Former Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak has called for the scrapping of the MPs Common Fund.
This follows the Auditor-General’s indictment of former Nhyieso MP, Kennedy Kankam.
Speaking on Luv In The Morning on Kumasi-based Luv FM, he told host David Akuetteh that abolishing the Fund will allow MPs to focus on their core mandate of legislating and lessen the conflicts that exist between MPs and their respective local assemblies.
The former Nhyiaeso MP was indicted by the Auditor General for his failure to retrieve an amount of ¢500,000 which some 300 people received as loans, from the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s Common Fund (DACF) in 2020.
This development has reignited the conversation on whether the MPs Common Fund, which is a component of the District Assembly Common Fund, should be scrapped or not.
“Scrap the Common Fund and let the Members of Parliament focus on what they are elected to do.”
According to him, core duty of an MP is to go to Parliament to legislate and oversee the work of the Executive.
He observes that the Common Fund has brought untold conflicts between MPs and various district assemblies, making development stunted.
“What is it that the MPs are doing with the Common Fund that the district assemblies which are on the ground on a daily basis cannot do?
Imagine a situation where the MP is from a different political party, the DCE whose government is in party, is from a different political party.”
He added that, “…first two years of my time as MP, I went through this difficulty with the Assembly, simply refusing to process my request to access the Common Fund, because the DCE had intentions to contest”.
The former Kumbungu MP who claims he used his share to fund borehole projects, pay school fees, refurbish recreational facilities, buy football jerseys among others, further opined that, “MPs should not be at the forefront of doing developmental projects in their respective communities.”
On the contrary, the former Bantama MP, Daniel Okyem Aboagye argued that MPs are seen as development agents, the Common Fund should not be touched but rather increased.
“The Common Fund should not be struck out and the reason is very simple. As an MP if you’re going through your constituency, there are many challenges that you’ll meet, that you cannot use your personal money to fix; I mean there is a limit to how much you can do personally. Those funds were created to help mitigate some of those things as a Member of Parliament for the area.”
He added, “MPs are held responsible for everything and so the amount that is given them for development should be increased, since people see them as development agents.”
Mr Okyem Aboagye, meanwhile, called for proper checks and balance system that can monitor the impact on beneficiaries in the future. He moreover recounted the undue delay that associates the release of the MPs Common Fund.
“There is a delay in receiving the Common Fund but that is not to say there aren’t people who are not willing to provide on credit for the government. Even me, my GETFund could you believe that the whole 4 years, I had been chasing the cheque for a year and a half and it came after I had left Parliament.”
The District Assembly Common Fund as established by the District Assembly Common Fund Act 1993, (Act 455) under Article 242 is to provide resources to support the developmental activities of the local government. It is a fund created out of the consolidated fund to channel resources from the central government to the local governments for development.
Article 252 Clause 2 stipulates that Parliament shall “make allocation of not less than five percent of the revenues of Ghana to the District Assemblies for development, and the amount shall be paid into the District Assemblies Common Fund in quarterly instalments”.
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