July 29, 2011

NPP Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South and a member of the Finance Committee in Parliament, Samuel Atta Akyea, is asking government to provide a pro forma invoice which spells out the specifics regarding the amount of money to be expended on the acquisition of five jets including an Embraer 190 aircraft meant for the military.

He believes the submission of the pro forma invoice to Parliament will end the hullabaloo surrounding the purchase of the 5 aircraft and perhaps silence the Minority who believe the agreement is laced with corruption.

“…If you want to buy a gadget and you are trying to find the money, you are entitled to a pro forma invoice. With this the additional will be understood since it will indicate the various prices. This is simple and it is going to help in resting this matter. We can put this matter to rest if a pro forma invoice is submitted to parliament for everyone to understand…,” he said in an interview with Suhini Alhassan on Radio Gold.

However, in a quick rebuttal on the same platform, a Deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, described the NPP MP’s statement as an indictment on parliamentarians. To him, Hon. Atta Akyea and his colleagues on the Minority side should have asked for these basics in parliament.

“He asking for the basics is an indication that Members of Parliament don’t ask the necessary questions in Parliament. It means…they don’t ask to see the basics…I think this is a self-indictment and the reduction of our politics to a very low partisan level. I am not too sure if this is a request we are going to honour…,” the Deputy Information Minister said.

According to him, no responsible government puts out matters of national security in the public domain and questioned why the Minority failed to bring up these issues at the committee level.

“…they could have asked for all these things at the committee level but beyond that there is no responsible country, anywhere in the world that publishes invoices of military transactions especially if it will spell out all the features of the facility. If this is done, it will inform our enemies in case of attack…Hon. Atta Akyea can meet with the Defence committee and share documents secretly, but we are not going to publish all of these details out there for the whole world to see, that will be very irresponsible on our part…,” Okudjeto added.

But Hon Atta Akyea sharply disagrees.

“What prevents Mr. Okudjeto Ablakwa from bringing the actual invoice from the manufacturer which will silence everybody? What is preventing that? Even if the opposition has lied, can’t the manufacturer come out to say this is the basic price and here is the pro forma invoice? This…should not be like a hide and seek affair. It is of public interest…there is nothing special about publishing the prices of the basics. What goes into the military technicalities and gadgets is what could be hidden. So if you get the basics right then you will shut up anyone who will say that the prices have been inflated…,” the Abuakwa South MP said.

The Minority in Parliament only last week approved the purchase of four other aircraft but abstained from approving the purchase agreement of the Embraer 190 raising doubts about the credibility of the $105 million aircraft.

But the Majority side, convinced about the sanctity of the deal, went ahead to approve it and its members have since not missed the opportunity to defend the necessity of purchasing the five aircraft.

Source: Peacefmonline.com