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Ofori-Atta And MP’s Attend Post Budget Workshop In Ho-CHECK DETAILS.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) baying for the blood of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, over the weekend spent time with him at the Volta Serene Hotel in Volta Regional capital, Ho discussing details of the 2023 Budget and Economic Policy, he presented to the country last week Thursday.

The event was graced by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, the Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, as well as the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

It had some members of the Ad-hoc Committee set up by Parliament to probe the censure motion against him.

Also present were some of the 95 MPs from the New Patriotic Party (NPP), who have asked the President to sack Mr Ofori-Atta from the government for non-performance and economic mismanagement.

The two-day post budget workshop took place ahead of the debate on the budget which is expected to start this week in parliament. Those present described the event as very friendly and interactive.

The MPs, particularly those from the NPP side of the House had, ahead of the budget presentation, threatened they were going to boycott the session.

They had to be prevailed upon by the presidency and the leadership of their party and Majority side not to absent themselves.

A joint statement had to be signed and released by the NPP General Secretary, Justin Fripong Koduah and the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, who doubles as MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, to confirm that the NPP MPs were going to be in the House.

The 8-member Ad-hoc Committee set up by Parliament to probe the Minority censure motion against the Finance Minister, is said to have laid its report before the House coming a week after the committee concluded its work.

The Committee was given a seven-day mandate to present their findings for it to be debated in the House.

Haruna Iddrisu and Ato Forson, appeared before the committee co-chaired by KT Hammonnd of Adansi-Asokwa constituency in the Ashanti Region and Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, the Bolgatanga East Constituency in the Upper East Region, to allege among other conflict of interest, incompetence, mismanagement and diversion of state funds into unauthorized accounts.

Speaking to JoyNews after the presentation, Member of the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, expressed disappointment about the slow pace in dealing with the committee’s report and taking a final decision on the Finance Minister.

“I was unhappy about the laissez-faire attitude …the heart of this issue is that Article 82 has been triggered. It says that during the debate, the Minister facing a vote of censure must be heard and that has been done. I thought that in the Business Statement for next week, it would have been programmed specifically and clearly, so that we will have a day set aside for the debate,” he said.

According to him, the more time given to the Finance Minister to stay in office, brings about further hardships.

“We have to get on with the assignment, let us complete it, let us table this to have the vote for Ghanaians to know where their MPs stand,” he said.

The North Tongu MP, also extended an invitation to NPP MPs to join them to remove the Finance Minister, warning that MPs, would have abdicated their responsibility if Mr Ofori-Atta remains in office.

“I hope that we meet the two-thirds threshold if only our colleagues at the other side will just show some principles and consistency…,” he said.

“To the extent that he doesn’t want to resign and the President does not want to dismiss him, the onus is on us MPs and I do hope that my colleagues will value public opinion, will respect the will of the people and will remember that it is the Ghanaian people who elected us and brought us here, and we must at all times reflect what they expect,” Mr Ablakwa added.

Meanwhile, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has been reported in the media, revealing how President Akufo-Addo’s brother, Bumpty Akufo-Addo and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, called him to shoot down the censure motion against Ken Ofori-Atta.

According to him, the two had called him to discuss the censure motion by the minority against the finance minister and he assured them that he will be able to handle it.

He said, even though Gabby failed to call him via his phone, but rather through that of his deputy, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, he assured them he will be able to knock it down.

“I don’t know what Gabby Otchere-Darko holds against me, I was in parliament when he (Gabby) called with Akufo-Addo’s brother Bumpty and we spoke. For whatever reason, he didn’t call me on my phone but through my Deputy leader’s phone and I spoke to them about what I was doing to manage what we had. So, I told them to leave that to me and told them I know how to manage it because I knew the NDC censure, I think technically we can knock it down, so he should allow me to handle it.”

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, was speaking in a recent interview with Kumasi-based Sompa FM, where he expressed anger over some allegations leveled against him by Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.

According to the Member of Parliament for Suame, Mr Otchere-Darko, has wrongly accused him of being the mastermind behind some NPP MPs demanding the sacking of Ken Ofori-Atta.

“From nowhere, we hear Gabby Otchere-Darko on his Asaase Radio station accusing me of instigating what was happening, [but] for what? What do I stand to gain from that?” he retorted.

The majority leader, questioned the authority of the finance minister’s cousin for levelling such allegations against him.

“There are people who would rather want to cause disintegration, while you are committed to integrating. But now this has brought about another sense of anger. That Gabby Otchere-Darko—who does he think he is? I serve Akufo-Addo, and I serve the party, as well as the government… when we talk about the government itself, what is your locus to be accusing me of being an instigator?” the majority leader questioned.

The majority leader, noted that it rather took his intervention to instill calm, when a group of MPs made public demands for the dismissal of the finance minister.

Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who also doubles as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, further accused Gabby of sponsoring a contestant against him in the 2016 primaries of the NPP, noting that he failed in his agenda.

“You (Gabby) are the same person who wrote something for someone to publish on his radio station that I will lose if I contest for re-election, hence my saying that I will not contest again. Gabby Otchere-Darko, have you contested an election before? They are the same people who sponsored people to contest against me in 2016, it didn’t work for them.”

According to the majority leader, Gabby Otchere-Darko, accused him of instigating calls for the finance minister’s sack, just so the leader of government business in parliament, can be considered as a replacement for the underfire Ken Ofori-Atta.

But according to Gabby, he has never made any such allegations against the majority leader.

“I have listened to excerpts of the interview of Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, on Sompa Radio, claiming “I had gone on Asaase Radio to allege that he was the ringleader behind the NPP MPs calling for the resignation of the Finance Minister…

“I have since sent him a message on this, denying same. But, I consider it necessary to also put my side out publicly.

“I have said no such thing on Asaase Radio or any other radio station or media house, whether on-air, online, or in print, either directly or indirectly. Indeed, my position, so far, on this issue in Parliament within the Majority Caucus, has been to deliberately stay away from commenting on it publicly,” Gabby Otchere-Darko stated categorically on November 15.

Source: Herald

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Joseph Sackey

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