Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency, wants the leadership of Parliament to call out and deal with what he calls the abysmal conduct of the Finance Minister with regard to providing answers to the question of the cost of the President’s recent foreign travels.
The legislator filed two urgent questions on the use of a private jet for President Akufo-Addo’s trips to Europe and South Africa instead of the presidential jet.
The first question, admitted by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin on June 1, 2021, dealt with the airworthiness of the presidential jet and was answered by the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul.
On the day Ken Ofori-Atta was expected to answer his part of the question, Ablakwa was informed that the Minister had requested for more time to furnish the House on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips.
The question was subsequently taken off the Business Statement of Parliament, although the Minister had about two weeks earlier to prepare his response.
Raising the concern once again on the floor of the house, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the House must not be seen to be giving the Minister preferential treatment when his colleagues have been hauled before the House.
“On the 1st of July, I wrote a memo to the Business Committee, drawing attention that if care is not taken, it will appear as though there is a Minister who is above our standing orders and above the laws of this country who can keep asking for more time in perpetuity. Nobody knows what ‘more time’ means. I have gone through the business statement and again that question is conspicuously missing. Can the honourable Majority Leader tell this House what is going on?” Mr. Ablakwa said.
This is the second time Mr. Ablakwa has raised concerns over the Finance Minister’s failure to appear before the House to account for President Akufo-Addo’s use of a private jet for his recent trips to Europe and South Africa.
Mr. Ablakwa had earlier threatened to initiate a vote of censure against the Minister if he continues to delay in coming before the House to render accounts.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had earlier denied any complicity in the re-scheduling of the question on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa.
‘I haven’t rejected the question on the cost of Nana Addo’s travels’ – Bagbin
Speaking on the floor of the house, Alban Bagbin said the Finance Minister will definitely provide answers to the said question.
“Let me disagree with what has been put on social media that the honourable speaker rejected the questions. There is no iota of truth in that publication. The questions were admitted and forwarded to the ministers and the ministers have indicated to me their readiness to come and answer the questions, so it will be no problem. The business committee should do the right thing and get them programmed for the minister to come and answer.”