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26.02.2009 Politics

Minority pleads with MillsDon't criminalize others in the name of seeking justice

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The Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Ambrose Dery has stated that President Mills' promise to re-investigate the death of Yaa Na and others who died mysteriously in the Yendi conflict and that of Issah Mobila, must not be used to criminalize others.

“We have a mind set to criminalize groups as murderers, cocaine party and the rest, when only one member is identified to be involved in such acts,” he said, adding that when groups were tagged that way, the whole process could run into serious difficulties and could end up achieving nothing.

Hon. Dery was contributing to the debate to thank the President, John Evans Mills on his maiden State of the Nation address. “I am very passionate about the President's attempt to bring justice,” he said, adding that the recent violence that occurred in some parts of the North, which claimed the lives of a number of people, should also be investigated and the culprits brought to book.

Quoting from the President's address, Hon. Dery said it was unconstitutional for the President to review the emolument of MPs as stated in the Chinery Hesse report.

He said, until the constitution was amended, he had no right to take that decision, adding that the President was under oath as administered to him, when he assumed office to defend the constitution at all time.

He said article 71 of the 1992 constitution clearly specified that salaries and allowances payable and the facilities and allowances available to the Speaker and the Deputy Speakers and members of Parliament, the Chief Justice and other Justices of the Supreme Court of Judicature, the Auditor General and other Heads of the Commissions and Institutions shall be determine by the President on recommendations of a committee.

According to Hon. Dery, the Chinery Hesse committee had taken care of that, adding that it would be a violation of the right of those involved.

The MP for Juaboso, Hon Sampson Ahi, in contributing to the debate said the legacy of the Kufuor administration was to spend more than what they earned, making the economy of Ghana fragile and challenging, with the cedi seriously depreciating against the dollar.

He questioned the high taxes collected by the former President Kufuor led administration to repay the debts of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), which still stands at GH¢11.46 million.

He thanked the President for coming out with workable measures as cutting State Protocol budget, reducing his official travel budget and other measures to redeem the economy.

Responding to this allegation, the Member for Old Tafo, Hon. Dr. Osei Akoto said it was the same situation that they met in 2001, but managed it to this level which made inflation stand at 18.1 % as against about 40% when the NPP government took over power from the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He said he agreed with the President when he assured Ghanaians that there was no need for panic, because the economy was very strong. He argued that the economy was in deficit because of the elections.

He said deficit financing was no sin since it was targeted to achieve strategic objectives.

When the motion was moved and seconded, clearing the way for debate on the nominees Hon. Moses Asaga, MP for Nabdam was the first to comment on the nominees.

He believed that the Minister designate for Water Resources Work and Housing, Hon. Albert Abongo would do well in his new position since he was such an experienced person.

However, he asked him to pay attention to the urban water supply which he said was capital intensive and advised that the Minister should seek for funding to expand the facility, both in urban and the rural areas of the country.

He said he saw the Upper East Regional Minister Designate, Mr. Mark Woyongo as a neutral person, as far as tribal issues were concerned, saying he (Hon Asaga) believed he would use his neutrality to solve the numerous conflicts in the area.

The Minority Leader, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah- Bonsu said though there were a lot of inconsistencies in Mr. Woyongo's submissions, when he appeared before the Appointments Committee, especially on the transfer of his vote, and the unclear nature of the shipping of radio equipment from London to Ghana, he did not find him responsible but advised that such things must be guarded against in the future.

Meanwhile, four appointees nominated by the President to Parliament for consideration for Ministerial positions have been approved by the House.

They include; Mr. Albert Abongo, Minister for Water Resources, Works & Housing, Mr. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr. Azong Alhassan, Minister at the Presidency and Mr. Mark Woyongo, Upper East Regional Minister.

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