General News of Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Majority Leader, Alban Sumana Bagbin, has accused the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) of engaging in partisan politics over the controversial AMERI power deal.
Speaking to Class FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, Mr Bagbin said the approval process for the deal was done meticulously and questioned the rationale behind questions raised by the NPP about the deal when its parliamentarians helped to pass it unanimously.
The longest-serving lawmaker said they saw nothing wrong with the AMERI agreement.
In his words: “I think the NPP did not properly consider the issue because the AMERI agreement was approved by parliament so we rather took the decision. It is not government that approved, it is government that proposed that to solve the energy crisis, we were going to do 1, 2, 3 including the AMERI agreement and these were brought to parliament and parliament approved it after thorough investigation”.
He said if the NPP has found anything wrong with the AMERI agreement, they have to present that to parliament for the House to look at it, but they cannot just make a general call for parliament to conduct a probe into what the legislators have approved.
According to Mr Bagbin, if the NPP has fresh evidence about the AMERI agreement, the party has to put it across parliament and if “there is the need for us to reconsider it, we will do so”.
The Nadowli-Kaleo legislator said the NPP should have consulted its MPs before lunging at the government because almost all the party’s criticisms are without evidence, and that is why it is usually not good to politicise “some of these national issues”.
Mr Bagbin emphasised that politicising the AMERI agreement is the NPP’s strategy of diverting media attention from its troubles. “So, you bring some of these things and the media will now start talking about AMERI and forget about the ills of the party”.
“It was brought to parliament, it was laid in parliament on the 3rd of March, 2015 and we finally took a look at it around 20th March so it was [not rushed through]. I was surprised to hear some of the members of NPP, who are MPs saying that it was rushed through parliament. I was surprised. Something laid on the 3rd considered on the 20th and that means it has been rushed through parliament? I was really surprised,” he said.
Mr. Bagbin debunked the assertion that the agreement was debated for just five minutes on the floor of parliament. “No, no, no, no, no!” he said. “Usually the work of parliament is mostly done at the committee level and so when the committee does a good job, and they present a report and there are no issues to be debated, we just accept it, especially when the committee recommends that it was unanimous in its decision. So, if you have unanimity, what is there for you to debate again and discuss?” he asked.
“So when they present the report and we go through it and we see that there is nothing left to debate, we just approve it. So, the NPP is basically playing a political game. There is nothing to convince me that parliament did not do due diligence before passing the AMERI deal, I believe that the committee did a thorough job, I believe that they contacted all the agencies involved.”