Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, Thursday, gave a directive to the Clerk of the House to select one of his most senior Clerks to travel all the way to the office of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to search for the whereabouts of the Deputy Minister and the Chief Director and summon them to appear before the House.“Mr Clerk you will endeavour to send one of the most senior persons to the Ministry responsible for Fisheries and bring the Deputy Minister and the Chief Director to the Honourable House before we rise so that they can tell us something specific”, the Speaker directed.
The directive of the Speaker follows the failure of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, to appear on the floor of Parliament to answer some questions relating to her ministry.
She had been scheduled by the Business Committee of the House as captured in the Order Paper of Thursday, October 24, 2019, to respond to some questions standing in the name of two MPs; Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri) and Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwame Dafeamekpor (South Dayi).
Even though the House was informed by the Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu that she had travelled outside the country no reason was assigned to her absence.
In her absence, as has been the convention in the House, her deputy should have represented her or at best a communication from the Chief Director of the Ministry informed the House why the Minister and her deputy, Francis Kingsley Ato Codjoe, could not appear on the floor of Parliament to answer the questions standing in the name of the two MPs.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, worried about the phenomenon, advised that leadership of Parliament meets all Ministers and Heads of Departments and Agencies prior to returning from recess to address the situation of ministers not appearing in the House to answer to questions as planned by the Business Committee.
The Speaker having listened to arguments advanced by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House suspended sitting for some time to enable the Clerk to comply with his directive.
After resuming sitting, the House was informed by the Chief Director of the Ministry that the deputy Minister had also travelled outside Accra.
The Speaker having listened to the Chief Director further directed that any Minister scheduled to appear before the House to respond to questions and whose official duties conflict with the date set to appear before Parliament should notify the legislature in writing.