PAC to subpoena, cause arrest of un-cooperating witnesses

By
Benjamin Mensah, GNA

Accra, Jan 14, GNA –
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Tuesday warned that it
would subpoena persons who refuse to honour its invitation to answer
infractions on the audited accounts of state entities, and cause the arrest of
witnesses who lie to the committee.

“The Police Station
is just here; and we’ll make use of the police to arrest any witness who comes
here and tell lies to the Committee,” Dr James Klutse Avedzi, the Chairman of
the Committee and MP for Ketu North, with hands raised and pointing to the
direction of Parliament’s Police Station, said.

He later told
journalists, in an, interview, at the close of PAC hearing, at the Parliament
House, in Osu, Accra, that the Committee would invoke the powers given it to
suspend, reprimand or cause the dismissal of a public official who defaults
honouring its invitation.

With reference to
Article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Dr Avedzi reminded witnesses
before the Committee, or those invited to give evidence that it is
constitutionally empowered to carry out investigation and enquiry into the
activities and administration of ministries and departments as parliament may
determine.

Earlier, the PAC
Chairman indicated his displeasure at responses which he considered not to be
truthful from Mrs Mercy Quansah, Coordinating Director of Weija/Gbawe,
representing Ga South Municipality, over the absence of Mr Patrick Kumor, the
Chief Executive of Ga South Municipality, invited by the Committee to answer
infractions cited in the Auditor General Report for 2015 and 2016.

The PAC Committee
Chairman indicated that letters for the invitation were sent with dispatch and
early enough to the respondent institution.

Among the
infractions cited were; non-prudent use of an amount of GHC49, 073 from the
MP’s Common Fund, and irregularities in the payment of payment contract sums
for some drainage works in the municipality.

Mrs Quansah told the
Committee that Mr Kumor would not be present at the hearing because he was
attending the ‘Results Fair’ at the invitation of President Nana Akufo-Addo, at
Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), which was near the Parliament
House.

Dr Avedzi then
directed that a phone call was made through to Mr Kumor to be present.

Committee Chairman
Dr Avedzi then asked that Ga South Municipal Assembly to take a back seat, and
invited respondents from Ga Central and Ningo-Prampram Assemblies to give
evidence.

After the two groups
had given evidence, and the Ga South Team was recalled, and the hearing had
begun, Mrs Quansah told the Committee that Mr Kumor had set off.

But after sometime,
that she had given evidence, the Committee wanted to know why Mr Kumor was
still not available despite some of the questions requiring that he provided
the answers.

Mrs Quansah
responded that Mr Kumor was held in traffic.

The Committee, not
satisfied with some of the answers from Mrs Quansah, emphasised that the MCE
was supposed to be there.

“Where is the MCE?,
the Chairman queried, and indicated that the behaviuor of the MCE and the
Coordinating Director made it appear as if they were not taking the Committee
serious.

Dr Avedzi threatened
to invite the Police, to sit in subsequent hearings, monitor and arrest
witnesses who did not appear truthful.

“It appears you have
intentionally lied to us,” he said, to which Mrs Quansah responded, “I’m really
not impressed speaking for him, knowing very well what he told me.”

GNA

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