Sitting on the controversial cash-for-seat emergency meeting in Parliament has begun amidst tension and drama.
Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak whose petition occasioned the emergency sitting, is up on his feet to move the motion on the floor.He gives the background of the saga and accuses the Trades Ministry of breaching many of the financial regulations.
Point of Order!
Old Tafo MP Anthony Akoto Osei is up on his feet with point of order. Speaker grants him the audience. Akoto Osei accuses Muntaka of misleading the house by quoting a non-existent law.
Muntaka concedes and moves on with his motion. He says the cash-for-seat scandal is of public interest and quoted what he says were contradictions by the ministry on the same matter. He argues given the contradictions and the importance of the matter, Parliament must be allowed to look into the matter. He moves the motion.
Speaker calls for the motion to be seconded.
North Tongu MP Okudzeto Ablakwa rises to second the motion. In all-white apparel, he begins with his secondment. He says Parliament has an obligation to the people they serve and the country to carry out oversight responsibility over the executive. He adds the call for an emergency sitting is to satisfy requirements of Article 103 of the constitution and Standing Orders of the house. He says the Cash for seat saga, satisfies the criteria of public importance and must be looked into. It is a matter that significant sections of society, including anti-graft agencies, CDD, have all called for a probe into the matter.
Point of Order!
There is another point of order call. A majority MP comes under Order 86 of the Standing Orders and says under that regulation, the North Tongu MP was only to second the motion but not to go into the debating the merits of the issue.
Point of Order dismissed.
Speaker says even though Okudzeto is seconding, he has to give reasons why he is seconding. He calls on Okudzeto to carry on.
“May you live long” Okudzeto showers praises and continues with his submissions. He continues with his reasons and finally takes his seat.
Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu in summing up the motion of his side quotes order 191. He says the House has the power to constitute a Special ad-hoc committee to investigate any matter of public importance by the highest office of the land. He wants a five member adhoc committee to be set up to investigate the matter. "Values and principles are timeless." He says Parliament must combine its oversight and investigative roles and wants the House to determine the extent to which the Trades minister violated sections of financial regulations.
Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu is up. He says ordinarily a motion pertaining to extortion of funds must be supported except that the resort by colleagues amount to gross abuse of the house. He says even though the matter is of public importance he finds it interesting that Members will now be called from recess to deal with the matter because it played out before Parliament went on recess. “No question was submitted which you (Speaker) refused to accept; neither was a motion submitted or a statement made which this house refused to accept.
Point of Order!
Minority Leader rises to a point of order. He says the Majority Leader has no business to question the Speaker’s decision to allow the motion.
Point or Order dismissed
Speaker dismisses the Minority Leader and allows Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu to continue with his submission.
He quotes parts of the memo submitted by the Minority which says “We the undersigned members of parliament” but says the memo have no signatures of the huge chunk of the petitioners. No one has submitted any petition which means there is nothing before the Speaker he says. “It is a case of misrepresentation.” When he says he has appended his signature but there is no signature. He names some Minority members of the House who claimed to have appended their signatures to the petition but they have not. “This is the gross abuse of the house. The young indeed shall grow,” he jabs.
The motion before us has nothing to do with extortion. So indeed in conclusion, what we have in this house is a very incompetent motion which cannot stand; certainly not on this wobbly legs, Majority Leader fires.
It is most shocking and disingenuous to say what was done was wrong. "Majority Leader thinks he is smart," he fires. He directs Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu to read sections of the constitution and argues that the motion is competently filed.
Minority Leader wades into the argument. He vehemently backs the argument of his colleague insisting that they followed due process in filing the motion. He counts a number a number of signatories on the petition and justifies the procedure used in filing the motion.
Majority Leader insists the motion was incompetently filed and invites the Speaker to rule on the matter.
Speaker rules in favour of the majority but with a condition that the minority rectifies what he refers to as "procedural irregularity." He adjourns sitting for 30 minutes to allow for the minority to correct the anomaly so sitting will continue.
After almost two hours break Parliament resumes sitting on the matter.
Speaker takes his seat and invites Minority to comment. The Minority challenges ruling of speaker and returns with a decision not to correct the error as pointed out by the Speaker before break.
Speaker nonetheless ignores the position of the Minority and constitutes a 5-member committee to probe the matter. The members of the committee are Ameyaw Kyeremeh (Chairman), Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, Mark Assibey Yeboah, James Klutse Avedzi, and Dominic Ayine.
The Speaker adjourns sitting.
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