The censure motion moved by the Minority caucus in Parliament seeking to have the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, removed from office has failed.
It followed the decision by the Majority Caucus to stage a walkout after the debate on the motion was concluded.
By that decision, the Minority did not get the required numbers, two-thirds of the 275 MPs, to be successful in their attempt to get the minister exit office.
Pursuant to Article 82(1) of the 1992 Constitution, 184 ‘Yes’ votes in suppoort of the motion was needed to remove Mr Ofori-Atta from office.
After participating in the debate following the presentation of the report of the eight-member Adhoc Committee constituted to probe the seven grounds for which the proponents of the motion want the minister removed, the Majority, led by Suame MP, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, like the biblical Pontius Pilate, “washed their hands off” the motion and walked out just before the vote took place.
Determined to ensure that parliamentary records reflected their resolve, the Minority went ahead to cast their votes secretly for posterity.
At the end of the voting, 136 ‘Yes’ votes supported the motion for the minister to be shown the exit to zero for the ‘No’ votes.
Moving the motion earlier, the Co-Chair of the Committee and MP for Adansi Asokwa, Kobina Tahiru Hammond said the Committee was unable to make a recommendation because it is not a fact-finding committee.
He said the report only captured the evidence alluded by the proponents and the defence of the minister of finance.
But Dr Dominic Ayine, the Co-Chair and MP for Bolgatanga East, said in as much as the Committee was not a fact-finding one, it established “misconduct” on the part of the minister.
He said per the minister’s testimony before the Committee, he exceeded appropriation, misreported economic data to Parliament and was fiscally reckless.
“The Committee has found unassilable evidence of misconduct on the part of the minister. Even if the minister was exonerated on some grounds, it has found that the minister misconducted himself with respect to a lot of grounds,” Dr Ayine, a former Deputy Attorney-General stated.
To the defence of the minister, the Deputy Majority Leader and MP for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said the motion was nothing but a tool by the Minority to achieve a political agenda.
“All your allegations have no leg to stand. They are built on silt. Mr Speaker, should we proceed to vote on this matter, we will be setting a bad precedence which will come to haunt us one day.
“The Minister has not been indicted in anyway. An invitation as dangerous as this will lead us into a valley that we may never be rescued. If we follow such a dangerous path, the politics of this country will be condescending to a level that it would be unattractive to any person who desires to serve his nation,” Afenyo-Markin submitted and served notice that they won’t support the motion.
The Minority Leader and MP for Tamale South, Haruna Iddrisu, one of the proponents of the censureship motion urged his colleagues on the opposite side to stand firm with them to bid Mr Ofori-Atta farewell from the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo led government.
He said if the House did so, “other ministers would sit up and know that there is a watchman called parliament that if you betray the trust of the people, they would be held accountable. To you aspiring ministers in a future John Mahama government, the same thing will apply to you.”
Mr Ofori-Atta, in his defence, said he has done nothing wrong to be subjected to a motion of censure and that he has done nothing amiss.
“Even if I said I am innocent, they will not believe me and if I ask for proof, they will not be able to answer that. I have committed no crime,” he stressed.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI