Speaker summons Parliament over ‘extortion’ of expatriates

General News of Saturday, 30 December 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

2017-12-30

Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye has summoned Parliament for an emergency sitting on Friday, January 5, 2018.

Parliament is being reconvened early after the Minority wrote to the Speaker urging him to call for an emergency sitting over claims that levies were collected by the Ministry of Trade and Industry from expatriates in order for them to be allocated certain seats at the recent Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in Accra

Days after the Minority’s letter to the Speaker, a memo has been issued calling on Members of Parliament to report for sitting in the first week of January, well ahead of the expected resumption date much later in January.

The memo said, “In pursuance of article 112 (3) of the constitution of the Republic and Orders of Parliament, I Right Honourable Professor Michael Aaron Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, do hereby summon Parliament to sit on Friday, the 5th Day of January, 2018 at twelve o’clock noon, at Parliament House, Accra.”

Although the Speaker did not state the reason for the emergency call, the Acting Director of Public Affairs in Parliament, Kate Addo said that the sitting was to consider the Minority’s letter to the Speaker earlier this week.

The Minority alleged that the Trade Ministry levied some expatriates who attended the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, which had President Akufo-Addo in attendance.

According to the Minority, expatriates were charged between $25,000 and $100,000 to reserve seats at the event.

Background

The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, first made the allegation in Parliament.

Mr. Mubarak said the fees charged at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards (GEBA) were not approved by Parliament, adding that the monies were also not accounted for in the Internally Generated Funds [IGF] of the Ministry’s accounts.

The issue has further been reinforced by Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Okudzeto Ablakwa, who suffered verbal assaults from Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Carlos Ahenkorah over the matter.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has already dissociated itself from these allegations.

The Trade Ministry, in a statement, said it played no role in determining prices for seats at the event, and clarified that it only facilitated the implementation of a new initiative by the Millennium Excellence Foundation.

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