The government has granted GH25 million to Parliament to allow it to conduct its business just 24 hours after the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, revealed on the House floor last Thursday that the House was broke.
The Speaker blamed the development on the Ministry of Finance’s failure to transfer the necessary cash to Parliament.
However, shortly after the Speaker’s speech, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, went on the air to refute that claim.
Mr Bagbin stated that he was dissatisfied with the Majority Leader’s response on the radio because it gave the idea that he, the Speaker, was not being truthful about the situation.
Mr Bagbin stated on the floor of Parliament on Friday that he could give documentary evidence to establish that the House had been deprived of funds.
“In Ghana, Parliament is not supreme; it is subject to the Constitution, thus when the Speaker speaks as the Leader of the House, the Majority Leader should not be considered as the one who contradicts what the spokesman of the government says.”
“So it saddens me to hear that the leader of the MPs, in response to what I stated on Thursday, went on the broadcast to declare what I said is not true,” the Speaker remarked.
Following his report, the administration, he claims, continued to release the funds to allow the House to function.
“I will not tolerate it when the Majority Leader constantly goes on the air to contradict what I say, especially when I say it in the chair.”
“I am in charge here, and I will remain in charge until my term expires unless you decide as members to remove me as Speaker of the House by a three-quarters vote,” the Speaker added.
“Please, this is the last time I will mention it, and this is sufficient notice to anyone who believes he has the same authority as the Speaker.”
I shall bring this to the Conclave when the House reconvenes next Tuesday.
We’ll talk about it as a group in the pre-sitting sessions before we meet on Tuesday.
“Enough already,” Mr Bagbin remarked. Majority press conference
During a news conference last Thursday in response to the Speaker’s announcement, the Majority Chief Whip and MP for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, revealed that the government had released GH25 million to Parliament for goods and services.
He alleged that the Majority Leader informed the Clerk to Parliament and the Chief Accountant of Parliament of the release of the cash before leaving for Kumasi last Thursday.
“At the time the Speaker was lamenting, the release had been officially effected and was simply going through the procedures.”
“The message comes from the Finance Ministry and is routed through the Controller to the Bank of Ghana before it reaches Parliament’s accounts.”
“Interestingly, around 3 p.m., I received confirmation from Parliament that the money had really hit the accounts,” Mr. Annoh-Dompreh added.
He also said that the Controller and Accountant General’s Office had confirmed that an outstanding GH50million for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) had been released to that body.