June 2, 2011

The Speaker of Parliament, Right Honorable Joyce Adelaide Bamford-Addo says it is about time Parliament started holding ministers in contempt for failing to appear before the House and answer questions when they are required by law to do so.

She made the remark in reaction when Minister of Education, Betty Mould-Iddrisu failed to appear before the House to answer questions.

The Majority Leader Cletus Avoka informed the House the Education Minister is part of the President’s entourage touring the Eastern Region.

But Sekondi MP Paapa Owusu Ankomah did not take it kindly, saying that ministers are doing a great disservice to Parliament and the country for failing to appear before the House.

“One of our major tools is the answering of questions promptly, timeously, but this business that we are having does not promote the work of this house and does a great disservice to the House and Madam Speaker, I’m urging you not to encourage this sort of practice.

“If government is not willing to do business, then probably we have to go and sit home,” Mr. Owusu Ankomah asserted.

This is about the third time in less than two weeks that a minister of state had failed to come to Parliament to answer questions standing in his or her name.

Due to the recurrence of this situation the Second Deputy Speaker, Prof. Mike Ocquaye raised constitutional matters which state that, Ministers who fail to appear before Parliament without tangible reasons can be cited for contempt of Parliament.

The MP for Nabdam, Hon. Moses Asaga made a passionate appeal to the Majority Leader to send the message to the Ministers to avail themselves to Parliament.

He said though Parliament respected Deputy Ministers, sometimes when the deputies were pushed to the wall, they were not able to provide all the answers

Speaker Joyce Bamford-Addo said the matter needed to be looked at closely adding, “I think it is about time we brought this to the notice of the Ministers because questions are very important matters.”

Source: Asempa FM