Parliament's sitting over cash-for-seat a waste of resources - Dr Draman

Source: Ghana||Nathan Gadugah
Date: 2nd-january-2018 Time:  3:15:21 pm

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The Executive Director of the African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs says the emergency sitting called by the Minority over the cash-for-seat scandal is a waste of taxpayers' money.

Dr. Rashid Draman believes nothing will come out of Friday’s sitting.

He is rather advocating for new procedures that will make it almost difficult for a few parliamentarians to call an emergency sitting.

The Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak authored a memo urging the Speaker Prof. Mike Oquaye to recall members to Parliament for an emergency sitting to debate a motion calling for investigation into how the trade ministry in collaboration with a private company sold seats to expatriate companies.

The memo, tabled in accordance with Article 112(3) of the Constitution and Standing Order 38 (1) was signed by some members of the minority and handed to the Speaker on December 27.

The Speaker on receiving the memo scheduled January 5, 2018 for the emergency sitting and asked all members to cut short their break and make their way back to Parliament.

This means the country will have to fund the transportation of all MPs back to Parliament for the emergency sitting.

Dr. Rashid Draman told Joy News given what has happened in the past, there is consensus from both Minority and Majority members of the House that the emergency sitting is a drain on the public purse.

Dr Rashid Draman

He cited the case of the Merchant Bank sale as well as the Ford Expedition vehicle gift to president Mahama in which the minority NPP at the time requested for an emergency sitting but had their motion arrested during the emergency sitting.

Dr. Draman suspects a similar thing is likely to happen with the motion on cash-for- seat scandal.

But the deputy minority whip, Ahmed Ibrahim disagrees. He told Joy News his side has legitimate concerns and will seek to advance them if the Speaker grants them the audience.

He said Parliament as an institution believes in transparency and is against any action that has negative consequences on the public purse.

He added by law any institution that imposes a levy on anything or anybody must seek Parliamentary approval, adding the $15,000- $100,000 charged by the Trades Ministry for the organization of the Awards ceremony for expatriates was not approved by Parliament.

He said the legislature must be interested in a case like that.

When his attention was drawn to the fact that the case may not go anywhere as happened in the Merchant Bank and the Ford Expedition cases, Ahmed Ibrahim said those two scenarios were entirely different.

Unlike the Merchant Bank and Ford cases which were in court and at CHRAJ respectively, he said the cash-for-seat scandal is not before any creature of the constitution.

He is expecting the Speaker to open the case up for further investigation.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Affairs Manager for Parliament Kate Addo says all is set for the emergency sitting on Friday.

She cannot immediately tell how much it will cost the country to transport the 275 MPs back to Parliament.

She told Joy News Editor, Araba Koomson on midday the sitting is likely to end in a day but anything can happen depending on what the Speaker decides.

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