A motion by the Minority caucus to have Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, removed from office has been triggered.
The motion, in the name of the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, and 128 other MPs, was advertised for the first time pursuant to Article 82(2) (a).
The constitution provides that a motion for the resolution of the House to pass a vote of censure on a minister “shall not be moved in Parliament unless…seven days’ notice has been given of the motion.”
The advertised motion cited seven reasons – conflict of interest, unconstitutional withdrawal from the consolidated fund, illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts, fiscal recklessness, deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament, incompetence and gross mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy – why the Minister of Finance should be removed from office.
Objecting to the format of the motion, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, said the motion “is defective and does not reflect a clearer position as intended by the constitution and rules of this House”.
In the opinion of Mr Afenyo-Markin, MP, Effutu, “it is only the motion which is to be advertised. The facts upon which the applicants relied on, cannot, as it is advertised, to be embeded in the motion paper”.
Reminding the House that “we are in a political space”, the Deputy Majority Leader said looking at how the reasons for the intended action has been couched, the (Finance Minister) has been condemned long before he is heard with allegations and not facts”.
He wanted the Minority to make their supporting facts available for the minister to adequately respond in the spirit of fair hearing.
“You don’t only advertise your allegation and say that you will spring a surprise on the day of the debate. Bring your facts, make it available to the minister so that he can be sufficiently prepared to respond,” he argued.
If allowed to stand, he said the notice could be a bad precedence for the House. “It is somebody today, it could be us tomorrow but we must all have fair hearing.”
But the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, defending the language of the motion said he was expecting the Deputy Majority Leader to announce his side joining hands with the Minority than the opposition he had mounted to the notice.
Mr Iddrisu, who is also the MP for Tamale South said the Minority would provide the necessary evidence to prove beyond doubt that the finance minister has breached the constitution and must be given a sack.
He said what the Minority had done was to give the minister and the world the headlines of the matters to which “we will lead with evidence. Our evidence will be beyond doubt. Wait for the facts on the day of the debate,” Haruna Iddrisu said.
He said the Speaker was within the remit of the constitution by admitting the motion and that they were bent on invoking the provisions of the supreme law to move a motion of censure on the minister of finance.
Giving his ruling on the matter after a five-minute break, the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, said Mr Afenyo-Markin has genuine concerns which have been taken into consideration before the motion was admitted.
“When I received the motion as drafted and submitted to me, I went through not only the constitution but our Standing Orders and had to deeply consider some of the issues you have raised and came to the conclusion that the motion was properly drafted.
“I also sat with both the Majority and Minority Leaders on this matter. We discussed it before I admitted it. So when you read the constitution properly and our Standing Orders, you’ll see that no error has been made,” the Speaker ruled.
He said by virtue of the notice, the finance minister has been given head-up on the matter.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI