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19.02.2009 Politics

After questioning her tax liabilitiesHannah Tetteh escaped at the last hour… as parliament approves another batch of ministers

By Emmanuel Kpeglah - Ghanaian Chronicle

The approval for Ms Hannah Tetteh, the Minister designate for Trade and Industry was nearly rejected by parliament yesterday, because of certain tax liabilities. The legislative House wanted to certify itself over certain tax liabilities that were hanging on the neck of the nominee, after working with some organizations whilst serving as a member of parliament.

The attention of the House was drawn to this by the Member for Bekwai, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, who quoted the report of the Appointments Committee as saying “she was not sure whether she had to pay higher taxes if the remuneration from both places were consolidated . She promised to look into that and if she had to pay higher taxes she will do so or take steps to do so immediately. The committee wants to satisfy itself that this has been complied with.”

He accused the committee for not doing a satisfactory job because they failed to make sure that the aspect of the Minister's obligation had been satisfied. Hon. Doe Adjaho, Chairman of the committee said the clerk did not draw his attention to it before he signed the document.

The Majority Leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin said Mad. Hannah Tetteh was a very diligent former parliamentarian and had distinguished herself creditably in all her undertakings, and that she should not be disqualified because of this case. Hon Bagbin said at the time he was speaking, Mad Tetteh was paying her taxes at the Kinbu branch of the Internal Revenue Service.

The Minority leader, quoting article 94 section 3 of the constitution which states that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of parliament unless he has paid his taxes or made satisfactory arrangement to the appropriate authority for the payment, arguing that ignorance of the law was not an excuse.

Ruling on the matter, the Speaker Rt. Hon. Bamford-Addo said it was not ignorance of the law but it was ignorance of the fact, which according to her was excusable.

Soon after the ruling, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Hon Doe Adjaho read a faxed letter from the Internal Revenue Service, Kinbu branch, that Madam Tetteh had paid her taxes according to the ordinance of the land.

The Member for Subin Constituency, Hon Isaac Osei was not happy that the Committee Chairman signed a document which content he did not know.

The member for Weija Constituency, Hon Shirley Ayorkor Botchway said the Ministers must take note of the promises they have made and make conscious efforts to fulfill them.

She called on the Greater Accra Regional Minister to take note of the area's problems such as land disputes, land guards and chieftaincy issues; building on waterways and its concomitant flooding which she said has been the problem in the region.

On her part, Mad Cecilia Dapaah said the problem of education in the Central region was a huge one, which according to her could call for another level of affirmation action for boy child education.

She said at a speech and prize giving ceremony, out of 14 prize winners 10 were girls and only four were boys, a development she said was not the best for the country and called on the Central Regional Minister, Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe to do something about the situation.

Earlier, the member for Atwima – Mponua, Hon. Isaac Kwame Asiamah drew the attention of the Defence Minister to a 'car snatching syndicate' going on and made reference to the castle as one of the points where the car snatching takes place.

He said the government must apologize to the Former President John Kufuor for cars illegally seized from him.

On a point of order, the Deputy Majority Leader, John Akolgo Tia said the allegation Hon. Isaac Asiamah made must be withdrawn because it was not backed by any evidence which the accuser refused to do. The speaker's ruling on the matter said he had not defamed the presidency.

The following were the nominees that were approved by parliament, they include Mad Hannah Tettey, Minister for Trade and Industry, Lt. Gen. Joseph Henry Smith (rtd, Minister for Defence, Mr. Haruna Idrisu, Minister for Communications and Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, Minister of Youth and Sports.

The rest were Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, Eastern Regional Minister, Mr. Kofi Opoku Manu, Ashanti Regional Minister, Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr. Mahmud Khalid, Upper West Regional Minister and Hon. Nii Armah Ashietey, Greater Accra Regional Minister.

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