The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has asked the Minority in Parliament to furnish him with documents that they are relying upon to execute the motion of censure initiated against him.
The minister’s lawyer, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, made the request Tuesday morning when the Parliamentary Ad Hoc Committee hearing the motion started its sitting.
Mr. Otchere-Darko said the rules of natural justice and fair hearing required that the accused was not only heard but was furnished with the documents that formed the basis of the allegations made against him.
He, therefore, insisted that the Minority, led by its Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, provides the documents to him and his client.
After some back and forth on the matter, the co-Chairmen, K.T. Hammond, Member of Parliament for Adansi-Asokwa and Dr. Dominic Ayine, Member of Parliament for the Bolga East ruled that the Minority presented the documents to the minister and the committee.
The documents were subsequently listed.
Debate over accounting methods
During the hearing, MP for Ajumako Enyan Esiam, Casiel Ato Forson, said one of the reasons why the country is entangled in high debt is because the finance minister has persistently hidden the true state of the economy to Parliament and Ghanaians in his budget presentations but provides accurate data to the IMF.
However, NPP MP for Sekondi Constituency in the Western Region, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, in the defence of the minister said the IMF’s former Country Representative, Dr. Albert Touna Mama, has clarified the issue before, saying the method adopted by the finance minister in his reporting of debt figures, does not necessarily mean he is misreporting.
“Indeed, the said Dr. Touna Mama was the Country Representative of the IMF. He was called to respond to allegations on misreporting of figures that the Finance Ministry had presented to IMF and he said all the figures were known by the IMF and, therefore, it was untrue that there was misreporting,” Mr. Mercer said.
Mr. Mercer said the IMF Country Director explained that the difference in figures was as a result of a difference in the methodology of calculation, adding that the figure, in fiscal deficit in their statement, was a figure the IMF generated from the data government presented to them, having added financial and energy sector payments in line with its methodology, which is different from government’s methodology.