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31.01.2005 General News

Parliament Decides Ministers' Fate

By Accra Mail
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The chairman of the Appointments Committee, Mr Freddie Blay, has said Parliament might consider the report of the Appointments Committee tomorrow.

Speaking to the ADM in Accra before the Committee wrapped up its sitting for the first batch of ministerial nominees, Mr Blay said members of the Committee had already planned to meet and prepare its report immediately after the vetting.

He said the report is to state which of the ministers who appeared before them deserves to be given the nod or otherwise.

Freddie Blay said it was not appropriate to reconstitute the committee merely because some of the members are ministerial nominees.

He said each Member of Parliament is supposed to belong to at least a committee in the House and the nominees at the centre of controversy were selected as members of the Committee before the president nominated them as ministers-designate.

"The Selection Committee was the first committee established within the first few days, to be chaired by the Speaker of Parliament. Immediately after that the Appointments Committee was instituted."

He described the call to reconstitute the committee as "out of no knowledge of what pertains in Parliament with respect to our Standing Orders and the Constitution."

Minority Leader Alban Bagbin, also a member of the Committee, said in a separate interview that to avoid any negative impression that might come up; nominees on the Committee should have withdrawn from the process.

He said such members could have sat on other sittings that would vet other people like members from the judiciary and other Ministers of State-designate. "I have been saying it is not advisable for them to participate in the process, this is what I have been telling my colleagues here.

Though there is nothing wrong with them being part of the vetting process, the impression of 'scratch my back make I scratch yours' would be created. I think they should have withdrawn from the committee for this exercise," he said.

Mr Bagbin said the chairman's performance is an improvement over proceedings in 2001. He said, "Rules for the vetting are not even clear so the chairman just uses his own discretion."

He suggested that next time the chairman should be a bit more flexible in order for members to examine nominees critically and thoroughly.

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