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11.07.2008 Politics

MPs in semantics war on cost of presidential awards

By gna
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The issue of how much was spent on the recent presidential awards generated an apparent war of semantics on the floor
of the Parliament after the reading of the business statement for next
week.

Mr. Alfred Kwame Agbesi, MP for Ashaiman raised the issue on the cost
of the awards saying, the President “awarded” some people.

He then asked if the Business Committee could arrange for the Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs to answer questions on the real cost of organizing the awards before the House would go on recess next week.

According to Mr. Agbesi, there were media publications on the cost of the awards, and asked why the Chief of Staff would not be invited to answer questions on the cost of the awards so that the legislators could explain the cost to their constituents when they would be on recess.

Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, Acting Majority Leader responded: " I'm not aware; the President has never awarded some people", generating laughter among fellow legislators.

Mr. Bonsu however, agreed to an intervention by Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin that the President nominated some people to be given awards.

Despite initial advice from Mr. Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker who sat in the chair to Mr Agbesi to have filed the concern raised with the Business Committee, the matter was finally referred to the Business Committee.
Mr. Bagbin also complained that provision was not made in next week's business statement for 12 reports of the Public Accounts Committee, which he said, was in the possession of Parliament.

He said these reports were not yet laid before the House.

He said the Business Committee should have arranged for the reports to be laid next week, so that the House could consider them at its next session.

According to Mr. Bagbin, the Auditor General had consistently told the public that it had finished its work and the reports were with Parliament.

However, the discussion went into questions on concerns on the eligibility of the Auditor General.

Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor (NDC-Lawra Nandom) argued that there were not sufficient legal grounds to disallow the Auditor General to perform his state functions, as he continued to be paid by the State.

Mr Bonsu however, said the matter was before the Speaker of Parliament, and would be addressed when the Business Committee had a signal from the Speaker.

When the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah, brought the attention of Mr Blay that he (Mr Blay) had ever ruled on the matter to be referred to the Leadership of the House, Mr. Blay gave the assurance that, "this is the last time" the issue would be referred to the Leadership.

However, Alhaji Alhassan Malik Yakubu, Second Deputy Speaker, commenting on the Business Statement for next week, said, " there is recognition being given to the PAC Reports."

The Business Committee has programmed the Public Accounts Committee Report of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Ghana Pre-University Educational Institutions for the four- year period ending 31 December 2004 to be adopted on July 15, 2008.

Also, on July 15, 2008, Prostrate Awareness Foundation, a non-governmental organization is scheduled to educate the MPs on the dangers of prostrate cancer, which mostly affects elderly men.

Members who wish to know their prostrate status would also be screened that day, the business statement said.

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