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13.05.2019 Feature Article

Could Ghana Parliament be Corporately Held for Causing Financial Loss to the State?

John Peter AmewuJohn Peter Amewu

Following a publication I have read on Ghanaweb under their General News of Sunday, 12 May 2019, headlined, "Energy Minister, others to face jail term over 'sham' petroleum deal - Alex Mould" as under the web link below, I am persuaded, although hesitant, to believe that Ghana Parliament risks being held culpable for corporately causing financial loss to the State.

I understand when a government contract reaching a certain sum is being awarded or a payment of a huge sum of money is being paid to a company, a person or a country, by the government, it must go to parliament for approval. Whether that sum of money or contract was agreed by a sector Minister with the support of the Cabinet, once it is taken to parliament and gets approved by parliament, the responsibility and aftermath culpability if any, are shifted onto parliament.

If parliament finds the deal dodgy, why should it approve it? Has it not got the absolute right to question for better particulars and detail information and facts, upon the convincing credibility of which they approve the deal? If they find the deal dodgy with the documents available to them not convincing enough, do they not have the constitutional right to reject it?

With the petroleum contract awarded to, or reviewed in favour of, AGM, as per the following quoted statement, "It seems that AGM has been given a new lease of land through a sole retender and Government has reduced its stake from 49% to 18%", the government is presumed to have caused financial loss to the State.

The loss runs into US$500 million according to the analyses in the publication which is detailed enough to permit any interested person to make a sound judgment on their own. If it is as said, then I shall be peeved at the Members of Parliament much as my annoyance at the Sector Minister and the Cabinet cannot be underestimated.

I find Ghana Members of Parliament always voting on party lines and towing party lines on motions whether or not their stance is in the best interest of the nation very upsetting and absurd, to say the least. You will never see a member of say NPP or NDC disagreeing with a motion moved by a member of their kind. Their action is unlike in Europe or the USA where a member of the same party will vote against a proposed motion or government policy come before them for approval. They think first about the interests of the nation before their party hence often exercising cross-party voting right if they see the opposition’s side to be more credible and in the best interest of the country. However, this quality which helps move a nation forward in a better direction is lacking in Ghana politics hence, the often numerous financial losses caused to the country by those entrusted with power to govern.

Once Parliament has voted to approve the deal which some experts are saying is not in the best interest of the country, in any near future both the Cabinet and parliament, especially parliament, will be held accountable for any financial loss to the country. The Cabinet has disposed off its responsibility and the burden is now on parliament. Without the parliament’s approval, the deal could have fallen through.

It is not all about drawing fat salaries and four-yearly huge sums of money for Ex-gratia that Ghanaian constituents voted you to parliament but to make sound laws in the best interests of the country and the people therein.

I shall come back to discuss the dismal attitudes by Ghana parliamentarians which seem to make them misfits in their job. How I hope my publishers would activate the cited web link as it contains the detail information on the deal classified by them as causing financial loss to the State. I have to retire to bed as my eyes are tired with sleep.

With God, we are victorious!
Rockson Adofo
(Monday, 13 May 2019)

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2019

This author has authored 1831 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: RocksonAdofo

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