Sat, 01 Jun 2024 Feature Article

Martin Amidu writes: Speaker Bagbin, the NDC and the “dire need of funds because of The economic crisis”

Speaker of Parliament, Alban BagbinSpeaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

I just read a news story published by Starr FM on an address by Mr Alexander Afenyo Markin, addressing the Parliamentary Press Corps in Parliament on Thursday, 30 May 2024 in which it is alleged that the Minority through its leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, on Friday, 17 May 2024 questioned the basis for the Government’s request to Parliament for tax “waivers when the government was in dire need of funds because of the economic crisis.”

There may be legitimate reasons for not approving tax waivers, and the abuse of the Members of Parliament (MP) vehicle loans scheme demonstrated to me as the then Special Prosecutor how it was exploited and corruptly used as a means of importing several vehicles by unscrupulous Members of Parliament. I left a long list in the Office of the names of each Member of Parliament and the number of vehicles imported under the waiver even though they were entitled to a waiver on only one vehicle.

Ghana has been in economic crisis even before the NPP came into office on 7 January 2017, but that did not stop Parliament from approving tax waivers then and thereafter. The economy was in no better shape after the pandemic, and after the 2020 elections when the self-confessed corrupt Speaker started his dissipation of the public purse on his numerous and needless trips to Dubai when his ailments were either treatable or manageable in Ghana. The DailyGuideNetwork of 3 March 2022 with its source as DGN Online alleged that the self-confessed corrupt Speaker was leaving for Dubai for another medical review on Friday, 4 March 2022 for his sixth trip since August the previous year “where several thousands of dollars are spent on medical care and estacode of his entourage.” KASSBENonline with a banner headline, “Bagbin Allegedly Requests Extra $50,000 From Dubai” stated that:

“Information gleaned from the corridors of Parliament indicates that this is not the first time the Speaker is making such a request for extra money. According to a source, in July last year, when the Speaker made his first official trip to Dubai for his medical care, he went with a spending money of $150,000, after which he demanded an additional $100,000, but Parliament was able to raise $90,000, bringing the total to $240,000.”

The news report further alleged that: “The Speaker who is on his fifth trip, where he spends an average of $200,000, has already spent $1.1million.” Only God knows what the speculated total amount will be today, 31 May 2024. Apart from a lame attempt to divert attention by claiming that “he is the least travelled and asked his critics to turn their attention to other leaders of the House” Alban Bagbin never threatened the newspapers or media with withdrawal and apology within seven days.

Consequently, assuming that the DailyGuideNetwork, and KASSBENonline reported the truth, without the minority in Parliament raising any concerns then and now, it does appear to me that the reason reportedly given by the Minority Leader for rejecting the tax waivers, if true, is just a smokescreen for desperate politicking during an election year to discredit its opponent in the hope of a perceived Zombified electorate voting it into power at the 2024 elections.

The Ghanaian tax payer cannot be oblivious of the fact that a Speaker of Parliament who presides over the legislative arm of government that cannot provide good and fairly adequate medical facilities in the country’s medical institutions for the electorate that foots the public purse that feeds Parliament, and cannot further control the Parliamentary public purse to prevent the profligate expenditure of public funds on the treatment of “other leaders of the House” abroad so that he can lead the herd in needlessly dissipating the public purse on trips to Dubai himself has no moral as well as constitutional right to ask “his critics to turn their attention to other leaders of the House.”

A real Ghanaian patriot will not be corrupt, let alone for his conscience to prick him to self confess his personal corruption as a public officer. No real Ghanaian patriot in the position of a Speaker of Parliament will dissipate huge sums from the taxpayer’s public purse when his medical conditions are treatable or manageable in Ghana just because he wants to appropriate public funds on the trips to Dubai.

When the Secretary for Defence of the United States of America secretly went on admission without his ailment being made public the US Congress raised questions about the integrity and propriety of his conduct. When King Charles of the United Kingdom fell sick the public which foots his bills was informed of his ailment. When the Princess of Wales who also depends on the UK public purse recently fell sick the public was informed of her ailment within a short time. I can give several examples. But when the self-confessed corrupt Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Alban Bagbin, spoke to Neat FM “Ghana Montie” in an interview on his health when Ghanaians were calling upon him to retire on health grounds, he was quoted as telling Kwesi Aboagye that: “I don’t want to talk about this but no one knows when he or she will be down with a sickness.”

When I was the Deputy Attorney-General in the late 1990s I was diagnosed by my late distinguished Urologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital with BPH which commonly afflicts men and I have been living with it. I have since religiously undergone PSA tests every year, and ultrasound scans when necessary, to determine whether it has developed into an oncological challenge. My current urologist has since the death of his previous senior risen to become a Professor of Urology in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, and I trust his competence as a Ghanaian over any foreigner in a hospital abroad. This is an ailment which afflicts men just as women are afflicted by the ailments of the breast and cervix. No human being is above the affliction of illness. Consequently, spending huge sums of the public purse abroad on a self-concealed cognitive and physically apparent oncological challenges that are either treatable or manageable in Ghana when that money could improve health services for thousands of ordinary and medically needy Ghanaians is symptomatic of cupiditas and corruption. Radix malorum est cupiditas! Greed is the root of all evil!

The NDC can close its eyes to their self-confessed corrupt Speaker refusing to divulge his ailment for which the tax-payer doles out millions of cedis and foreign currency in Dubai but can use the “dire need of funds because of the economic crisis” as a reason for rejecting the tax waivers it has similarly approved under the NDC and NPP Governments until the dawn of the next elections in a few months time on 7 December 2024.

The NDC in its desperation to return to power, has forgotten that instead of targeting me, Mr. Alban Bagbin, the NDC Speaker of Parliament, the self-confessed corrupt person, ought to review his conduct during the passage of the 2022 Budget Estimates and Economic Policy Statement including his expenditure of public funds after he presided over the rejection of the budget on 26 November 2021; his departure to Dubai the next day; the reinstatement of the budget by the majority during his absence on 30 November 2021; his return to Ghana and statement to Parliament on 16 December 2021; his return to and sojourn in Dubai in January 2022; his further return to Dubai in January 2022 to February 2022; and his return and sojourn again in Dubai in March 2022. Mr. Bagbin’s Dubai trips continue to date, but I will stop the count at his reported medical review from 4 to 29 March 2022 when he returned and presided over the passage of the E-Levy Bill.

Mr. Alban Bagbin should then ask himself whether any citizen of Ghana does not have the right to pose a question on a matter of public importance and in the public interest concerning his conduct as a self-confessed corrupt official on his vacillatory conduct during the hearing and eventual passage of the 2022 budget, and the E-Levy upon his return on Tuesday, 29 March 2024.

It is important for every patriot and constitutional activist to realize that the desperation by the NDC and the NPP to win the 2024 election without any scruples, so that it could either be their turn to eat or continue to eat, poses a residual danger for the implosion of the 1992 Constitution if their desperation is recklessly carried too far. Every patriot has a duty to ensure that the 1992 Constitution is defended and the electorate is not Zombified into merely voting for rhetoric instead of on credible and cogent facts, and evidence meriting their votes. Ghana First!

Martin A. B. K. Amidu
31 May 2024

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024