Civil society group, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), has petitioned President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to remove Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, “for stated misbehaviour contrary to the public procurement laws of Ghana, abuse of power and corruption.”
ASEPA avers that Prof Ocquaye unilaterally forced Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make funds available for the controversial 450-seater parliamentary chamber and selected an architect to proceed with the project even though Parliament had not concluded discussions on the matter.
Related: Intercepted letter shows Parliament notified Presidency about new chamber
Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, said he has petitioned the President to remove the Speaker “for violating the public procurement procedures of this country and for abuse of office and alleged malpractices”.
Drop that chamber
Parliament on Monday dropped a planned project to build a new and expanded chamber after a week-long public opposition.
A statement confirming the decision to discontinue the project indicated that “the [Parliamentary Services] Board, has, upon reviewing representations made to it by well-meaning Ghanaians, accordingly taken the development of the new Chamber block out of its present agenda.”
Related: Chamber will be built; if not today, it’ll be tomorrow – NPP Chairman
A cross-section of Ghanaians expressed anger on local media outlets and social media – with the hashtag ‘Drop that chamber’ – at the proposal of the chamber that was estimated to cost $200 million.
In the petition to remove the Speaker, ASEPA asked, “why did the Speaker of Parliament commence the production of the designs without any competitive tender process and the necessary approvals from the Public Procurement Authority in accordance with the PPA Act? On whose indication, Mr President, did the Finance Ministry also make budgetary allocations for the construction of this new chamber and why has money been spent on the project already, which has now been suspended following a huge public outcry?”
The petition signed Mr Thompson further stated: “Mr President, as a public accountability advocacy group, we have no shred of doubt considering the evidence available on this new chamber saga that the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, acted in bad faith, failed to consult extensively on a capital intensive project, which has now led to loss of money by the state following the suspension of the project and also breached our public procurement laws by single-handedly handpicking an architect to design the prototype for the new chamber without any tender process.”
Read the full petition below.
PETITION FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT FOR STATED MISBEHAVIOUR CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAWS OF GHANA, ABUSE OF POWER AND CORRUPTION.
I write to you, Mr President, as a Ghanaian citizen with full rights under Article 4 of the 1992 Constitution to invoke the powers of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana for the removal of the current Speaker of Parliament Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye for violating the Public Procurement Procedures of this Country and for abuse of office and alleged malpractices.
Mr President, the Speaker of Parliament as Chairman of the Parliamentary Service Board, without the necessary approvals from Parliament and the Public Procurement Authority, commenced the processes of the construction of the new chamber, independently coerced the finance minister to make budgetary allocations and also single-handedly handpicked an Architect to produce the designs for the now infamous New Chamber of Parliament (a project which your high office has now instructed to be suspended).
According to the Minority Leader, who is a member of the Parliamentary Service Board, discussions on the construction of this new project were inconclusive at the Parliamentary Service Board level.
So, if, indeed, discussions had not been finalised at the Committee level and discussions had not also commenced on the floor of Parliament, then;
Why did the Speaker of Parliament, unilaterally, write to your honourable office inviting you for a sod-cutting ceremony to be held in the last week of June 2019?
Why did the Speaker of Parliament commence the production of the designs without any competitive tender process and the necessary approvals from the Public Procurement Authority in accordance with the PPA Act?
On whose indication, Mr President, did the Finance Ministry also make budgetary allocations for the construction of this new chamber and why has money been spent on the project already, which has now been suspended following a huge public outcry?
Mr President, as a public accountability advocacy group, we have no shred of doubt considering the evidence available on this new chamber saga that the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, acted in bad faith, failed to consult extensively on a capital intensive project, which has now led to loss of money by the state following the suspension of the project and also breached our public procurement laws by single-handedly handpicking an architect to design the prototype for the new chamber without any tender process.
Mr President, this, we believe, constitutes stated misconduct and abuse of office and provides enough ground for the removal of the Speaker from office in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Mr President, we believe the position of our Constitution is clear that in such petitions, the President must act only as a conveyor belt to pass on the petition to the appropriate entity to sit on the matter and determine the validity of the ground of such invocations and, therefore, we believe that your high office will act accordingly as there are several petitions invoking the jurisdiction of Article 146 still sitting on your desk pending the necessary transfers.
This, we believe, is a clear violation of our Constitution, which you, Mr President, swore an oath on 7 January 2017 to protect and defend and our Constitution is very much clear on the consequences of the violation of the Oath of Office.
Looking forward to providing additional material evidence when called upon.
Executive Director, ASEPA
Privileges Committee, Parliament
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