Ghana's parliament will begin vetting a
list of minister-designates of President John Evans Atta-Mills today in the
capital, Accra. The parliament appointments committee will begin vetting all 35
executives nominated by the president for various ministerial positions. The
minister designates are expected
to take turns answering questions from
members of the appointments committee about themselves and the various
ministries they would be managing. Parliament also urged members of the public
with information or questions for any of the minister-designates to make them
available to the committee before the vetting process begins today. The
Honorable Felix Twumasi-Appiah is a member of the appointments committee. He
tells reporter Peter Clottey that the committee would stay above partisan
politics in today's hearing.
and foremost, the appointment committee, our mandate as per our constitution
and our standing orders in parliament, is supposed to determine the suitability
or otherwise of a nominee to become a minister of state. So that is exactly
what we intend to do on the appointment committee when we sit on Friday and
beyond. So we are going to determine the suitability of the individual nominee
to the positions as per the president's appointment, and then we will advise
the president accordingly," Twumasi-Appiah
He said the committee would
also determine a variety of things about the nominees in order for them to know
what line of action to take.
"So what is going to happen
is that we have to determine their suitability in that they would have to swear
an oath to have to do with their capacity as individuals persons as to whether
they would be able to hold up the positions assigned to them to compliment the
president's vision. And also meeting the many aspirations of the ordinary
Ghanaian as to why they voted for the president. So for us, our basic
requirement is to determine the suitability of the nominees as to whether they
would be able to hold those positions or otherwise," he said.
Twumasi-Appiah said the
appointments committee would stay above partisan politics.
"What Ghanaians should expect
from us is the best job, and they should expect that as a committee, we would
be doing our best as prescribed by the constitution and by the standing orders
of the parliament of the republic of Ghana. We are not going to fall short of
any of our standing orders or the constitutional mandate for us to do what we
ought to do or what we have to do,"
He said if the committee
finds any of the nominees to be unfit for the office, the committee would
advise President Atta-Mills accordingly.
"If anybody falls short of
the requirement, Ghanaians should expect us to just tell the president that
'excuse me Mr. President, we believe that this minister cannot be a minister',"
Twumasi-Appiah the committee
would conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain whether a nominee is
qualified or not in order carry out its constitutional mandate.
"You would very much recall
that during the parliament before the present one, we had certain
recommendations and certain memoranda about some of the minister-designates
coming up, and we had to disqualify some ministers. And some Ghanaians recalled
me saying that I have failed about three ministers in President John Kufuor's
administration, and that what would become of me this time around since I'm a
member of parliament of the ruling party? We are not going to leave any stone
unturned. All those allegations that have been brought forth would be
investigated before any action is taken," Twumasi-Appiah pointed out.
He said if any of the
ministers designate is adjudged to have flouted any law, that individual would
be rejected and sent to the proper authorities for them to face the full rigors
of the law.
"The parliamentary select
committee or the appointments committee is a equivalent to a high court in
sitting. The only difference is that we cannot sentence anybody to let say a
prison term. What it means is that if we have anybody that we believe strongly
that has breached the laws of the Republic of Ghana, we can recommend the
person to the appropriate institution for them to be taken care of. What it
means is that we are going to sit and listen to all those allegations and then
make our recommendations to the appropriate institutions. Once we think that
the allegations are nothing but just mere rumor, we will allow the appropriate
institution to investigate them and then come back with a recommendation to the
committee. And then based on the recommendations, we would take our decision as
and how we deem it fit," he said.
political pressure group calling itself Alliance for
Accountable Governance is generating controversy after recently accusing some
of the minister-designates of being unfit to hold state office.
The group singled out Hannah
Tetteh, minister designate for Trade and Industry, alleging that while serving
as a Member of Parliament for Awutu-Afutu constituency from 2001 to 2005, she
simultaneously held a full-time position with the Ghana Agro Food
Company. They contend that her conduct contravenes the constitution and is
dishonorable because she drew salaries and other benefits from the Consolidated
Fund of Ghana.
But Hannah Tetteh denies any
wrongdoing and is threatening to take legal action against the group for