Saturday, 21 January 2017

Questions The Minority MPs On The Parliamentary Committee Vetting President Akufo-Addo's Ministerial Nominees Ought to Ask

The vetting of President Akufo-Addo's nominees for ministerial positions in his New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is a very important task that Parliament is performing for the nation.

It is vital that any information proving that a particular nominee is not suitable to be a minister in the new NPP government  is provided by the general public to members of the  parliamentary committee undertaking  the vetting, the Appointments Committee.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress' (NDC) parliamentarians  who are members of the Appointments Committee vetting the president's ministerial nominees have a crucial role to play in the vetting process.

They must ensure that the nominees are properly grilled and that the process is not a mere rubber-stamping one - as that will not be helpful to our country and its people: whose interests they must safeguard at all material times.

The object of their questioning ought to be the creation of a public record in the House of the answers they elicit from the nominees - so they can  always  be referred to in future should the need  to do so ever arise.

Going forward into the future, one hopes that the Akufo-Addo era will usher in a period during which our nation will  be governed only by honest and principled men and women of good conscience, who will always put the people's  well-being and the nation's best interests above party advantage and  self-interest.

Members of the  new NPP administration must never forget that it was the widespread feeling amongst ordinary people that those administering  their nation's affairs had morphed into a vampire-elite that lost the NDC the  2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

In that regard, in light of previous news reports about allegations made against them in law courts, the NDC parliamentarians must be well-briefed for the vetting of Catherine Afeku (against whom allegations of a criminal nature involving fraud were made in a Ghanaian law court years ago), and Abubakar Boniface Siddique (against whom bribery allegations claiming that he  withdrew £25,000 paid into a UK bank account  by Mabey and Johnson whiles he was works minister were made - in an English law court that convicted that British engineering company in a case in which the UK's Serious Fraud Office obtained one of its first criminal convictions of a major British company under the Bribery Act).

Since the president has vowed to protect the public purse, the NDC members on the Appointments  Committee must ask each of the nominees (and recall those already vetted to answer same) how they intend to protect the public purse in the ministry they will be heading, if their appointments are approved by Parliament.

And because we will definitely not be experiencing rule by saints in the next four years, each of the nominees must also be asked precisely how they will deal with conflict of interest situations should they arise in the course of their work during their tenure.

All the nominees who were not asked that question during their vetting ought to be recalled and made to answer that particular question too - especially the minister of finance-designate Ken Ofori Atta: who additionally must also be asked exactly when he repaid the  Prudential Bank loan apparently 'owed' by the NPP and to show filed tax returns covering the source of the cash used in paying it - the crucial point to note being whether it was repaid before or after  the results of last December's presidential election became apparent.

And if as much as  U.S.$1 million from oil and gas revenues will be distributed to each of the nation's 275 parliamentary constituencies annually - when there are no existing legal measures in place to monitor how they will be  spent because unlike districts they are not legally defined local administrative units (which have strict anti-corruption measures governing all cash expenditures) - then that should be made to excercise the minds of all the nominees: by asking them whether or not they see it breeding grassroots-level  corruption in future too. Their answers should then be placed on public record for future reference.

Above all, the NDC MPs on the Appointments  Committee vetting the president's nominees must ask all those appearing before them, what steps they are taking, or have taken, to ensure that they are in compliance with the law on the declaration of assets by public officials.

Furthermore, they must be made to tell the good people of Ghana,  whether or not they would also go ahead to make that declaration public voluntarily as a sign of their committment to the fight against high-level corruption - bearing in mind that the promise to end high-level corruption in Ghana was a major reason why the NPP won last December's presidential  and parliamentary elections so overwhelmingly.

Without question, publicly publishing the assets of politicians and upper-echelon public officials, and their spouses, is the most effective anti-corruption  measure against high-level corruption there is in any democratic African nation-state dominated by a super-ruthless vampire-elite. Doubtless.

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: enti yewieye paa enei? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

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