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Censure motion hearing: Finance Minister has other issues to handle so don’t spring surprises – Gabby Otchere-Darko

Founder of Danquah Institute and member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Otchere-Darko

The lawyer for the Finance Minister in Parliament’s censure motion hearing, Gabby Otchere-Darko, has urged the Minority to stop springing surprises in the ongoing proceedings.

According to him, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has other important issues to handle, and therefore the springing of surprises will not augur well for the hearing.

Addressing the eight-member ad hoc committee on Tuesday, he explained that, there is the need for the Minority to clearly furnish the Committee with all relevant documents upon which they are seeking to pass a vote of censure against the Finance Minister.

Mr Otchere-Darko said if this is not done in a reasonable manner, he may not be able to appropriately respond to the allegations against his client, the Finance Minister.

“As we sit here, the Finance Minister of the Republic has a responsibility to be working on the budget, to be negotiating on the IMF programme that the whole country is waiting for. And if you’re going to stay here and spring surprises at every turn, Mr Chairman, that may be difficult for us”, Mr Otchere-Darko said.

Censure motion hearing: Finance Minister has other issues to handle so don't spring surprises - Gabby Otchere-Darko
Private legal practitioner, Gabby Otchere-Darko, in a brief discussion with Ken Ofori-Atta, ahead of the hearing by the Committee

In a sharp rebuttal however, one of the Minority’s representatives on the Committee hearing the basis of the censure motion against the Finance Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, expressed reservations about the comments of Mr Otchere-Darko.

According to the North Tongu legislator, the remarks by Mr Otchere-Darko undermine the importance of the Committee’s hearing, and therefore should be withdrawn.

Expressing his displeasure, he stressed that the work of the Committee is incidental to the wellbeing of Ghanaians, and as such, must be treated with respect and utmost priority.

“Some of us take strong exceptions. This is an important constitutional assignment; very important to Parliament and to the Ghanaian people. I think that such expressions, with all due respects are very condescending, as though we’re wasting their time.

It’s totally unacceptable … as if what’s happening here is some circus. With all due respect. Mr Chairman he must withdraw that. This is a very important exercise. I take strong exception to that”, Mr Ablakwa resented.

Background

Parliament is currently probing a motion for a vote of censure against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

It will be recalled that on October 25, 2022, the Minority in Parliament filed a censure motion against Mr Ken Ofori-Atta.

This coincided with a press conference by some Majority MPs, numbering around 80, to demand the removal of the Finance Minister and Minister of State in charge of Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, for their inability to manage the economy.

However, the NPP MPs, did not back the NDC MPs in their quest. According to them, although they want the Finance Minister out, they would do that on their own terms.

They insisted that the Minority had their own parochial interest.

Following this development, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin referred the Minority’s censure motion to an 8-member ad hoc committee for consideration.

He said at the committee level, the Minority will supply evidence for discussions.

He added that the Finance Minister will be given the ample opportunity to defend himself; in addition to a lawyer to defend him before the Committee.

The Speaker noted that after the process, a report will be submitted before the House for a decision to be taken.

Censure motion hearing: Finance Minister has other issues to handle so don't spring surprises - Gabby Otchere-Darko
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

‘What I can do at this time is to allow the motion to be seconded and I will give opportunity for it to be responded to by our standing orders which I can interpret. The matter will be referred to an ad hoc committee to be investigated”, he said.

After this declaration, the motion was again debated by both sides of the House and subsequently upheld.

The scheduled hearing therefore began today, November 15 at the Committee Room in Parliament.

The 8-member ad hoc committee is being co-chaired by the Adansi Asokwa MP, K.T. Hammond and Bolgatanga East MP, Dominic Ayine.

Other members of the Committee from the Minority side are: North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Klottey-Korle MP, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings and Akatsi South MP, Bernard Ahiafor.

The rest from the Majority side include: Okaikoi Central MP, Yaw Boahmah; Ashanti Akyem Central MP, Emmanuel Anyimadu-Antwi and Sekondi MP, Andrew Egyapa Mercer.

The Committee has seven days to submit their report to Parliament for onward deliberations.

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[Source: MyJoyOnline.com]

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