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Ghana: Minority in Parliament Calls for Accountability

In Ghana, the minority in parliament is asking for a break down of the twenty million dollars that was used to organize the fiftieth independence celebrations. This follows what the minority called the government’s “refusal” to account for monies used for the celebrations. But the government says the minority should wait for next year’s auditor’s auditor general report.

Alban Bagbin is the minority leader in Ghana’s parliament. He said the minority wanted to find how the funds earmarked for the independence celebrations were spent.

“The minority had to take up this task of further inquiry into how the twenty million loan that was approved by parliament has been spent by the national planning committee and the secretariat of Ghana@50 celebrations…we insisted that both the minister and chief executives of the planning committee to appear before us. The minister appeared before the committee without the chief executive,” he said.

Bagbin accused members of the majority for questioning the mandate of the parliamentary committee chairman.

“Members of parliament on the majority side decided to side with the minister and chief of staff and made the committee uncontrollable. The chairman could not manage proceedings at the committee. And they were rather questioning the authority of the chairman to invite the chief executive to appear before the committee,” Bagbin pointed out.

He said the government’s attitude was not convincing.

“Many questions were left unanswered and the minister for presidential affairs, Kojo Mpianim, simply gave bulk figures, and that was not satisfactory,” he said.

Bagbin said the minority had earlier asked for a break down of the funds that were used for the celebration.

“When the application came before parliament for the approval of the loan, the minority wanted a break down of the money as to the items that they wanted to spend the money on. The government pleaded with the minority to approve it and that they were going to submit that later on. Now, these details of the budget were not submitted to parliament,” he noted.

Bagbin said the minority called for accountability when some purchases were made without explanation from the government.

“We saw that the government was importing 250 luxury cars; jaguars and Benz cars and other things. Then we started looking at the prudence of that expenditure, and therefore we had to call the chief executive who was in charge to appear before the committee to answer questions to that effect,” he said.

Bagbin said the government should be ready to be accountable to the people anytime.

“They completely don’t understand what is called good governance. In good governance, the government must be open, transparent and accountable…what we are insisting on is the openness and transparency to make sure that what they actually want to do is accepted by the people, and that it will be in the interest of the people,” he said.