Minority Spokesperson on Finance Committee, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson

The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, has described as unacceptable, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta’s assertion that the Ministry of National Security is better placed to provide details of President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

According to Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Mr Ofori-Atta’s response to the request by Parliament for information on the President’s trips, on Wednesday, after requesting more time to do so, is shocking.

“To our dismay, our Minister responsible for Finance appeared before us today and said that he is not in a position to provide us with that detail. In fact, we find it shocking, unacceptable and we think it is very disrespectful to the people’s representative of Ghana.

“It is very unfair for him to come to Parliament and make the categorical statement that he is not in the position to provide us with that information. What has happened today is a bad precedent. It is not good for our governance. It has drawn our governance to the lowest level. We should not allow this to continue,” he told JoyNews’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo.

This follows an explanation from Mr Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, that the National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, is best placed to give the needed details on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. Therefore, the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honorable House with the details needed,” he said.

But this response, Mr Ato Forson stated cannot be accepted as the Finance Minister is mandated to oversee all financial matters in the country in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Sections 4 and 5.

“We say this for a simple reason. We are all aware that the Public Financial Management Act 2016 (Act 921) Section 5, clothes the Minister of Finance with every responsibility and power.

“Section 4 also makes the Finance Minister the supervising Minister for the use of all public funds per any covered entity and covered entity includes the office of the Chief of Staff, the National Security Secretariat. So, for the Minister to appear before us and refer the matter again to the Minister responsible for National Security and the Chief of Staff, we find it unacceptable,” he stated.

The Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP, is also of the firm belief that Mr Ofori-Atta’s statement is a ploy by the incumbent government, headed by President Akufo-Addo, to hide their opulence.

“I am at a loss for a Minister for Finance to come before us and say to us that he doesn’t know what it is. You know what this means, it is an attempt by the government of the day, the President Akufo-Addo and Bawumia government to hide behind technicalities to hide their opulence. That is what it is- hiding behind technicalities not to provide information to the people of Ghana,” he explained.

The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament has, however, stated categorically that the Minority Group in Parliament will continue to ensure the government accounts for its spending. The National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, he said will be questioned.

“We urge our Minister for Finance to revisit the powers that he has because he has every power, because he is the supervising Minister for all financial matters in this country.

“We are not ending there. My colleague, Sam Ablakwa, in fact, is going to raise another question and we expect the Minister for National Security to come and give us those details. The matter will end not today and will not end tomorrow.