The Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban Bagbin,has directed that the House will not deliberate on any business from the Ministry of Finance until Ken Ofori-Atta appears in person before the House to render an account on how the Covid-19 funds were expended.
The Speaker gave the directives on Thursday June 16, 2022, after the Minister failed to appear to answer a number of questions.
Most of the questions filed by MPs has to do with how the government spent the COVID-19 funds.
The questions, the Speaker said were those required answers from the Finance Minister.
But Mr Ofori-Atta has not been able to show up in Parliament to give a breakdown of the utilization of the funds.
The speaker directive followed argument by the Minority side of the House that the Finance Minister has misuses the COVID -19 funds.
They contended that the Finance Minister failure on two occasions is a mark of disrespect to the House.
But the Minority contentions were rejected by the Majority on ground that the Minister failure to appear did not constitute disrespect to parliament but rather unforeseen circumstance.
However, giving his ruling on the matter the Spear said, “Yes, last week, for good reasons, [his appearance in parliament] wasn’t possible and usually the Business Committee is given the opportunity to do the allotting. So the Minister for Finance was allotted today to come and answer a number of questions. The Minister is not available today, we are told.
“The Minister spoke to me why he is not available today but before today, I had given a directive and that directive was to the effect that the Minister should appear before this House to account for monies that we approved for him to use to lead the country as a ministry for us to see how we respond 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 how that state resources have been applied by his Ministry to the benefit of the people. I did indicate that until that is done, the motion that requested the approval of this house, for more monies to be given him, that is his ministry, for the purpose of Covid-19 be on the hold until he answers the questions, I think that still holds.
“I will go further to say that 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, given explanation, as to how that money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that ministry, mark my words,” Rt Hon Bagbin said.
The Minority in Parliament recently accused President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for failing to authorize a probe into Covid -19 spending if he has respect for the Constitution.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu while addressing the press in Parliament on Tuesday May 31 said the 1992 Constitution was premised on probity and accountability.
To that end, he said, the President must explain how the funds were utilized if he has respect for the Constitution.
“If president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has any respect for the tenets and values of accountability and transparency, then he should to authorize a pubic probe or inquiry into how the over ¢19bn Covid monies were disbursed.”
“We are further scandalized and we are calling on president Nana Akufo-Addo and reminding him that the 1992 Constitution is premised on probity and accountability and that if he has nay respect for the values and integrity let him probe Covid spending,” he added.