MPs urged to wait till motion on finance minister censure matures

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Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance
Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance

Mr Andrew Asiamah Amoako, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament has urged Members of the House to wait patiently till the maturity of the motion on a vote of censure on Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister.

The Second Deputy Speaker, presiding as Speaker, gave the advice on Tuesday on the floor of the House, when Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader drew his attention to some procedural issues concerning the motion, so that the House could be guided by them.

Mr Amoako, who commended the Deputy Majority Leader for his advocacy said the issue with regards to the censure motion on the Finance Minister had already been dealt with by the Speaker himself (Mr Alban Bagbin) on Thursday, October 27.

“At that time last week, I was here when you raised this same issue and Mr Speaker ruled that the motion was proper. So, I think we will patiently wait till the motion matures and see what unfolds that day,” Mr Amoako stated.

The motion for censure of the Finance Minister was filed by Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip and 128 other Members of Parliament (MP).

Mr Afenyo-Markin in his submission indicated that it was a repetition of an application and that if one looked critically at the motion, it contained some ex-cathedra matters; saying, “the motion paper contains some ex-cathedra matters, that cannot be seen to be matters grounded in facts.”

He said upon careful perusal of the constitution, there was a provision under article 82, which required the Minister to be heard in a defence; and that there was the need for the House to look at all the road blocks and address them before the day arrived.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, in a rebuttal said the House was being governed, by the 1992 Constitution and its Standing Orders; and that the matter to which the Deputy Majority Leader was referring to, was an attempt to resurrect a matter to which the Speaker had already made a pronouncement on.

He said the Speaker’s pronouncement was that the motion was meritorious and competent, which had been admitted by him the Speaker.

“But Mr Speaker, to respond to him (Mr Afenyo-Markin), I will just say that the Speaker had ruled, and you must show respect to the ruling of the Speaker. If he has any disagreement on the ruling of the Speaker, he knows what to do.”
Mr Iddrisu noted that the Minority Caucus do not have the minimum threshold to succeed in a censure but he was also well aware that voting on the matter would be secret and would be by secret ballot.

He said he would count his colleagues on the Majority side who had demonstrated publicly, and that he trust that they would not abandon ship, because they told the world that they were guided and advised by their constituents.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader said he agreed with the Minority Leader that once the Speaker had admitted a motion, it was competent before the House.

“I would have thought that such motions would pass through the usual channels – the Business Committee for us to programme same but the Business Committee doesn’t know anything about it. It appears somebody is sitting somewhere and directing affairs….,” he said.

“But Mr Speaker, I agree with the Minority Leader that it is a competent motion before the House. and in the fulness of time, whatever must be done to it, would be done to it.”

He said the Deputy Majority Leader was just raising a principle and a fundamental issue; and that Article 82 (4) of the constitution declares that “A Minister of State in respect of whom a vote of censure is debated under clause (3) of this article is entitled, during the debate, to be heard in his defence”.

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