when the committee paid a working visit to the Audit Service and the National Media Commission to get firsthand information on the workings of the above institutions.

The Committee further deliberated with the two institutions on challenges facing them and how there could be collaboration to address those challenges for the institutions to work effectively.

Auditor General David Yaw Domelevo said the service is broadening its scope of work and would soon begin auditing physical structures executed under state funds.

“For many years the auditing process had been restricted to the books, but come next fiscal year the service would engage technocrats to assess whether materials used for infrastructure projects meet the given specifications”.

Mr. Domelevo said this when the special budgets committee of parliament paid a working visit to the Audit Service.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Press corps has second media encounter with media in Parliament

The Parliamentary Press Corps have their second media encounter with leadership of Parliament, as the second meeting of the second session comes to an end on the 28th of July, 2018.

Acting Director of Public Affairs of Parliament Kate Addo noted that the media encounter would afford the leadership of the House, to brief the media on how workings of the House has been in the second meeting of the second session of the seventh Parliament of the fourth Republic.

A similar encounter was organised at the beginning of the meeting where the Minority leader addressed the media and the Second Deputy Majority Leader Sara Adowa Safo represented the Majority Leader.

She noted that the Clerk and the Whips of both the Majority and Minority would join the media encounter, but if they are unable to make it, then it has to do with the busy nature of the House as it has a lot of work to do.

For the various departments in Parliament to understand and appreciate the work that the media does, the Acting Director of Public Affairs pulled along Mr. William Kafui Asem to seat in the media encounter.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Nominated EC officials ought to work as a team—Patrick Boamah

Deputy Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Patrick Boamah has said Jane A. Mensa, the newly appointed chairperson of the Electoral Commission and her Deputies must work as a team.

“The Commissioners ought to know that it is team work that matters, the individual game is over where we have a chairperson that person should work with other commissioners so that they work as a team.”

According to the Deputy Minister, the President had followed the laid down rules to appoint competent people to serve at the EC, which is an independent body with stability to run the nation’s election.

He further added that with the creation of new regions, “we need to put together a team that would see to it that the process goes through, I believe it was about time the President acted to fill in the vacuum”.

Mr. Patrick Boamah called on the new appointed commissioners to ensure that they pull the media along with decision they would be making.

On the accusation by some Minority MPs that Jane Mensa is not a neutral person, he responded by saying the Minority would always have their say and question if the Special Prosecutor is an NPP person as the Minority would want Ghanaians to believe?

She would meet the test of time, she is in to fix the problems NDC left behind at the EC he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority Leader unhappy with delay in presenting joint committee report

Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu has expressed worry over the delay in presenting the report of the joint committee on Communications and Foreign Affairs.

The report for adoption is on African Union Convention on Cyber-Security and Personal Data protection (Malabo Convention).

According to the Minority Leader this is not the first time he is pointing out this issue of delay on a report the communications committee is spearheading, he lamented over the fact that the business committee sets a programme.

“We do not want government business to suffer and the Majority leader is shielding the chairman of the Communications committee, we would hold them strictly when it comes to government business”, he said.

Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told the House that chairman of the Communications Committee, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong has informed him that the report was ready but there were some mistakes with the document the communications Minister brought to the committee.

Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzato Ablakwa noted that his committee had not been invited to any meeting but it’s a joint committee report.

Mr. Ken Ohene Agyapong who surfaced in the chamber ten minutes after the issue broke up, noted that the Minority Leader has not been fair to him because there were mistakes in the referral to the committee.

“Minister made a mistake the committee ask that the Minister comes to withdraw, I have the report when she withdrew the clerk had committee traveled and just came, it does not correspond to what the President sign we cannot bring it to the floor of the House”, he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

EC Nominee: Akufo-Addo put in place rigging machinery—Akandoh

Former Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Juaboso, Kwabena Minta Akandoh has said, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s nomination of a new chairperson for the Electoral Commission shows he has set in place a future rigging machinery.

President Nana Akufo-Addo yesterday nominated Jean Adukwei Mensa, Executive Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), to replace Madam Charlotte Kesson-Smith Osei as Ghana’s new Electoral Commissioner.

When put under strict questioning to substantiate his allegations, the former Deputy Minister said, “be patient with me you would understand why I am saying so”.

He noted that when the Chief Executive Officer of the National Identification Authority (NIA) Professor Attafuah came to Parliament, he said in future data base of NIA would be used to vote; and the President being a lawyer knows very well it is the job of EC to do that.

Again the President fires the EC chairperson and her two deputies knowing very well procurement is not ECs core mandate.

He further added that, two top officials of the birth and death in the Volta Region have been removed which is a strong hold of the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC), if these moves are not planning for rigging tell me what it is?

“This woman Jane Mensa, said former President John Mahama was running away from Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) debate, I do not trust her political neutrality’, he lamented.

Those who were making noise when the former EC was appointed and said she did not get her appointment genuinely and that she used part of her body to attain her position, what are they saying about the nomination of the new EC chairperson now?

“Did Jane Mensa use part of her body to attain her nominations, we need to be serious in this country any time we are talking let us remember that Kama law exist”, said.

When questioned if he is not engaging in cheap politics, “what cheap politics”, Ghana is for all of us not for President Akufo-Addo alone, so when there are issues to be discussed I would do so.

Even if NDC as a party is in support of the nomination of the new EC boss, I am against it, civil society should speak out, let us not make this issue NDC and NPP, the President fires three people at the EC then another President comes would also fire ten people at the EC.

“We are a major player in this country’s political history, we cannot sit and be quite over this issue, it all started whiles NPP was in opposition they said the former EC chairperson does not deserve the position, when they come to power they would fire her”, he lamented.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com