– Cash for Prez Seat Scandal
The Minority caucus in parliament has pushed for the Speaker of Parliament to set up adhoc committee to probe the $100,000 cash-for-seat saga.
The Minority made the call when parliament was recalled from recess following an urgent motion filed by the Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Muburak Muntaka
According to Muntaka, the fees paid by the expatriates amounted to extortion and must be investigated.
The Motion reads, ” that Honourable House investigates the levy and collection by the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Ghana Cedi equivalent of various sums of Money in United States of America Dollars, from expatriate business and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriate Business Awards in Accra.”
He said, the extortion scandal is of national interest as the action has the tendency to destroy the country’s reputation in the eyes of the business community in Ghana and beyond.
In support of the motion, Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, said, the serial inconsistency from the government by both the Ministry and the Presidency was unpardonable and must be investigated.
He said, based on such and other available documents, parliament was obliged to investigate the matter has said a motion he filed requesting the Speaker to summon members of parliament.
Minority Leader, Hon Haruna Iddrisu said, the motion is of important and urged parliament to set up a five member adhoc committee to investigate the matter as it could damage the nation reputation.
However, the Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the emergency motion brought before the house by the Minority vis-à-vis the saga, is ‘incompetent’ and standing on ‘wobbly legs’ that it cannot be admitted for debate in the house.
He said it was surprising that the Minority would have the Speaker recall the house to debate an issue which was not even signed by the Minority Chief Whip who first raised the matter on the floor of the house as well as the 76 other Minority MPs who purportedly signed the memo to constitute the minimum parliamentary requirement for such a recall.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued that the Minority’s motion was fraught with “misrepresentation” and “it would be a gross abuse of the processes of this house to come and pray, to engage in correction of votes of proceedings” instead of focusing on the allegations that the presidency and the Minister of Trade of Industry extorted $100,000 from expatriate businesspeople who joined President Nana Akufo-Addo at an awards dinner late last year.
But Mr Muntaka in reacting to the Majority Leader comments said,“I signed for the recall of members, my signature is on the first page of the document.”
He added: “It is most shocking and most injurious on the Majority Leader to even imagine that what was done was wrong.
“The Majority leader thinks he is smart, I challenge him to read Article 112 properly. The constitution talks about – notwithstanding any other provision of this Article – 15 per cent of members may request a meeting of parliament and the Speaker shall, within seven days after the receipt of the request, summon the house. The request is in the memo and that is where my signature is.
“I think we have a competent motion before the house,” and called on the Speaker to set up a committee to investigate the matter.
The Speaker, Professor Mike Aaron Oquaye after listening to both side debates on the matter suspended proceeding for the procedural errors detected in the motion.
Citing legal matters the Speaker said, the motion was brought with some procedural errors and that the minority must be giving the time to correct such mistakes for the house to determine the scandal.