General News of Friday, 21 December 2018
Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee has described the conduct of Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Minority spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, as a nuisance to the committee.
According to him, the Ranking Member is beginning to show “Bad faith” in his dealings with members especially the majority on the committee.
Mr Annor-Dompreh made the statement at a press conference in Parliament in response to allegations made by Mr Ablakwa on Tuesday on issues surrounding the purchase of a building to house Ghana’s mission in Oslo, Norway.
Mr Annor-Dompreh described the accusations by Mr Ablakwa as fabrications with the intention to impute criminality against the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway and expressed indignation at the behaviour of the MP for releasing official documents on social media.
He said the MP is beginning to show bad faith in his interaction with the committee, saying “We don’t know what he is seeking to achieve” he added.
“The office of a Member of Parliament is not cheap, but our brother day in day out is cheapening this office. It’s a source of worry to some of us” he said.
Mr Annor-Dompreh also stated that he did not understand why Mr Ablakwa, who is the Ranking Member of the committee could impute criminality and corruption on the part of the Foreign Minister who he said has been cooperative and transparent on the issues of the building.
“If the Minister had an intent to defraud the state, she wouldn’t have displayed all these figures to us. The so-called 16.5 million dollars is the offeree’s offer being put on the table. It has not been accepted so it cannot become a binding agreement,” he explained.
Mr Annor-Dompreh, who referred to a recent Global Property Cities report of 2018, insisted that, the agency fee, legal fees and document registration fee among others, which the MP claimed to be illegal, are indeed legal.
“What are we doing to ourselves, the least information you have you run to the media just to paint a negative picture. What are we doing to our country. He is not respecting the Ghanaian people” and the media, because Mr Ablakwa has succeeded in confusing the local media.
Mr Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, Vice Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee also accused Mr Ablakwa of bad behaviour for leaking important information to the press.
According to him, the behaviour of the MP is unfortunate especially when the reputation of the sovereign state is at stake.
He said the Majority intends to device a means to contain Mr Ablakwa, whose conduct he said has not been helpful.
“We will manage him,” he said, adding, leaking of essential information on social media and to the press is not in the best interest of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Mr Ablakwa in responding to the Majority press conference described the Chairman of the Committee’s statement as being arrogant and that he should come off it.
He said members are not in parliament to please him or work at his whims and caprices but to do diligent work.
“If pursuing the mandate given to us fulfils the constitutional requirement of what oversight of parliament should make me a nuisance and the Chairman is not happy, then am sorry” he added.
Mr Ablakwa at an earlier press conference had called on government to conduct a full-scale probe into the purchase a property for the country’s mission in Oslo whose cost has been inflated from $3.6 million to $12 million, which he described as “unethical”.
The Minority also demanded the evidence of the Minister’s purported 12th December, letter for the suspension of the transaction as well as the responses of the parties copied in that letter.
They also demanded from government the full liabilities of the cost of the mission, suggesting that government would have proceeded to buy the apartment if the Minority had not raised the red flags over the issue.