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Why five Akufo-Addo nominees were not approved by the Appointments Committee

Five ministerial nominees out of the 30 so far vetted have reportedly received red flags from the Minority MPs on Parliament’s Appointments Committee to reappear for further questioning.

They are Communication and Digitalization Minister-nominee Ursula Owusu-Ekuful; Railway Minister-nominee John Peter Amewu; Roads Minister-nominee, Kwasi Amoako-Attah; Attorney General and Minister of Justice-nominee Godfred Dame; and Health Minister-nominee Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

Made up of a total of 26 members – 13 each from the NDC and the NPP Caucuses – the Committee began the constitutionally mandated vetting process on February 10 and are expected to finish on March 9.

In a report sighted by GhanaWeb, the NDC MPs led by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu have outlined reasons for their decision.

1) Kwaku Agyeman-Manu (MP)

a) The Minister-designate for Health is required to provide further and better particulars on the mysterious Frontiers Healthcare Services Limited’s US$150 airport antigen test.

b) The nominee is required to clarify the procurement process, particularly as he had told the committee that the Presidential Task Force and the Ghana Health Service were the procurement entities – a claim which is later turning out to be false.

c) We demand to know the real persons associated with Frontiers and the specific persons government related to.

d) We need satisfactory answers on how the US$150 cost was arrived at.

e) We seek further clarification on how the US$150 was shared amongst the parties to the contract and how much has been made so far.

f) We shall be demanding answers on the tax obligations of Frontiers.

g) We are concerned about the flagrant breach of our laws and the dangerous disregard for compliance standards in the execution of the contract. We insist on knowing those responsible for these violations.

h) Another issue of concern is the nominee’s apparent false claims under oath on the status of work at the La General Hospital. We intend to pursue further clarification on the matter.

2) Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (MP)

a) The Minister-designate for Communications is required to provide further clarification on the criteria used for the closure of radio stations across the country.

b) The nominee is expected to respond to empirical concerns on the apparent discrimination against a certain category of radio stations during the audit and closures of the stations.

c) We demand concrete evidence from the nominee on her claims that the Kelni GVG contract has resulted in monthly savings of US$1.1 million.

d) The appointee must respond to lingering concerns about the seeming lack of sincerity in her apology to NDC MPs when she accused the group of taking leave of their senses in 2020.

3) John-Peter Amewu (MP)

a) The Minister-designate for Railways is expected to clarify a number of issues relating to the PDS contract. Of particular interest is how much revenue was collected by PDS and the outstanding claims by PDS on the government.

b) The nominee is also required to provide further clarification on his role and proximity during the 27th of December, 2020 assault of Mr Emmanuel Aziaka, a bailiff from the Ho High Court by alleged thugs associated with the former Energy Minister.

4) Kwesi Amoako-Arthur (MP)

a) The Minister-designate for Roads and Highways was unconvincing [or] opaque on the matter relating to the US$570 million Accra-Tema Road expansion project.

b) We note that the same project was valued at US$480 million in an earlier PPP arrangement.

c) He must clarify his role in signing the contract with Mota-Engil Engenharia & Construcao Africa without cabinet and parliamentary approvals.

d) There are also concerns about the criteria he relied upon to pay debts owed contractors which seems to offend Article 296 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

5) Godfred Yeboah Dame

a) The Minister-designate for Attorney-General and Justice appears to have blatantly misled the committee on the true facts about the bail secured by the lawyers of Gregory Afoko. He is required to provide the much-needed clarification on this all-important human right issue. We will in that regard want to ascertain if he did not peddle an untruth under oath.

b) The nominee failed to provide satisfactory answers on his role as a member of the governing board of the Public Procurement Authority during the scandal involving the disgraced former PPA Chief Executive Officer, Adjenim Boateng Adjei. He would be requested to come clean, particularly based on what is now known to our side of the committee. His evasiveness and lack of candour on this matter in issue have left much to be desired.

c) It is our estimation that the former Deputy Attorney General was not sufficiently candid and forthright when he created the impression in response to a question about possible abuse of discretionary authority over post-election commentary by Hon. Inusah Fuseini and Hon. Kennedy Agyapong that he had no mandate to assist his boss at the time as they both had no mandate after January 6 when he knew the said statements were made in December 2020 at which time he was at post and cloaked with authority. A further probe into this matter is therefore being requested by the NDC caucus on the Appointments Committee.

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