The five-member Adhoc Committee probing the alleged levies collected by the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the cedi equivalent of various sums up to US$100,000.00, has told the sector Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen that no matter how smart he is, he can never outsmart the committee.
A member of the Committee, Dr. Dominic Ayeni, had sought to find out from the Trade & Industry Minister why he didn’t refer the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into between the Ministry and the Millennium Excellence Foundation, organisers of the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, to the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General for advice.
My Kyeremateng had told the committee that the Ministry was not responsible for the program schedule and responsibilities of the event organisers.
Further to that, since there was no commitment from his outfit, there was no need to waste time precious “Executive” time to disturb the Attorney-General.
But Dr. Ayeni however seemed not convinced with the answers from the sector Mr. Kyerematen.
“Hon [Alan Kyerematen], I know you are very smart but … When we get to the MoU document, I will tell you why you should have referred it to the Attorney-General for advice”, he noted.
His comment drew a quick response from Mr. Kyerematen saying “oh oh oh oh…”
Despite the insistence from the Dr. Ayeni that the MoU should have been referred to the Attorney-General for advice, Mr. Kyerematen maintained his stance.
The Trade & Industry Minister had appeared before the Adhoc committee chaired by the Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, as a witness in the alleged matter and related matters during the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards held in Accra.
On January 5, 2018, the Minority Chief Whip moved a motion at an emergency Parliamentary sitting calling on the House to investigate the alleged levies collected by the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the Ghana Cedi equivalent of various sums up to US$100,000.00 from expatriate businesses and related matters during the recently held Ghana Expatriates Business Awards in Accra.
According to him, the documents at his disposal clearly showed that some monies were collected from expatriates, noting that such was unethical.
The motion was seconded by the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu debating the motion told the House that the mover of the motion himself did not sign the affidavit attached to his motion.
Apart from that 28 MPs whose names were captured in the list of 77 as having signed to the affidavit calling for the emergency sitting had no signature against their names.
Some of the Members include the Second Deputy Speaker, Hon Alban Bagbin, MP for Asunafo South, Hon. Eric Opoku, MP for Asutifi South, Collins Dauda, MP for Damongo, Adam Mutawakilu, MP for Korle Klottey, Zenator Rawlings, MP for Ablekuma South, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije and Felicia Adjei, MP for Kintampo South.
The rest are MP for Agona East, Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr, MP for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, and MP for Sekyere Afram Plains, Alex Adomako Mensah among others.
He told the House that based on the procedural irregularities which he considered to be gross abuse of the processes of Parliament, it was important for the Speaker to dismiss “what we have before us is incompetence”.
However, the Speaker after listening to the debate on the issue ruled that even though there were procedural irregularities in the motion filed by the minority, the matter before the House was of grave importance.
He therefore directed the House be suspended for thirty minutes to enable the mover of the motion to correct the procedural irregularities.
But such correction was not done when the House resumed sitting.
The Speaker ruling on the matter directed that a five-member committee be set up to investigate the matter.
The five are; Majority Chief Whip, Kwesi Ameyaw Cheremeh, Chairman, MP for Adenta, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, MP for New Juabeng South, Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah, MP for Ketu North, James Klutse Avedzi and MP for Bolgatanga, Dominic Ayeni.
The terms of reference to committee include;
1. When did the matter under consideration arise?
2. Can it be perceived in terms of what the lawyers normally describe as Novus Actus Intervenus – is it something new that has arisen?
3. Will the matter has been raised during the regular sitting session with prudent vigilance?
4. Has the matter been raised in any form or whatsoever during the session and why raise it in the moment Parliament goes on recess?
The Committee, according to the Speaker, is to submit its report on January 24, 2018.