General News of Wed, 31 Jan 201837
NDC presents Finance Minister with three daggers; resign, get sacked, face court
The Minority in Parliament has repeated an 11-month old demand for the Finance minister to resign because of allegations of conflict of interest in the raising of $2.5bn on the international market.
Led by their leader Haruna Iddrisu, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs point to a CHRAJ report as an endorsement of their accusations first made in April 2017.
Photo: Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu, deputy Minority leader James Avedzi and former Finance minister Ato Casiel Forson
The report pointed out that the Finance minister violated constitutional, statutory, regulations and guidelines when he issued the $2.5bn bond, the MPs claim.
The statement from the Minority explained each of the breaches including Section 56 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016 and a constitutional breach of Article 181 of the1992 constitution.
The Minority leader also said a Bank of Ghana guideline was breached when the Finance minister gave only one day notice of trading in the bond when the regulations required two-weeks' notice.
The Minority leader says these violations are "willful" and makes an extra day the minister spends in office "untenable".
The NDC MPs say they are also "surprised" that the NPP and government still insist that the minister, the president's key ally, was cleared of conflict of interest which appears to be the NDC's favourite charge against the minister.
The Minority in Parliament said the accusation of conflict of interest found some endorsement in the CHRAJ report which stated;
“The Finance Minister’s extensive interests in the securities market through shareholding in several companies that operate within the sector, some of whom were contacted by the Bookrunners on this particular bond, always raises the potential for conflict of interests.”
"We in the Minority feel strongly vindicated by the report", the Minority leader addressed journalists at Parliament Wednesday.
Buoyed by the report, the NDC MPs have stepped up their demand for the minister's resignation. This time they have given him a 14-day deadline to meet this demand.
If he fails to do so, the NDC MPs say they won't wait for the option of the president sacking him, they will trigger a rarely used parliamentary procedure to get the minister sacked - a motion of censorship.
But the motion explained in Article 82 of the 1992 constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the 275 MPs to pass.
The Minority is made up of 106 MPs and will need at least 77 MPs from the Majority before their motion can have the remotest chance of succeeding.
Support from the NPP MPs is certainly unlikely as Ken Ofori-Atta remains a respected figure within the Akufo-Addo government.
The Minority completed their demands with a request for the prosecution of the Finance minister.
The Minority also reserved some strong words for the President whom they accuse of practising "extreme nepotism" and running a government of his family, friends and business interests.
They say the president sends weak signals of his commitment to fighting corruption if "familial" connections overshadow his "sacred" duty to uphold the constitution by sacking the minister.