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“I will not and cannot be silence by abuse of prosecutorial powers by AG”—Ato Forson

Ranking member on Finance Dr.  Cassiel Ato Forson Baah has said he cannot be silenced by abuse of prosecutorial powers by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Godfred Yeboah Dame, with the investigation into the purchase of ambulance which is the basis of the frivolous charges started in 2017.

According to him during the previous Parliament Speaker Rt. Hon Aaron Mike Oquaye called on him to assist the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (ECOCO) with their investigation on the matter and nothing was heard about the matter until November 2021 when he started raising concern about the 2022 budget and Economic Policy of the Government.

At a press conference on Friday, December 2021, he noted that he was further informed that the AG’s office had requested that a charge statement be taken from him in preparation for formal charges to be filled against him.

“The coincidence speaks volumes about the motivation for these frivolous and baseless charges, it is politically motivated; my only role was to sign a letter for the Minister of Finance in my capacity as a Deputy Finance Minister”.

Again, “if I may ask since when did ministerial instruction for the establishment of letters of credit become a crime in this dear country of ours?”

He further questioned why the AG does not see it fit to prosecute those who left the ambulances purchased with taxpayers’ money to rote while pregnant women were being carried on bicycles, pushed on trucks and okada bikes to hospitals all over the country to deliver the next generation of Ghanaians.

“I must point out that the instructions of the Ministry of Finance for the establishment of letters of credit was preceded by a well written opinion of the Attorney General in an opinion letter dated May 9, 2014 advising the Ministry of Health on this transaction.

It was based upon the advice of the Attorney General that the Legal Division of the Ministry of Finance advised the Minister of Finance, not the Deputy Minister, to take steps to establish the letters of credit. At the appropriate time, and in the course of the trial, we will make available the full complement of documentation through the process of discovery.

In the meantime, the question you should be asking the Attorney General and his Director of Public Prosecutions is why they are running away from their own legal opinion?”

In addition don’t they know that it is highly unethical and unprofessional for a lawyer to issue an opinion on the position of the law on a matter and then tum around to act against her own advice? I dare say that that is professional misconduct, he stated.

“It should be noted that, I did not authorise payment for the said 2,370,000 Euros; my only job in the entire transaction was to request the issuance of LC (Letter of Credit) on the authority of the Minister of Finance, A letter of credit is letter from a bank guaranteeing that a buyer’s payment to a seller will be received on time and for the correct amount.”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker Bagbin demanded GHS1.72 billion before approving 2022 budget—Osei Kyei

Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has revealed that, the Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin demanded for an amount of One Billion, Seven Hundred and Two Million Ghana Cedis (Gh1.72 billion) before allowing the 2022 economic policy of government to be approved.

He said, on the day of the budget presentation by the finance minister, the Speaker of Parliament in a leadership meeting together with the finance minister, openly demanded Gh1.72 billion cedis from the finance minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to allocate such huge sums of money to the Parliament of Ghana in the 2022 budget else he, the Speaker would make sure that, the budget is rejected just as the father of Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta engineered for Dr. Hilla Liman’s budget to be rejected.

He queried if all the drama surrounding the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy was in fulfillment to the Speaker’s earlier threat to the Finance Minister.

Mr. Osei-Kyei further urged the general public and Ghanaians to disregard the information in being circulation that, he, the majority leader told the Rt. Hon Speaker to leave Parliament, and go home last Monday when the House was about to work on the E-Levy Bill.

“Such, information is false I never had such discussion or encounter with the Speaker Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin”

He made these submissions in a press conference held on Thursday, December 23, 2021 in Parliament, when he engaged the Parliament Press Corps to explain circumstances leading to the unfortunate chaos which happened in Parliament this week Monday.

Minority refutes Afenyo Markin “Speaker lacks Leadership comment”

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has described as unfortunate allegations by the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin’s that the Speaker, Alban Bagbin was deliberately conniving with the minority to obstruct government business when he failed to be present to preside over proceedings in the evenings of Monday, November 20, 2021.

The majority had cause to accuse the Speaker of not showing leadership when he failed to be present to preside over critical government business like the consideration of the Electronic Transaction Levy Bill, forcing one of the deputy Speakers to preside over proceedings.

That decision reduced the voting numbers of the Majority by a critical one vote and the Majority did not take kindly to the development.

But addressing the media, the Deputy Minority leader, James Klutse Avedzi refuted that allegation, stating that the Speaker’s absence was purely on health grounds.

He asserts that Mr. Bagbin just returned from medical treatment and would have to obey his doctor’s instructions and directives, because his life is very important.

Deputy Majority Leader

He said the agreement on Friday before the adjournment of the House was that the business on Monday would be purely on E-levy. And instead of the scheduled time of 10am, the House started sitting around 4-5pm. “And Mr. Speaker, somebody who is now about to rest enough, so that he can regain his health you cannot put him through all these issues for him to go through all these hustle waiting for long.

Eventually, when the House sat, they introduced new business and the Speaker couldn’t wait that long.

We are surprised that the deputy leader, Hon. Markin should be calling on the Speaker of parliament to show leadership. We do not see anything that the Speaker of parliament is doing that shows that he is not showing leadership. in fact if we want to talk about the Speakers of parliament, and in the immediate past Speaker of the 7th parliament as compared to the current Speaker of the 8th Parliament, if you want to talk about who is showing leadership, it is honourable Bagbin who is showing leadership”.

Citing the way Mr. Bagbin handled the way things unfolded in his absence for medical attention, he said but for his leadership skills, the Speaker would have reversed everything that was than; but because he wants the country to move on so “he only said he was not going to do anything to turn, or overturn those decisions”.

Describing the Speaker as an experienced politician and former member of parliament, Mr. Avedzi said the Speaker is the only person who has served the parliament of Ghana for 28 good years up to the 7th parliament, and “we are fortunate to have him as the Speaker of the 8th Parliament where he is putting before the entire country, his experience as a former member of parliament.

He, thus called on all and sundry, to disregard all the comments by Mr. Afenyo Markins in relations to the leadership style of Mr. Bagbin.

Dominic Shirimori/Ghanamps.com

Parliament witnessed yet another stand-off

The parliament of Ghana has witnessed yet another physical confrontations resulting in abrupt temporarily stop to proceedings in the House.

A decision by the first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu to have himself counted during a “division” angered the Minority MPs who reminded him that that was inappropriate and not in line with the rule of  law.

But the Speaker went on to have himself accounted.

Just when he resumed his seat, the Minority reminder him to leave the seat. Sensing the anger of the Minority, the first Deputy Speaker announced for the Second Deputy Speaker to takeover proceedings. But that was not to be as the Minority MPs vowed and prevented him from resuming the seat.

This led to some physical struggles between the two groups, with some even exchanging blows.

The standoff took well over an hour before calm returned.

The House was considering the Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) under the certificate of urgency: but the process was challenged by a member from the Minority, Mahama Ayariga.

 The Second Deputy Speaker who was in the chair at the time ruled against the objection and continued to take a voice note on whether or not the Bill should be taken on the certificate of urgency.

His ruling for the “Yes have it” was challenged by the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka who called for division.

Unfortunately, the Second Deputy Speaker could not proceed with the division, instead suspended the House for sometime only for the First deputy Speaker to take over.


“We don’t know the where about of Speaker Bagbin”—Deputy Majority Leader

Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin on Monday, December 20, 2021 lamented on the absence of the Rt. Hon. Speaker in the chair in the evening when the E-Levy report before the Finance Committee was ready and laid before the House.

“Why the Rt. Hon is unavoidably absent this evening from the chamber, we therefore say we see this as grand political sign by the Minority group to frustrate us. We do not want to suggest that Mr. Speaker is probably absent to frustrate government business”.

 According to him, they believe in Mr. Speaker, they believe that he stands for government business to go on and to allow this country to be governed by rule of law and due process. “We expect Mr. Speaker to be present in the chamber, we have our numbers, we are ready to do government business, we cannot move into pettiness; this is the strategy of the Minority to create a stand the Ghanaian people must know that this NDC does not mean well”.

He made this known at a press conference just after the Minority Leader had addressed a press conference and added that the Minority NDC should look for a higher way to power and not engaging in frustration, short cut route.

“All the social interventions we promised while in opposition are being done step by step in every step of the way we have kept faith with Ghanaians good on the fact they are out for you to know”.

Mr. Afenyo Markin noted further that they have reached out to their colleagues in the Minority through the whole process with the E Levy policy tax to be introduced, which is aimed at achieving two things, one to address the unemployment, inject capital to the private sector to address the many youth unemployment and for the youth to start their own business.

In the second instance, he noted that every week MPs from both side of the House do have questions about their roads and added that government took a decision to get sufficient funds for road contractors to be paid.

Again the appropriation Bill was passed last week and the E-Levy has to be passed where government would widen the tax for everyone to pay.

HE indicated that their colleagues in the Minority have been complaining about borrowing the level of and this is an internal mechanism designed to ensure the government raises revenue internally.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Ayariga to move to Community Court on direct election to parliament in 2022

First Rapporteur of the Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) of ECOWAS Parliament, Mahama Ayariga has given indications of going to the Community Court to ensure that any lawmaker moving to the sixth Parliament would go through direct election, early next year.

According to him he had wanted to raise the issue in Abuja- Nigeria at the Second Ordinary Session but because of Ghana’s peculiar situation of its 8th Parliament, where the Majority has 138 with an Independent Member of Parliament (MP) working with the Majority and Minority having 137 the numbers of MP on the floor to pass or reject the 2022 budget was critical.

In an interview on whether his crusade to move to the Community Court was on, he responded; “yes and if you notice most of us could not attend the session in Abuja fully.  I wanted to bring the matter up whiles in Abuja for the session, trust me early next year I would bring it up”.

Earlier before the Second Ordinary Session, he indicated that he wants the ECOWAS Court of Justice to forcefully end the transitional protocol for direct election which has been more than twenty (20) years.

“So, if MPs of the fifth (5th) legislature their tenure ends, the next parliament, if they are not elected directly, they should not be sworn in; because the transition has ended, I want the court to declare that the transition has ended”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

ECOWAS Parliament: “Let us push for full legislative powers and direct election”—Bedzrah

A member of Ghana’s delegation to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah has said the Parliament should also be pushing for full legislative powers in the Supplementary Act and not only concentrate on electing lawmakers directly to the House.

According to him if the crusade to get lawmakers to the Community Parliament is achieved but the House does not have the full powers to legislate which would be binding in the member states, the crusade is back to the current state of affairs.

Currently various sub-regional National Assemblies appoints lawmakers to the Parliament and the current Speaker Rt. Hon Dr. Sidie Mohammed Tunis’ flagship agenda is to get lawmakers elected by citizens in the sub-region.

However, there are bottlenecks in the sense that they would not have legislative right when it comes to enforcement of laws, conventions, and protocols; the parliament needs the right to enforce legislation they pass.

As to whether the direct election of lawmakers to the Community parliament, Heads of States within the sub-region are committed to it,  he said “citizens within member states  see the commission and the Parliament as an elite  club where we go and fraternize and nothing gets done”.

Citing an example, he said there were talks about opening of land borders among member states, but since then nothing has been done. The last meeting of experts which was done virtually, they were told it would be done in January 2022; “I hope this little issue of opening our land borders would be done”.

“Otherwise we would talk about this election, Authority of Heads of states would come and go, new Speakers would come and go, it’s because some people are benefiting from the whole thing they do not want to see direct elections. When the status remains like that they prefer it, if something is not good you change it, if you are not changing it then it means you are enjoying it”.

And further noted that when the Parliament and the Court of Justice are given their powers to perform as is the case in other jurisdiction, the ECOWAS Commission would seat up.

According to him at the last Second Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja-Nigeria where the 2022 budget of the Commission was passed, lawmakers scrutinized the budget of the Commission and approved it, after wards it was given back to the Commission to approve it finally.

“That is not the practice in our various member states; National Parliaments, the Executive arm of government brings their budget for approval by the legislature, if we have to reduce it that would be done, but ECOWAS Parliament you just have to yeah, yeah it and let it go”.

Again, the Supplementary Act would have to give Parliament its powers to do its work. Legislative powers which are enforceable by member states parliaments.

“Whatever EU Parliament says is being ratified by the various countries comes under the European Union (EU), if you do not have that and you even elect MPs it would be the same thing that we have been doing because the supplementary Act does not give you the authority and autonomy to be able to legislate”.

On the Ad Hoc Committee set up to draw a road map for direct election into the Community Parliament, he noted that they need to visit other blocs like the East African Parliament and the EU Parliament which is long overdue.

Mr. Bedzrah added that there is nothing wrong for the Community Parliament to embark on study tours to countries that have perfected this kind of things and have experience in them.

“I do not see why the Ad Hoc  committee cannot go and take a study tour and come back to inform the House, and on what premises would you give your judgment?”

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

2022 budget: Minority does not seek to obstruct government business—Haruna

On the issues of consideration of the 2022 budget and matters arising, the Minority in a statement had put forward strongly that they are not in the business of obstructing government business at the least opportunity.

“On the contrary, we have at every instance demonstrated commitment to good governance, the 1992 constitution and the standing orders of parliament. An objective overview of the group’s stance on the current budget amplifies our fidelity to the national interest.

Below is the statement issued by the Minority Leader:

The Minority group in parliament has since the beginning of this parliament demonstrated fidelity to the collective aspirations of the people of this country and most importantly to the constitution of the republic.

In commitment to these democratic tenets, the group on some occasions has been the subject of attacks by otherwise concerned members of its own political party.

On the contrary, we have at every instance demonstrated commitment to good governance, the 1992 constitution and the standing orders of parliament. An objective overview of the group’s stance on the current budget amplifies our fidelity to the national interest.

Right after the Minister for Finance presented the government’s budget on behalf of the President, the minority group through its leadership indicated its opposition to aspects of the budget and called for a review, failure of which would compel the minority to reject the budget. Consistent with this call for a review which were not heeded to, the minority got the required votes to reject the budget policy on the 26th of November 2021.

The Majority responded to this lawful rejection with an irregular and illegal procedure purporting to rescind the earlier rejection and the nation looked on as they debased, in their usual fashion, democratic tenets.

The Minority’s efforts to reverse such rape of the constitution and gross disrespect of parliament’s standing orders were frustrated by an extremely partisan majority group and 1st Deputy Speaker.

Nonetheless the Minority group’s action compelled an engagement with the finance minister who have since made all concessions but one (The Killer E-Levy) on behalf of the President. He has written officially to parliament to modify the initial budget statement to reflect these concessions.

Taking into consideration these concessions and modifications to the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy, the Minority have since examined the sector ministries estimates, but remain vehemently opposed to that which the government remains adamant to withdraw, the killer E-Levy of 1.75%, which undoubtedly will subject Ghanaians to immense financial pressure and further thwart our nation’s ease of doing business and digitization drive. The Appropriation Bill for 2021 to cater for ordinary government business for 2022 has just been passed. The killer E-Levy bill has yet to be considered by Parliament. For the avoidance of doubt the Minority continues its opposition to the e-levy.

We in the Minority remain committed to exploring lawful and democratic means of getting the government to abandon this insensitive, obnoxious and regressive tax. Absolutely nothing can be more Ghanaian and progressive at this stage, than a demand that Government consider the economic challenges of the ordinary Ghanaian in rolling out taxes.

We shall continue to hold government accountable and do so in the best interest of this country at all times. Thank you.



Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku warmly welcomes NPP delegates to National Annual Conference

As the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) moves to the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi for its National annual delegates conference this weekend, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku extends his warm welcome to all delegates and party faithfuls.

“In the wake of the party converging for its important event in the life of the party in the spirit of, “our determination and commitment to Ghana’s development, I welcome all delegates and party faithful’s from far and near to the Ashanti Region”, Dr. Apraku wrote.

“I pray for travelling mercies and safety for delegates, friends and families on their journeys; “may we have a fruitful dialogue at this year’s conference”.


No show on E-Levy—Patrick Boamah

Vice chairman of the Finance Committee Yaw Patrick Boamah has said the Chairman of the Committee is yet to call for a meeting to consider the much talked about E-Levy Bill before the House goes on recess either next week Monday or Tuesday for the Christmas breaks.

Finance Minister of Ghana

According to him what the Committee did on Friday, December 17, 2021 late in the evening around 9:00pm was to meet to deal with the Appropriation Bill and set a ceiling for government expenditure.

In an interview with members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) late Friday, night the Okaikwei Central  lawmaker pointed out that both the Majority and Minority members of the Committee had agreed to go to the floor and deal with the Appropriation Bill; however,  “E-Levy is not a matter for discussion now”.

Mr. Boamah said when the chairman set a date for the consideration of the E-Levy the media would be informed about it. “We believe the E-Levy is crucial, we need to do further consultation on it”, he said.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com