General News of Thursday, 12 April 2018
The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs, Dr. Rashid Dramani, says recent allegations suggesting that some Members of Parliament who served in the previous administration as ministers of state, may have withdrawn double salary, further dents the image of the legislature.
The Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service, had invited some 25 minority MPs to answer questions about the said payments. The Minority, however says the CID has withdrawn the names of 18 of those invited, admitting that they were wrongly accused.
However, seven of them still stand accused and may be probed further.
Speaking to Citi News, Dr. Dramani said the issue at hand if confirmed, will be considered criminal.
He believes this issue presents another opportunity for Parliament to investigate acts of wrongdoing within the legislature.
“I think for me it is a huge embarrassment to our Parliament because I do not know anywhere in the world where somebody can get two salaries. That does not happen anywhere. There will be issues if this is not probed because our Parliament has been under severe criticism for wrongdoing over the last one and half year for all kinds of wrongdoing, and adding this to it does not help the image of Parliament at all.”
There was the suggestion that some of the MPs were paid two salaries, although an official who occupies both positions is entitled to a single wage, usually equal to the level of a Minister of State.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the minority, however noted that the CID has subsequently revised its claims, admitting that 18 of the former officials were wrongly accused.
The MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzetu Ablakwa, who spoke on Eyewitness News said he received a call and an apology from the CID.
But he could not tell what will happen to the remaining seven former officials who are yet to be cleared. He also declined to name the former ministers involved.
“At this point, it is not clear what is going to happen to them… we do not know if they [CID] will go ahead and invite them or they will be let off the hook,” Mr Ablakwa said.
The former Deputy Education Minister was also of the view that this whole episode is a witch hunt by the Akufo-Addo government.
“It is very worrying that the Criminal Investigation Department will send out these letters inviting 25 MPs and former ministers. A number as high as 18 sent in error. What is compelling the CID? What is making them rush that they can be through and can’t be diligent?”
“It is all of these needless political manoeuvring and underhand tactics which discredit our intuitions, and it is a shame that government will be dabbling in these things in an attempt to cower and intimidate us,” Mr Ablakwa said.