Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu [right]

The Minority in Parliament has accused the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, of usurping the Speaker’s powers after he dismissed a motion calling for a probe into Covid-19 expenditure.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, and the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka and Minority spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, had filed a motion to Alban Bagbin, asking the House for a bi-partisan probe into the ¢8.1 billion expenditure by government.

That motion was admitted.

However, the First Deputy Speaker, who subsequently presided over proceedings in the House, dismissed the motion.

According to the Minority Caucus, the move sets a bad precedent for the governance of the country.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, argued that government is avoiding accountability.

“A Deputy Speaker presiding to serve nothing but a narrow partisan interest, I hope that he’s not impugning the authority and integrity of the Speaker, neither is he undermining the mandate and authority of the Speaker as a subordinate.”

“We are demanding transparency and accountability in the utilisation of Covid resources and we, simply, are telling the Ghanaian public that neither the Finance Minister nor minister responsible for sectors, including the Health Minister, has adequately accounted for the expenditure of Covid resources,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin says the probe is needless.

He explained that what the Minority is asking for has already been dealt with by the Public Accounts Committee.

“There is no way government of Ghana can take public funds, spend and hide those expenditures; it’s not possible. No matter what [comes up], the Auditor-General will have a look at it. Our colleagues are saying that their argument is mounted on inquiry.”

“What is the difference between inquiry and audit? I think an audit is the proper step to take to unravel any irregularity. They are saying as for audit, it’s the job of the Auditor-General but they are asking for inquiry; inquire for what?” he asked.

The Minority has called for the head of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, for undertaking an international transaction without prior approval from Parliament.

In a Memo to the Speaker, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, explained that the Dormaa Central MP’s action is contrary to Article 191 of the 1992 Constitution.

Therefore, the Minority wants the appointing authority to give him the sack.

According to the Minority, signing a procurement agreement with the “prior approval of the Board of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) under sections 40 and 41 of the PPA Act, 2003 (663) as amended by Act 914 constitutes a criminal offence under the law.”

They noted that considering that “the above conduct, being in direct breach of the Constitution and laws passed by this honourable House, the Health Minister be removed from office as a Minister by a vote of censure passed in accordance with Article 82 of the Constitution.”