Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

Second Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Habib Idrissu has dismissed claims that the Finance Minister’s continuous failure to appear before the House amounts to his inability to account for government’s expenditure on Covid-19.

Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta was billed to answer 16 questions, which include accounting for Covid-19 funds before the House on Thursday.

But the said questions were not tabled as part of the day’s business due to the Minister’s failure to be present

Speaking on Top Story, Thursday, Habib Iddrisu stressed that Ken Ofori-Atta is not shying away from public accountability as alleged by the Minority.

He explained that the Minister had to gather the required information from other ministries.

“Today [Thursday] the reason why the Minister was unable to appear was due to the fact that he needed to contact other sector Ministers and verify information with regards to all the 16 questions…the Minister is not running away from response, the Minister is not running away from public accountability or the management of public debt,” he told Evans Mensah.

Ofori-Atta is not running away from accountability – 2nd Deputy Majority Chief Whip
Second Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Habib Idrissu

Touching on why Ken Ofori-Atta had not prepared to answer the questions, the MP for Tolon said “the questions had only been filed this week. I am a member of the Business Committee and I was at Business Committee meetings.”

Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has ruled that the House will not consider any requests from the Finance Ministry until Ken Ofori-Atta appears before the House to account for Covid-19 expenditure and answer other questions from MPs.

Mr. Alban Bagbin, speaking on the floor of the House on Thursday, said the Minister must appear before the House or suffer rejection of requests from the Finance Ministry.

“I will go further to say that until the answer is provided, until he goes through the accountability process, we will not take that motion…Today, he has another request before us that will also be affected.

Ofori-Atta is not running away from accountability – 2nd Deputy Majority Chief Whip

“Until he comes to respond to the question, and to submit the statement giving explanation as to how that money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that Ministry. Mark my words,” Bagbin said.

The Minority MPs are incensed over the development as they have accused Mr. Ofori-Atta of a continuous disrespect for the House.

Ranking Member on the Health Committee of Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said the failure of Mr Ofori-Atta to appear before the House on Thursday to account for government’s Covid-19 expenditure is evident that he is not fit for the position he occupies.

“That has been his nature; I am not surprised. There are a lot of outstanding questions for the Minister responsible for Finance, and sometimes at the last minute, he won’t show up.

“In any jurisdiction, this man would have been fired long ago by the President. He is not being fired by the President because he is keeping the parochial interest of the President.

“Tell me one single reason why this Minister should be in office by now. Are you satisfied? The hardship we are going through today, are you satisfied? The inflation today and the economic condition we are in today in Ghana can only be likened to the 80s,” he argued.

Mr Akandoh stressed that the attitude of the Finance Minister points to the fact that the government does not care much about probity and transparency.

He explained that “if he [Ken Ofori-Atta] really cares and this man has any conscience, he would not have the guts to go and sit on national television and be defending the building of the National Cathedral, while countless number of NABCo people have not been paid, and while the National Health Insurance Authority’s Fund has not been paid.”