General News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017
On the back of the Minority’s walk out of Parliament over claims of bias against the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu says the Speaker did not err in his decision to forward the motion on the AMERI deal to the House’s Mines and Energy Committee without any debate.
Mr. Mensah Bonsu further described the Minority as being in a state of confusion in the immediate run-up to the matter coming up on the floor of the House.
“What even preceded the House was that our colleagues [the Minority] were not even sure what to do… we had a pre-sitting meeting and we wanted to know from them what should be done and they said to us they would not participate in the motion.”
“Then they came to say they will raise preliminary issues against the motion if the motion got moved. So we wanted better and further clarity on what they wanted to do. Then they said well, they will participate in the debate but would not participate in the voting. So there was that confusion within their own ranks,” the Majority Leader recounted.
Eventually, on the Floor of Parliament, the Minority Speaker sought to make a submission on the motion but was prevented from doing so to the ire of the Minority, who proceeded to storm out.
“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,” the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka said to Citi News.
This notwithstanding, Mr. Mensah Bonsu was of the view that the Speaker of the House, “in his wisdom” taking into consideration the motion noting fraudulent claim, “felt the matter was too weighty to be continued so the member should go to the committee on energy and then submit what information has come to him to the Committee.”
The motion in question 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 thinking behind the referral of the motion to the Mines and Energy Committee was that this would allow the Committee to reconsider the deal since it advised Parliament to approve it in the first place in 2015, Mr. Mensah Bonsu explained.
“… so the Speaker said he [K.T. Hammond] should submit what information that he has to the committee and that they would also avail the Minister of Energy because the minister at the time had submitted documentaiotn to the committee.”
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 generator 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.