The eight-member ad hoc committee constituted by the Speaker of Parliament to assess the vote of censure moved on the floor of the House against the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, has informed the minister that the committee will no longer require him to lead evidence on ground three of the censure motion filed by the Minority in Parliament.
A letter addressed to Ken Ofori-Atta, dated 17 November 2022 and signed by the clerk to the committee, Camillo Pwamang, communicated the committee’s decision to the Finance Minister.
“The Committee wish to bring to the attention of the Hon. Minister that the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Public interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) attended upon the Committee and gave evidence in respective of Ground Three contained in the Motion of Censure.
“The Committee found the evidence from the two Institutions satisfactory and accordingly the Hon. Minister is not required to lead evidence in respective of the said Ground” the committee’s letter read.
The committee further indicated in their letter that its sitting to provide the Minister a hearing will come off as scheduled on Friday, 18 November 2022 at 10am at Committee Rooms 1&2, Administration Block, Parliament House.
Overall, the proponents of the motion of censure (the Minority Caucus in Parliament), stated seven grounds for triggering Article 82 of the 1992 constitution.
Grounds shot down
The first of seven grounds aggregated by the Minority for their motion on censure states as follows: “Despicable conflict of interest ensuring that he [Ken Ofori-Atta], directly benefits from Ghana’s economic woes as his companies receive commissions and other unethical contractual advantages, particularly from Ghana’s debt overhang.”
It was shot down following a strong constitutional argument by Gabby Otchere-Darko, counsel for the Finance Minister, at the first hearing of the committee on 15 November 2022, on the subject matter of conflict of interest.
The third of the seven grounds which states; “Illegal payment of oil revenues into offshore accounts in flagrant violation of Article 176 of the 1992 Constitution”, according to the Ad Hoc committee, has been adequately explained away by GNPC and PIAC and the Finance Minister would not be required to provide any additional explanations to same.
To this end, Ofori-Atta’s appearance before the ad hoc committee will be in respect of ground two (“Unconstitutional withdrawals from the Consolidated Fund in blatant contravention of Article 178 of the 1992 Constitution supposedly for the construction of the President’s Cathedral”), ground four (“Deliberate and dishonest misreporting of economic data to Parliament”) and ground five (“Fiscal recklessness leading to the crash of the Ghana cedi which is currently the worst performing currency in the world”).
The sixth ground is “Alarming incompetence and frightening ineptitude resulting in the collapse of the Ghanaian economy and an excruciating cost of living crisis” and the last is “Gross mismanagement of the Ghanaian economy which has occasioned untold and unprecedented hardship”.