The Majority in Parliament has accused Speaker, Alban Bagbin of impatience for asserting the legislature is broke.
Addressing the media on Friday morning, Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh revealed that an outstanding GH₵25 million allocation for goods and services for Parliament had been released while the Speaker was telling the whole world the institution was broke.
Frank Annoh-Dompreh disclosed that the Majority Leader had already communicated with the Clerk of Parliament and the Chief Account Officer for funds to be released to the House.
According to the Nsawam-Adoagyiri MP, a little restraint from the Speaker would have been better.
“A day before Thursday, I was in touch with the Majority Leader before he left for Kumasi. He gave me a heads up in terms of what communication has gone on for the releases to Parliament and he tells me, he had appraised the Clerk of Parliament and the Chief Account Officer about it so they all had foreknowledge about the processes involved and the fact that the releases had been done.
“I am talking about GH₵25 million for outstanding goods and services to Parliament. So yesterday, when the Speaker was lamenting, indeed officially the release, had been effected and we were just going through the process…the process had kick started and it was just a matter of few hours for it to hit Parliament’s account.
“The Speaker’s statement was a bit presumptuous and with the greatest respect if he had exercised a bit of restraint I think that he may not have made that comment that Parliament is broke…it creates an image of our country and it is not too good,” he said.
The Speaker is however not taking such accusations lightly.
Speaking on the floor, Alban Bagbin took strong exception to such pronouncements including a similar one from Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu who has been granting media interviews.
Mr. Bagbin warned the Suame MP not to counter his pronouncements as a Speaker.
He explained that his revelation that Parliament was broke caused the Finance Minister to immediately release the funds yesterday.
“It is important that when the Speaker speaks from the chair, the leader of the House that is the leader of the Members of Parliament is not seen to be the one countering what the spokesperson of the arm of government says and if they want us to give documentary evidence about the funding of the House this year, we will provide them.
“So when the Leader of the House had gone on air to say that what I said is not true, it saddens me. In response to what I said yesterday, the government proceeded to release funds yesterday quickly to the House to enable the House to function. There is evidence to that and that is on record.
“I will not take the Majority Leader always going on air to counter what I say particularly when I say it on the Chair. I will not take that, I am in control here and I will continue to be in control until my term of office ends or you decide otherwise as Members to remove me as the Speaker of the House by a vote of three-quarters of Members of the House…this is enough notice to whoever thinks that he has the same authority as the Speaker,” Bagbin said.
Alban Bagbin on Thursday said Parliament is broke, and thus lacks adequate funds to run its operations.
He attributed this to the delay in the disbursement of funds by the Finance Ministry.
Addressing the House on Thursday, May 26, Mr. Bagbin cautioned the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, against treating Parliament like a Ministry or a District Assembly.
“It’s not easy. So, sometimes we see your requests for me to approve for you to do some things I had declined. It’s not because I love declining your requests; it’s because we don’t have the wherewithal to fund those operations.
“I think the Minister of Finance should not treat Parliament like a Ministry or MMDA – I will emphasise this again,” he said.
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