Minority unhappy about delay in release of annual report on presidential staff

The Minority is unhappy about what it says is the habitual delay by the government in releasing the annual report on the staff at the presidency in line with the Presidential Office Act, 1993. 

According to the caucus, the delay in furnishing parliament with the report by the President undermines the authority of the legislature.

Per the Act, the President is mandated to furnish the House with the list within the first quarter of every year. 

Section 11 of the Act stipulates that “The President shall within three months after the end of each financial year submit to Parliament an annual report containing the following information — the number of presidential staff employed at the Office; the rank or grade of such staff; and employees in the other public services assigned to the Office.” 

Member of Parliament for North Tongu and Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel OkudzetoAblakwa, who raised the issue on the floor of the House yesterday, said the President had breached the provisions of the Act. 

MrAblakwa said, the President must be a worthy ambassador to the rule of law and not to be seen doing otherwise.

 “Virtually every year, the president is in breach of this provision and I have to be screaming and crying and yelling before the Presidency will comply.

“That it is unbecoming of a President who likes to project himself as a paragon of the rule of law to be violating the laws of our country in this violent manner.

“We cannot accept this as a House. If this delay continues, it undermines the authority of this institution. Today is April 1 and notice must be served that the House will not accept a further breach of the Act,” MrAblakwa who has in the past demanded for the list said. 

But the Majority Leader and Member for Effutu, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, who took offence to MrAblakwa’s description of the President, demanded a retraction and an apology, leading to tempers flaring. 

“I will encourage my colleague to make his point without attempting to attack the integrity of the President. You cannot say that about the President of the republic. You must be courteous in your language about the President. 

“We as parliamentarians must know the appropriate words to use and the words he used in describing the President is unacceptable,” he admonished. 

He said there were legal tools available to MrAblakwa, including filing questions to get the relevant agency to explain why the delay in releasing the list. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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