13.07.2006 Politics

Minority Takes Issues Over Presentation Of Supplementary Estimates

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The Minority in Parliament on Thursday described proceedings in the House as a "sad day for democracy" after the Minister of Finance, Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, moved a motion which Minority Leader Alban Bagbin, had objected to, saying procedure was not being followed in allowing the Minister to move the motion.

"We have witnessed a perpetration of irregularity...we strongly believe that the time has come to call this government to is unconstitutional and it is evidence of dictatorship," Mr Bagbin said at a press conference after the Finance Minister had gone ahead to present the supplementary estimates.

The Issues of Procedure came up after the Finance Minister had laid the paper and stood up to move a motion to make his presentation.

Mr Bagbin had raised procedural objection against the reading of the Supplementary Estimate for the 2006 Financial Year.

Quoting from article 179 of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Minority Leader told the House that the Supplementary Estimate should have been referred to the Finance Committee, which should submit a report to the House before a motion could be moved by Minister.

The Speaker, Mr Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi Hughes, however ruled that the Minister, Mr Kwadwo Baah Wiredu should be allowed to go ahead to read the Supplementary Budget for the report to be submitted in a week, to allow for a debate.

When the Minister was some minutes into his presentation, Mr Bagbin again stood up and sought to catch the Speaker's eye to make an intervention but the Speaker stated clearly that he was not going to allow anybody to interrupt the Minister's presentation.

Mr Bagbin told the press conference that he had stood for the second time because although the Order Paper had stated that the Minister was in to move a motion for the approval of the estimates, he had rather moved a motion to present a mid-year review of the 2006 budget.

"We are not following the rule of man but of the law.. the Speaker had a right to overrule me.. but was wrong to refuse me the opportunity. This smacks of dictatorship," the Minority Leader said.

"Even if you disagree with my views he should have allowed me to make my views. He was very very wrong to do so. As a House, we should be the first to be law abiding."

Mr Bagbin further went on to allege that the government had taken monies amounting to 1.1 trillion cedis from various sources such as the GETFUND and the District Assembly Common fund without Parliamentary approval and were giving the monies to party faithful for district level elections under the guise of a youth in employment scheme and this was the reason for the hurried presentation of the supplementary estimates to the House to cover up.

Mr Moses Asaga, Minority Ranking Member on Finance also told the press conference that it was deception for the Minister to have presented a mid-year report instead of supplementary estimates.

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