Members of Parliament (MPs) for Adjumaku/Enyan/Essiam, Forson Cassiel Ato Baah and Juaboso, Kwabena Minta Akandoh, have debunked Parliament’s assertion that the Minority has not asked any question on COVID – 19.
According to them, Parliament’s claim that the Minority lied when it said a question was asked on the expenditure of the COVID-19 relief fund was rather unfortunate.
Parliament through its Public Affairs Directorate had indicated that no question was filed by the minority on the matter.
However, responding to the Legislature on the matter during a media briefing, the two MPs claimed it was rather Parliament that lied to Ghanaians.
Backing their claim with a document titled, “Form for Notice of Question, Parliament of Ghana”, the two claimed that the MP for Juaboso, Mr Kwabena Minta Akandoh who also doubles as the Ranking Member on Health had per the form, dated March 13, 2020 posed an urgent question to the Minister for Health on what emergency preparedness and response plan the Ministry had put in place to help contain the spread of COVID–19.
The said question, according to them, also asked for the details of how the $100m announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo was going to be spent.
They maintained that the said urgent question had been endorsed by the Table Office of Parliament in charge of such issues on March 17, 2020.
According to them, in accordance with the Standing Orders of Parliament, such questions should be advertised on the Order Paper of Parliament in about 21 days after certification.
However, since the dates of filing and acknowledgement on March 13, 2020 and March 17, 2020 respectively, the question has not as yet been advertised on the Order Paper, let alone been answered by the Health Minister.
While claiming that Parliament, and for that matter the Table Office had failed to do their work well, they expressed regret that the Legislature, which is supposed to be for all, should now become an appendix to the NPP Government.
We’ll chase them
Messrs Ato Forson and Akandoh have maintained that all these notwithstanding, they would chase government to give detailed accounts of the expenditure on the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to them, prior to the lockdown, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that a $100 million facility had been procured by the Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, Minister for Finance Ken Ofori-Atta had appeared before Parliament to announce that the Ministry had sent $3.5m to the buffer stock for the purchase of grains, GH¢200m for water supply and also GH¢40m on food during the lockdown period.
However, government, according to them, had remained adamant in not accounting to Ghanaians on the expenditure pertaining to the lockdown period despite Minority’s constant call in that regard.
They alleged that to “steal from Ghanaians in times of need was just too bad”.
It was against this background that they were calling for a detailed account with regard to expenditure of the COVID-19 funds.
Mr Ato Forson stated that he will personally go to the Auditor-General to deliver a letter, demanding accountability from Government in respect of the expenditure.
On his part, Mr Akandoh opined “If you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear in times of accountability”.
He indicated that the Speaker of Parliament had charged the Parliamentary Committee on Health which he happens to be the Ranking Member to meet regularly to deliberate on issues pertaining to COVID 19 since its outbreak.
As such, it was agreed by the Committee to meet on weekly basis.
“Strangely enough, the Committee had met on only two (2) occasions, with the Minister being present on only one occasion”, he stated and “wondered why this constant dodging of the committee meetings by the Minister”.