The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, yesterday appeared before the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee and asked the proponents of a motion seeking to remove him from office to furnish him with documents that he will rely on to execute the motion of censure initiated against him.
The lawyer for the minister, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, made the request when the committee hearing the motion started its sitting in Accra.
Mr Otchere-Darko said the rules of natural justice and fair hearing required that the accused was not only heard but was furnished with the documents that formed the bases of the allegations made against him.
He, therefore, appealed to the proponents of the motion led by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, to provide the documents to his client.
The proponents who are seeking to censure the Minister of Finance, have testified before the eight- member Adhoc Committee constituted by parliament to probe grounds on which they want the minister removed from office.
Joined by Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ejumako/Enyan/Essiam and Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, the proponents made their case when they testified before the committee in Accra yesterday.
The Minority has been pushing for the removal of the Finance Minister on grounds of conflict of interest, unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund, illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts, deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament, fiscal recklessness leading to the crash of the Ghana Cedi, incompetence and frightening ineptitude and gross mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy. On ground two – unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund, Mr Iddrisu said the Finance Minister without the authority of Parliament withdrew
GH¢142,762,500 from the fund for the construction of the National Cathedral project.
Mr Otchere-Darko, argued that any development beyond this point may amount to ambushing the embattled minister with questions that may be outside the scope of the probe.
The request was met with hesitance from the Minority, who appeared unprepared and insisted that the documents were already in the public domain and did not have to be tendered.
After back and forth on the matter, the co-Chairmen, K.T. Hammond and Dr Dominic Ayine, ruled that the Minority presented the documents to the minister and the committee.
The Minister of Finance had written prior to the hearing requesting full particulars of the allegations against him in the Minority’s motion.
On his part, the Ejumako/Enyan/Essiam, on the ground of deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament, said the figures in relation to budget deficit between 2019 and 2021 to be different from what was presented to the IMF.
The Minister of Finance, he said, saw the dangers his uncontrolled borrowing posed to economy but failed to listen to caution.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI