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“Bribery allegation against me was baseless with no facts”—Samuel Jinapor

Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 told the Appointment Committee of Ghana’s Parliament that the bribery allegations leveled against him by A-plus were baseless and without facts.

This was when the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu asked him to address the issue of corruption raised against him, and the current state of the issue.

Mr. Jinapor told the Committee, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has thoroughly investigated into the matter and exonerated him and Francis Asenso Boakye of any act of corruption, thievery and abuse of power levelled against them.

He handed over the report from CHRAJ dated 4/12/2017 with reference number CHRAJ\332\2017\ 414 with the title, “In the matter of the Commission of Human Right Administrative Justice and in a matter of allegations of corruption, thievery and abuse of power between DYNAMIC YOUTH MOVEMENT OF GHANA who was the complainant and MR SAMUEL A.JINAPOH and MR FRANCIS ASENSO BOAKYE” the respondents to the Chairman of the appointment committee.

 Mr.  Joseph Osei Owusu, Chairman of the Committee received the forms for their records and evidence to prove to the committee that, indeed the case has been determined by CHRAJ.

Mr.  Jinapor used the opportunity to tell Ghanaians and the World at large to ignore those bribery allegations which were leveled against himself and his colleague, during their previous positions at the Presidency since it bears no facts and basis, after one of the State investigative body (CHRAJ) has done it work on the matter.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

New sanitation bill should accommodate public toilet — Nii Lantey

Member of Parliament for Odododiodio, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye is advocating for the new Sanitation Authority Bill to have in it public toilet.

According to him the bill in its current state does not make room for public toilet, adding that despite the fact that Ghanaians are being encouraged to own toilets, there is a new development of population expansion.

“We have uncontrolled nature of settlement which are leading to slams within the cities and we cannot completely say, we are eradicating public toilet, because people would find a place and do open defecation”, he said in an interview.

He further pointed out that when the Minister-designate appeared before the Appointment Committee, he wanted her to make a commitment to look at the law again which should take care of ordinary people who stay within slams.

He also emphasized the need to keep our environment clean, and noted that the provision of public toilets in areas where ordinary Ghanaians cannot own toilet will also ensure that offenders of open defecation can be punished.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“We don’t know Public Enterprise Ministry”—Haruna

Ranking member of the Appointment Committee, Haruna Iddrisu objected to vetting of Minister-designate Joseph Cudjoe for Public Enterprises, where there was a stand steel as he questioned the legitimacy of the portfolio.

According to the Minority Leader he does not know of any Ministry called Public Enterprises and hence cannot quiz the nominee on it.

He asked the Chairman of the Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu, to get in touch with the Presidency to get them a formal correspondence regarding the Public Enterprises Ministry.

“Even if it takes midnight with correspondence from the Presidency, we will be here to work. As we proceed, there is no Ministry of Public Enterprises, and our hands are tied because we should be assessing him based on the role he is going to play,” Haruna Iddrisu said on Tuesday, February 23, 2021.

The Majority side, however, wanted the vetting to go on while the Presidency is consulted thereafter.

After a while, the Chairman of the Committee agreed to take a break to consult and resolve the issue.  The vetting however resumed after fifteen minutes.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“I can’t send committees’ matters to president without speaker’s knowledge”—Osei-Owusu

Chairman of the Appointment Committee Joseph Osei-Owusu has told the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu that as chairman he cannot communicate anything directly to President Akufo-Addo without going through the Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin.

His statement was in connection with the objection to the vetting of the Minister-designate for Public Enterprise Joseph Cudjoe by the Minority Leader.

Mr. Haruna Iddrisu on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 objected to the vetting of Joseph Cudjoe, said, “I object to the vetting of President’s nominee for Public Enterprise and demand clarity on the Ministry, because every Ministry is a Public Enterprise on its own, but if the President had appointed him Minister of State responsible for a particular Ministry at the presidency to play a supervisory role I would not have challenges with that”.

Mr.  Haruna, who is also the Ranking Member on the  Committee believes that, creation of Public Enterprise Ministry violates the Executive Instrument (EI 12) to which the President has exercise his powers and mandate in nomination of people to be vetted for ministerial position.

Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin however took the pain to explain the position of the law that mandate the president to nominate Ghanaians to become Ministers.

Mr.  Afenyo quoted Article 71 in support of his claim by saying, “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval by Parliament, from among members of Parliament or persons qualify to be elected as members of Parliament, except that, the Majority of the Ministers shall be appointed from the members of Parliament.”

Mr. Afenyo Markin therefore urged the Committee to go on with their vetting as they are mandated to since time is also of essence, even though, he agreed with the call  for a clarity by the Minority leader but that should not stop the committee from carrying the legitimate mandate.

The Committee suspended the vetting of Joseph Cudjoe for some minutes and later came back to begin its vetting with him.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

GACL only rented its space to Frontiers -Transport Minister-designate

The controversy surrounding the award of contract to Frontiers Healthcare Services, a company undertaking the COVID-19 testing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), has been put to rest by the Minister-designate for the Ministry of Transport, Kweku Ofori Asiamah.

The Minister-designate for Transport said the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL), which operates the KIA, only rented its space to Frontiers Healthcare Services.

He further noted that, it was done after receiving confirmation from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) about the certification of equipment to be used by Frontiers Healthcare Services.

“Sometime in July/August, 2020, the President announced Government’s inclination to reopen the borders of the nation to commercial air traffic, subject to the availability of an effective system for COVID-19 testing. Following this, Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited expressed the preparedness to provide such service to the public, whilst indicating that its equipment had been tested by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA)”.

Three Ministerial nominees who had so far appeared before the Appointments Committee have failed to give a convincing account on the procurement processes that led to the award of a contract to Frontiers Healthcare Service to conduct COVID-19 testing at the KIA at a fee of US$150.00 per head.

Explaining further, the Minster-designate said,  by a letter dated 25th August, 2020, the FDA wrote to GACL indicating that it had approved of the equipment of Frontiers Healthcare for use in the detection of SARS-COV-2 in Ghana. The on-site audit report carried on the equipment was attached to the letter, he noted.

He said following receipt of this information, GACL, intending to enter into an agreement with Frontiers Healthcare by which GACL would rent part of its space to the laboratory service provider to render the service in question to the public, wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to seek its approval before executing any agreement with Frontiers Healthcare.

In the said rent agreement the GACL entered into with Frontiers Healthcare Services, the Transport Minister-designate revealed that the laboratory service provider was also required to make a payment of royalties of US$10.00 per each test done to the GACL.

“The payment of royalties to GACL did not imply that the agreement had to receive PPA approval, the company offered to provide laboratory services to the public with their own equipment. No public funds were expended in getting them to provide the services to the public, apart from the provision of office space”.

 And added that, the basic condition for an application of the PPA Act did not exist and in any case, GACL endeavourer to obtain PPA approval in respect of the contract for the rental of its space to the company.  As stated already, the PPA indicated that the rental of office space falls outside the scope of the Procurement Act.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

MPs are now pivot around which development revolves—Gidisu

Member of Parliament for Krachi East, Wisdom Gidisu said lawmakers are now the pivot around which development revolves in the constituencies as they have oversight responsibilities to initiate development.

According to him lawmakers are not development agents, but currently they are the pivot around which everything revolves.

“We are seen in the constituencies as development agents, so who are you to tell them that you cannot do ABC and cannot initiate anything to be done for them, then you are finished?”

Speaking in an interview when Ghanamps.com asked if MPs are pressured by the development, he responded in the affirmative, and said it cannot be done away with, adding it is a necessity so far as one assumes leadership role.

“Even in our homes pressures would come as a leader, so we are managing the pressures small, small in the constituencies”, he assured.

He further pointed out that currently he is embarking on a “Thank You Tour” in his constituency both with the inland and island communities for the good work they have done by electing him.

And further noted that, with the vetting going on as soon as the various Ministers-designate assume office, he would move to lobby for projects for his constituency and now that elections are over his people should come together and  work to move Krachi East forward.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Krachi East MP unhappy with two hours delay in second COVID-19 testing

Member of Parliament for Krachi East,  Wisdom Gidisu has expressed disappointment in delays for the start of second covid-19 testing in parliament.

According to him, it is unfair that MPs have been left waiting for over two hours and the medical officials have still not surfaced to commence the testing.

This second COVID-19 testing directed by the Speaker of Parliament to ensure the MPs and staff know their status before the House resumes on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 following the 3-weeks suspension of the House over rise in positive cases.

Mr. Gidisu noted that he has been in the premises of Parliament since 10:00am, the time given  for the test to start but yet to see any positive action in that regard, ten minutes to midday.

“I have to go back to our constituencies and the test has not started. I have to go back there and have some final touches done within the weekend. There are funerals I have to attend before coming back to the House next week Tuesday”.

He further pointed out that he is desperate and does not know what to do. As to whether he has reported this development to the Minority chief whip, he indicated that he is yet to climb up and notify his leader about the development.

We were thinking they are late for some time, and they would be coming but for two hours nothing is happening in Parliament.  We have to draw the whips attention and if it is possible move back to our constituencies”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

MPs, staffs to undertake COVID-19 test ahead of 2nd March reopening

Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff of the House as at 8:30am on Tuesday, February 23,2021  were seen  preparing to move towards Parliament clinic to undertake their second COVID-19 test as directed by Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin before the House resumes from its three weeks suspension  on Tuesday, March 2,2021.

By 9:00am Ghanamps.com spotted staff of Parliament and MPs waiting for the medial officials to undertake the in the House, with a list at the entrance for each person to check their names before the test.

Staffs in some departments in the House were however undecided on whether to subject themselves to the test or not following a positive testing result that were handed some of the staff which later turned out to be negative.

They contemplated having the test outside the parliament in other facilities.

Some members of Parliament who were ready to take the test and move back to their constituency outside Accra were not happy the test had not commenced at the time communicated to them.

Following the delay, Ghanamps.com contacted the Medical Director at the Clinic in Parliament, Dr. Pambo who assured that the test would come on.

“The test would come on, I can’t give further details because of the earlier negative media publications I have received on this whole exercise. If you want more on this issue, talk to the Director of public Affairs”, he stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Boamah calls on Trade Ministry to resolve Ghana-Benin challenges

 Member of Parliament for Okaikwei Central, Yaw Patrick Boamah has called on the Ministry of Trade and Industry and other policy makers to act immediately to resolve the current challenges between Ghana and Benin in terms of export.

According to him Ghanaian companies which export their products to other West African countries especially Benin are currently facing serious challenges for sending their products, due to some trade policy amendments on the part of the Benin government.

He noted that the Benin government does not want all companies from Ghana to enjoy tax reliefs that are supposed to be granted to these companies when they send their products to that country.

In an interview he pointed out that he had received a letter from some of the companies that export goods through the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme, and the action taken by Benin has been in effect for the past six months.

Mr. Boamah explained that, these tax relief cut offs were allowing Ghanaian Companies to be more competitive on the Benin market, but now that it is taken off, Ghanaian Companies like Interplast and other companies are seriously complaining about the current happenings in Benin.

He called on the appropriate authorities to do everything within their mandate to resolve the issue in other to allow Ghanaian Companies, to do their work according to rules and laws between these two countries.

“The decision to take off tax reliefs could affect Ghanaian companies’ performance on the market and could also lead to job losses to people working in all these Ghanaian companies”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“We need broader consultation on election of MMDCEs”—John Kumah

 As efforts to get Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) elected failed, Member of Parliament for Ejisu, John Ampotuah Kumah  is advocating for broader consultation on the issue.

According to him looking at the current political atmosphere and the numbers the ruling Government (New Patriotic Party (NPP) has in Parliament, it is not best to introduce any controversial thing.

“We need a little more time to do a lot of consultations when you have such an almost equal numerical strength, you do not go after issues that would be difficult to rally people around. We tried it the first term it never worked. Some want the election on partisan base others want it on neutral basis”.

In an interview, he noted that, as far as we do not have a consensus on the issue of election of MMDCEs it is not the best way to go.

He added that, as a country if we centralize and do not decentralize when it comes to resources, “we would not see developmental impact in our local communities”.

Again, he agreed that at a point, the issue has to be brought to the back burner as the issues cannot be resolved with one party. There should be an agreement between the two major political parties, NPP and NDC, “otherwise we cannot achieve what we want to”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com