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Regional News Wed, 24 Oct 2012

Public Accounts Committee suspends sittings indefinitely

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday suspended sitting indefinitely due to the refusal of Dr. Bejamin Kunbour, Attorney General and Minister of Justice to assist the PAC to peruse the GHc51 million judgement debt payout to embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

The PAC said that in view of the AG’s unwillingness to furnish the committee with vital documents and evidence to support in deliberations on the matter, it would not attend to any other reports until the Speaker of Parliament compelled the Minister to appear before the Committee.

Dr. Kunbour had at his last appearance before the Committee and in a very recent correspondence indicated to the PAC that any contribution he made on the issue would be prejudicial since the Woyome case was in court.

The PAC at its sitting yesterday, Tuesday, October 23, 2012, indicated that it had communicated to the Speaker to subpoena the Minister before the Committee to enable it to interrogate the issue satisfactorily according to the dictates of the constitution.

PAC Chairman, Albert Kan-Dapaah said the PAC would not be considering other reports until the Speaker ordered the Minister to appear before the Committee. He said it was pertinent that the Minister appeared before the PAC and provide it with relevant documents to interrogate the matter.

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Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the PAC’s Vice Chairman also questioned the propriety of public office holders refusing to appear before Parliamentary Committees, stating that it undermined the integrity of constitutionally mandated institutions of State.

Isaac Kwame Asiamah, MP for Atwima Mponua said the refusal of the Minister to appear before the committee violated the standing orders of the House, urging the office of the Speaker to expedite action to bring the AG before the PAC in accordance with the Rule of Law.

However, Sege MP Alfred Abayatey stated that the PAC cannot preempt the Speaker actions regarding the issue and advised that the committee sought her guidance on the way forward.

The Chairman, on his part noted, that, since the committee cannot interrogate a matter whose official documents has been hijacked by the Attorney General, it would request the speaker per Standing order 205 to appear before the committee to help facilitate the committee’s work.

Source: GNA
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