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10.02.2009 Politics

Chaos At Vetting

By Daily Guide
Hon. Mohammad Mumuni Hon. Mohammad Mumuni

The vetting of Hon. Mohammad Mumuni yesterday took a dramatic turn when the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament walked out of the Speaker's Conference Room.

The heated pre-vetting arguments by the members were premonition of what lay ahead for the committee members especially the Chairman, Edward Doe Adjaho who is also the First Deputy Speaker and MP for Ave Avenor.

The Minority caucus had argued that an audit report had implicated the nominee in the NVTI saga, which was pending in court and therefore any attempt to vet him would be subjudice.

It also sought to explain that to vet Alhaji Mumuni who had a matter that was pending in court would infringe on procedures of Parliament.

This was after Alhaji Mumuni himself had told the Committee that he took DAILY GUIDE, Baffour Awuah & Associates and two other defendants to court for publishing an audit report against him.

The MP for Bekwai, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, whose submission was supported by Hon. K.T. Hammond, MP of Adansi Asokwa; Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South; Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP for Manhyia, and Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Minority Leader and MP for Suame, quoted Standing Orders 93 of Parliament to explain why the vetting of the nominee should not be done.

The Standing Orders 93, according to the Minority side, states: “Reference should not be made to any matter on which judicial decision is pending in such a way as may, in the opinion of Mr. Speaker, prejudice the interest of parties to the action”.

The Minority therefore contended that once Alhaji Mumuni had brought action against people in court on the publication of the audit report, any comments on it would prejudice the interest of the defendants.  

Furthermore, the Minority Leader quoted Article 94 (2) d of the Constitution and four other relevant issues and procedures to support the argument that Alhaji Mumuni should not be vetted until the matters in court were either determined or set aside.   

When eventually the Chairman used his prerogative to rule that Hon Mumuni should be vetted, the decision attracted the opprobrium of the NPP members whose leader, Hon Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu described it as bogus, adding that Hon. Adjaho was the Chairman to give ruling on the matter but the ruling should not be capricious and whimsical.

Various points were however raised by members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose bottom-line was that the Minister of Foreign Affairs designate should be vetted regardless of a pending court action.

Hon. Mubarak Muntaka, MP for Asawase and Minister-designate for Youth and Sports appeared to ignore the ongoing protestations of his colleagues on the other side by commencing with the vetting process.

As he fired his first question about how the Minister-designate would deal with the impression about the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hon Hackman Owusu-Agyeman picked up his files and papers and headed for the exit.

He was soon followed by his colleagues on the Minority side, taking the shine off the process.

However, the Minority later returned for the vetting of Ms. Sherry Ayitey, Minister-designate for Environment, Science and Technology and Mike Hammah, Minister-designate for Transport.

By Awudu Mahama & Sheilla Sackey