First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu has once again incurred the wrath of the Minority in parliament by throwing out their motion.

This latest motion filed by the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson prayed the House for an investigation into the expenditures made by the Ghana government, concerning the COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

The private member’s motion which was moved on Tuesday by Dr Ato Forson called on the House to constitute a bi-partisan parliamentary committee chaired by a member of the minority caucus to enquire into the expenditures made by the Akufo-Addo led government.

First Deputy Speaker

In moving the motion, the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam MP argued the government has been incoherent in accounting for the use of the funds.

“…government said they wanted us to approve for the use of what we call the Coronavirus Alleviation program 1, an amount of GHc1.2 billion. That was what this house was made to approve. But in the mid-year review that was presented to us clearly, this government spent an amount of over 8 billion cedis. This means the government spent an additional 7 billion cedis for the purposes of COVID-19 expenditures,” he said.

In support of the motion, the Minority chief whip Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak pointed out how the government has deliberately scattered information about the Covid-19 expenditure in the 2022 budget to avoid accountability.

But the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin disagreed with the motion and raised a preliminary objection amid claims it amounts to usurpation of the powers of the Auditor-General as prescribed by the constitution.

He also accused the NDC MPs of attempting to confuse Ghanaians and paint the government black and therefore requested the First Deputy Speaker to throw out the motion.

After listening to submissions from both sides of the House, the Bekwai MP ruled that the Speaker, Alban Bagbin should not have admitted the motion as everything related to the motion falls under the ambit of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which is a bi-partisan committee.

“…the matters that were called upon to set up a committee to investigate did not come under any of the select or standing committees of the house. In my view it falls squarely in the PAC, and indeed all the committees of the house including PAC are bi-partisan and PAC is designed to be chaired by the minority so, in all its folds and questions related to the PAC, if it is minded to investigate anything related to the COVID expenditure, it fully sits with the authority and the power to investigate that, particularly because all the accounting for it has been provided for in the budget which budget has been presented before the house and it is before the committee.”

“My view is that this motion ought not to be admitted as is improperly before the house,” the Bekwai MP said moments before throwing out the motion.

Source: Ekow Annan

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