Parliament demands answers on COVID -19 funds

Speaker Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has directed Parliament not to entertain any business from the Finance Ministry until the sector minister appears before it to render an account of COVID-19 funds.

The Speaker gave the directive on Thursday on the floor of the House in response to an appeal by Mr Ibrahim Ahmed, Deputy Minority Chief Whip, for the House to compel Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister to appear before it to answer questions with regards to the COVID-19 funds.

The Minister was billed to appear before the House today, Thursday, June 16, according to the Business Statement presented to the House last week Thursday.

However, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, the Majority Chief Whip, informed the House that the Minister had written to the House that his appearance is rescheduled to Wednesday, June 22.

Mr Bagbin recalled that he had earlier on (May 26, 2022) given a directive to the effect that the Minister should appear before Parliament to account for monies the House had approved for the Finance Ministry to use to lead the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of questions have been raised in respect of that, so he should come to account to the good people (of Ghana) of how that state resources have to be applied by his Ministry to the benefit of the people,” Mr Bagbin said.

The Speaker noted that he did indicate that until that was done a motion that requested the approval of the House for more monies to be given to the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of COVID-19 be on hold until the Minister responds to the questions.

“That still holds. And I will go further to say until the answer is provided until he goes through the accountability process, we will not take that motion.

“With respect to the questions, well today, he has another request before us, that will also be affected, until he comes to respond to the questions and to submit the statement giving explanations, as to how that money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that ministry. Pay attention” the Speaker stated.

“Let me say that this House can decide that we will not allow a minister to present or lay business before the House depending on the conduct of the Minister,” he said.

“……if you do not give me the due respect, if you do not see me as somebody worthy of you doing business with, I can say well, you will not have the opportunity to come before me. This is the situation in which we are in,” Speaker Bagbin remarked.

The Speaker further ruled to allow the laying of papers from the Finance Ministry and referred the same to the Finance Committee of the House.

He directed the Finance Committee not to consider the business of the Finance Ministry until the Minister fulfils the request of the House.

Speaker Bagbin also directed the Business Committee of the House to reschedule the questions for next week Wednesday, together with the outstanding business of the Minister, who would be coming to respond to the outstanding serious matter of accounting to the good people of Ghana of how the COVID-19 monies had been utilized to the benefit of the people.

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