Cash for seat saga: Muntaka, Ablakwa abused due process – Speaker

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, is furious about the unsubstantiated allegations levelled against the Ministry of Trade and Industry by the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa for selling seats at the Ghana Expatriate Business Awards.

On January 5, 2018, Hon. Muntaka moved a motion at an emergency Parliamentary sitting calling on the House to investigate the levy and collection by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of various sums of money up to US$100,000.00 from expatriate businesses and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards in Accra.

According to him, some documents at his disposal clearly showed that some monies were collected from expatriates, noting that such was unethical.

The motion was seconded by the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu debating the motion told the House that the mover of the motion himself did not sign the affidavit attached to his motion.

Apart from that 28 MPs whose names were captured in the list of 77 as having signed the affidavit calling for the emergency sitting had no signature against their names.

He told the House that based on the procedural irregularities which he considered to be gross abuse of the processes of Parliament, it was important for the Speaker to dismiss “what we have before us is incompetence”.

The Speaker having listened to the various arguments advanced by members directed that a five-member Adhoc Committee be set up to probe the matter and report to the House accordingly.

The five are; Majority Chief Whip, Kwesi Ameyaw Cheremeh, Chairman, MP for Adenta, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, MP for New Juabeng South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi and MP for Bolgatanga, Dominic Ayeni.

It was to investigate how payments were disbursed and whether the disbursements offended any laws.

It was to also investigate when the matter arose, whether it could be perceived to be something new that has arisen, whether the matter could have been raised during the regular sitting and also whether the matter had been raised during the last session.

The Committee was directed to submit its report on January 24, 2018.

But the submission of the report was extended twice partly due to the absence of the expatriate businesses and last minute split of the Committee.

At the presentation of the Committee’s report, Tuesday, Hon. Ameyaw Cheremeh told members that there was no merit in the allegation levelled against the Trade and Industry Ministry.

The Speaker, having listened to the evidence submitted before the House ruled that the allegation levelled against the Trade Ministry by the duo was just an abuse of due process of Parliament’s oversight responsibility.

“An allegation should not simply be thrown into the air and ask Parliament to investigate. They must be substantial and not an abuse of due process”, he noted.

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