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01.08.2005 General News

Public Hearing on Bills held in Takoradi

GNA

Takoradi, Aug. 1, - GNA - Mr. Kwame Osei Prempeh, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution and Legal Affairs, on Monday said the People's Representation Amendment Bill is an amendment of PNDC Law 284.

He said the PNDC Law 284 permits only Ghanaians working for the government abroad, diplomats at International organisations and soldiers on duty to register and vote in the country's elections. Mr. Prempeh, who is the Member of Parliament for Nsuta-Kwamang, was speaking at a public hearing of the People's Representation Amendment Bill and the Whistle Blowers Bill organised by the Parliamentary Select Committee at Takoradi.

He said the People's Representation Amendment Bill is seeking to amend the law to make it possible for all Ghanaians resident abroad to register and vote in elections.

Mr. Prempeh said under the PNDC Law 284, all those who wish to stand for election have to reside in their electoral areas for at least six months and this clause excludes Ghanaians resident abroad from contesting elections.

He said on the other hand, the People's Representation Amendment Bill would make it possible for Ghanaians abroad to contest for elections.

Mr. Prempeh said the amendment of the PNDC Law 284 would bring it in line with the provisions of the constitution which states that all Ghanaians have the right to vote and contest elections.

He said the Whistle Blowers Bill is in support of the government's campaign against corruption.

Mr Prempeh said the Bill would enable people to give information about corruption and acts that would cause financial loss to the state in private and public sectors within the confines of the law.

He said the bill would protect informants from intimidation and threats and is mainly targeted at the business and financial sectors. Mr Prempeh said the bill is a back-up to the Procurement Act, Internal Audit Act and the Financial Administration Act. Participants at the hearing were generally not happy about the People Representation Amendment Bill.

Some of them said Ghanaians resident abroad are not well-informed about conditions in the country and cannot make informed decision on whom to vote for.

Others said foreigners could be registered to vote in the country's election and this would not augur well for the development of the country.

The discussions resulted in heated arguments bringing the proceedings to a standstill.

The Western Regional Minister, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo and District Chief Executives attended the meeting.

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