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29.01.2009 NDC News

Minority cry foul-Over NDC's return to era of impunity

By The Statesman

The Minority in Parliament have described the actions of the National Democratic Congress's Interim Committee on the Auditor General's report on the [email protected] as improper, and signaling the return of the "culture of impunity that can only be compared to the Citizens Vetting Committee of the 1980s with all the intimidations that came with it'.

According to them, the pressure that was brought to bear on the A-G by members of the transition team - which is not recognised by the Constitution - can only be described as acts smacking of impunity, arrogance and blatant attempts to undermine an independent entity like the A-G"s office which is recognised by the Constitution.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, stated that  some actions of the interim committee as well as that of the renewal of the curfew at the Bawku municipality, Gushegu township and their environs by Mohammed Mumuni, "President's representative' at the Ministry of the Interior, constituted a flagrant breach of the Constitution.

He indicated that the Auditor General was unceremoniously summoned and made to submit a draft audit report on Ghana @ 50 adding, "this action is clearly illegal, as by law the Auditor-General may only submit reports (interim or final) to Parliament and by international best practice submit draft reports to the auditee for comments of the auditee before the preparation of a final report'.

 The Minority also described as illegal the decision by Alhaji Mumuni to transfer Mr. Amegashie from the Ministry of Ports and Railways to the position of Ag. Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicular Licensing Authority. Mr. Amergashie is a civil servant and service transfers are done by the Head of Civil Service.

'Even if Alhaji Mumuni were Minister of the Interior he would not be able to transfer a civil servant from the then Ministry of Ports, Railways and Harbours to the Ministry of Transport,' the Minority leader pointed out.

'The actions of this [Transition] Committee are a blatant attempt to undermine the independence of a constitutional body.

This smacks of a creeping dictatorship and puts our young democracy at risk. We call on the good people of this country to stand up against and reject this creeping dictatorship, arrogance and actions of impunity. We call on all independent institutions of State to stand firm.

'In the face of this, we wish to assure Ghanaians that we would remain firm and resolute in our determination decapitate the resurging culture of impunity in our bid to protect and defend the constitution of the land by all legal means', he further stated.

Meanwhile the Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford Addo, has set up a three-member committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the tampering of the seat of the Minority Leader in the Chamber and in his office and make general recommendations on relevant security for members.

This directive became necessary after the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, made a statement on the floor of the House to explain what happened to his seat and also called on the House to take interest in their security because that situation could happen to any body.

All members who contributed to the statement, including the Majority Leader, Alban Bagbin, and Cecelia Abena Dappah (NPP, Bantama) agreed that the security of members was of great importance and that some action should be taken to improve security for them everywhere they go.

The House has also referred the nominations of Kwabena Duffuor as Minister of Finance, Zita Okai Kwei, Minister of Information, Lt Gen. Rtd J.H Smith, Minister of Defence, Moses Asaga, Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Muntakar Mubarrak Muhammed, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to the Appointments Committee for vetting.

Others are Dr. George Yankey, Health, Kwesi Ahwoi, Food and Agriculture, Stephen Kwao Amoanor, Employment and Social Welfare, Alexander Asuom Ahinsa, Chieftaincy and Culture, Cletus Avoka, Interior, Joseph Yieleh Chereh, Local Government and Rural Development.

Huliti Alhassan and Azong Alhassan were nominated as Ministers-designate at the Presidency.

As well, a list of some regional ministers-designate has been released by the Presidency.

They are: Joseph Amenowode, Volta Region; Mark Wayongo, Upper East; S S Nanyina, Northern Region, and Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Region.

Sixteen names had earlier been released to the Appointment Committee of Parliament.