General News of Thursday, 1 September 2016
The Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho has dismissed a motion submitted by the Minority in Parliament requesting the House to investigate the gift of Ford Expedition to President John Mahama.
In a motion dated August 3, 2016, the Minority requested that Parliamentarians are recalled from recess to constitute a special Parliamentary Committee to investigate the following:
1. Whether the President of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama received a Ford Expedition Vehicle from a Burkinabe Contractor.
2. Whether the Ford Expedition Vehicle received by the President infringes any law of Ghana.
3. Whether the Ford Expedition Vehicle donated to the President infringes his own code of conduct.
4. Any other matter relevant to the above subject.
But when the house reconvened on Thursday September 1, 2016, the Speaker who addressed the legislators for about 15 minutes on the motion rejected it and adjourned the house sine die amidst shouts of “shame!” from the Minority.
Stating the reason for his inability to admit the motion, Mr. Adjaho said he first enquired if the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) was investigating the same matter following media publication on it.
He observed that the Clerk of Parliament pursue the matter and confirmed from CHRAJ that it has received three separate complaints on it and the matter was under investigation.
“After carefully studying the correspondence from CHRAJ, I have come to the conclusion that the issue here is not different, in material particular, from the matter under investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative justice,” he said.
The Speaker pointed out that the Supreme Court has made a number of pronouncements with regards to Chapter 24 of the constitution dealing with code of conducts of the president and other public officers.
He made reference to the case involving Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr. Edward Omane Boamah versus Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and Attorney General in which the Supreme Court dismissed a motion by the plaintiffs that Jake used cronyism, capricious, arbitrary, conflict of interest and gross discretionary power to obtain a government property.
Unable to admit motion
Pointing to how these judgments are binding on Parliament, Mr. Doe Adjaho said: “As Speaker of this House, I am of firm conviction that constitutional bodies must respect each other in the performance of their duties in order to avoid role conflicts… “I am therefore unable to admit this motion; I hereby direct the Clerk to return the motion to the member in whose name it stands in line with Standing Order 79(4).
“Honourable members, since this is the matter that has brought us here, I adjourn the House sine die.” Amidst protest, the obviously dissatisfied Minority registered their disapproval shouting repeatedly “shame, shame”.
But the MP for Wa Central Rashid Pelpuo later told the media the whole things was a “flop process [initiated] by a failed group…who didn’t know what they are about.”
The General Secretary of the governing NDC who was in Parliament monitoring event applauded the Speaker for his firm decision: “It is the way of the law: rule of the law means we should follow the law, and I happy the Speaker followed the law.”
He described the motion as “totally unnecessary duplication” that the Minority were hoping to use to “fabricate” issues and make the government look bad. The Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Emmanuel Kyeremateng Agyarko strongly disagreed with the Speaker and said he was “disappointed” about how the motion was dismissed.
The Minority also held a press conference minutes after the House adjourned to condemning the dismissal of the motion signed by over 100 MPs and presented on their behalf by the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.