General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
The Minority in Parliament stormed out of Parliament on Tuesday over the Speaker’s decision to forward the motion to withdraw the 2015 AMERI deal to the House’s Energy Committee.
Indicating his displeasure to Citi News, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka said, “this is the first time in my whole life in Parliament that I am seeing that a motion, when it is just moved and seconded, is referred to a committee.”
He explained that the Minority felt they were being stifled and disrespected by the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye by being stripped of a voice on the AMERI motion.
“We left because we thought that he[The Speaker] should have allowed our leader to exhaust the case that he was making because he was citing Supreme Court rulings but he wouldn’t let that happen.”
“You see, we keep talking about the gagging but people don’t understand because it is not for nothing that the Minority Leader stands. It is because the Minority have reasons to speak and if you do everything to prevent them from speaking, you make the House very difficult to govern.”
‘We are not small boys’
The Minority Chief Whip insisted that his side would not stand to be treated as “small boys” and would continue to “fight” if the disrespect continued.
“We don’t want to look as if we are just complaining and complaining but one thing we shall assure Mr. Speaker is that we shall continue to fight until he understands that this is a House that every member must be given space.”
Previous accusations of bias were made on July 28, when the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu protested what he called a deliberate attempt by the Speaker to prevent his side from thoroughly probing government’s ‘Planting for food and jobs’ programme.
The motion in question today was filed by K.T. Hammond, who was the ranking member of the Energy Committee of Parliament in 2015 when the deal was approved, seeks to reverse the decision.
The John Mahama administration in 2015 signed a contract with Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group’s (AMERI Energy) to rent the 300MW of emergency power from AMERI at the peak of the country’s power crisis.
The power agreement with UAE-based AMERI Energy deal cost 510m.
It later emerged that the government had been shortchanged by AMERI as they presented an overpriced budget and government overpaid by $150 million.