Cash for seat saga: Adhoc C’ttee granted one week extension

Parliament has granted a one week extension of time to the five-member Adhoc Committee probing the alleged cash for saga to submit its report to the plenary for consideration.

The extension was granted by the leadership of the House following a request tabled in by the Committee.

“Mr. Speaker, leadership is informed that the Committee has not been able to conclude their public sittings on the matter and wants an extension of time to finish the inquiry. Leadership has accordingly agreed to the request and granted them one more week. In the event, the Committee is requires to submit their report not later than Wednesday, January 31, 2018”, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu announced on the floor during Tuesday’s sitting.

The Committee was expected to submit its report to the plenary for consideration and adoption, Wednesday, January 24, 2018.

B&FT understands that the request for extension of time was spurred by the failure of the expatriates business community that graced that Ghana Expatriate Business Awards late last year.

The expatriates on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 failed to appear before the Committee chaired by Hon. Kwesi Ameyaw Cheremeh for questioning.

No reason was assigned to their action.

At least some twenty representatives from the various expatriate businesses were expected to appear before the Committee to assist with investigations into the alleged cash for seat saga.

Chairman of the Committee in a brief remarks prior to adjourning the sitting promised to re-engage the expatriates for a new date for the hearing.

Sources close to the Committee say the extension of time will afford the Committee to re-engage some of the expatriate businesses that attended the Ghana Expatriates Business Award.

On January 5, 2018, the Minority Chief Whip moved a motion at an emergency Parliamentary sitting calling on the House to investigate the alleged levies collected by the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of various sums up to US$100,000.00 from expatriate businesses and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in Accra.

According to him, the documents at his disposal clearly showed that some monies were collected from expatriates, noting that such was unethical. 

The motion was seconded by the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu debating the motion told the House that the mover of the motion himself did not sign the affidavit attached to his motion.

Apart from that 28 MPs whose names were captured in the list of 77 as having signed to the affidavit calling for the emergency sitting had no signature against their names.

Some of the Members include the Second Deputy Speaker, Hon Alban Bagbin, MP for Asunafo South, Hon. Eric Opoku, MP for Asutifi South, Collins Dauda, MP for Damongo, Adam Mutawakilu, MP for Korle Klottey, Zenator Rawlings, MP for Ablekuma South, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije and Felicia Adjei, MP for Kintampo South.

The rest are MP for Agona East, Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr, MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, and MP for Sekyere Afram Plains, Alex Adomako Mensah among others.

He told the House that based on the procedural irregularities which he considered to be gross abuse of the processes of Parliament, it was important for the Speaker to dismiss “what we have before us is incompetence”. 

However, the Speaker after listening to the debate on the issue ruled that even though there were procedural irregularities in the motion filed by the minority, the matter before the House was of grave importance.

He therefore directed the House be suspended for thirty minutes to enable the mover of the motion to correct the procedural irregularities.

But such correction was not done when the House resumed sitting.

The Speaker ruling on the matter directed that a five-member committee be set up to investigate the matter.

The five are; Majority Chief Whip, Kwesi Ameyaw Cheremeh, Chairman, MP for Adenta, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, MP for New Juabeng South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi and MP for Bolgatanga, Dominic Ayeni.

The terms of reference to committee include; 

1. When did the matter under consideration arise?

2. Can it be perceived in terms of what the lawyers normally describe as Novus Actus Intervenus – is it something new that has arisen?

3. Will the matter has been raised during the regular sitting session with prudent vigilance? 

4. Has the matter been raised in any form or whatsoever during the session and why raise it in the moment Parliament goes on recess?

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