Minister escapes contempt of Parliament

THE Minister of Water Resources, Works and  Housing, narrowly escaped contempt of Parliament when he failed to provide answers to the House on the state of the Tanoso Head Works, which was damaged by a vehicle early this year.

The Deputy Minister, Vincent Oppong-Asamoah, who represented the substantive minister, Alhaji Collins Dauda, could not readily furnish the House with  information on the measures the ministry had put in place to repair the plant.

The minister was scheduled to respond to an urgent question by the MP for Offinso North, Augustine Collins Ntim, on the efforts the ministry was making to repair the Water Head Works.

Mr. Oppong-Asamoah said he could not provide answers because the technicians responsible for the repairs had not yet provided any information to the ministry.

The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, quoted Order 28 of the Standing Orders of the House, and nearly charged the minister and his deputy for  contempt of Parliament for failing to provide answers to the House.

According to the Speaker, the House, about six weeks ago, summoned the minister to appear before it to provide answers on the damaged plant and added that the minister had no excuse for failing to do so, because the notice reached him over a month ago.

He gave the minister and his deputy up to Friday to appear before the House to brief members about  the state of the plant.

Standing Order 28 states that “an act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its function or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result, shall be contempt of Parliament”.

Mr. Adjaho warned he would have no other alternative than to apply Order 28 on ministers who fail to provide answers to the House on issues concerning their ministries, when invited to do so.

He cautioned that he would charge any minister who fails to provide answers to questions with contempt of Parliament and refer him/her to the appropriate committee of the House.

“That is the only way Parliament can be relevant to the aspirations of the good people of this country. If you continue this way, we cannot get business completed in any particular time. This is the last chance I am giving  the ministers,” he stressed.

The Tanoso Water Head Works got damaged early this year when a Burkina Faso bound cargo truck, loaded with logs reportedly expericenced a brake failure while descending a hill and damaged the main pipelines linking the communities which benefit from it.

This has caused an acute water shortage in the Techiman municipality in the Brong-Ahafo Region and such towns and villages in the Ashanti Region as Akomadan and Afrancho.   By Yaw Kyei



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