…DACF Administrator to Brief House on redirection of Funds
Minister for Communications, the Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has been summoned to appear before Parliament to brief the House on the infamous US$89.4 million Kelni GvG contract.
To also make an appearance is the administrator of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF), Madam Irene Naa Torshie Addo, who has been directed to brief the Committee of the Whole on some pertinent issues of disbursement of the fund.
2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin who gave the directives stressed that it is appropriate to have the Minister and the Administrator appear before the whole House and give briefings on the matters.
The summons, he said, is important in order to provide information to Ghanaians through their representatives on the floor of the House in view of the fact that these issues have generated public interest and led to lot of discourse.
He urged the leadership to schedule the Minister and the Administrator to appear anytime next week.
Hon. Alban Bagbin noted that contrary to arguments that the Committee on Communications has formerly invited the Minister on the same matter, it would be appropriate for her to rather brief the entire House because rules have not yet been developed for Committees to open their sittings to the general public.
“This is the instrument that the House has decided to use and so I direct the Business Committee to schedule the Minister to appear before the House on an appropriate day next week to brief the house on this matter,” he stated.
The Speaker noted that it is expedient for the Administrator of the DACF to address the Committee of the Whole in view of the fact it is the House that approved the Common Fund disbursement formula.
According to him, if there is any information contrary to what the house approved, the Administrator should be properly summoned to explain to the House why there are differences with what Parliament approved.
“Whatever the situation the House should be briefed so that members would be in a proper position to inform and get the reaction of the general public to be able to implement government policies,” he stated.
MP for Banda, the Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim who made the application to summon the DACF Administrator, informed the House that there has been redirection of funds from the District Assemblies beyond the policy and the approval giving by the House.
According to him, 53.3% of the fund per the formula was expected to be disbursed directly to the District Assemblies but noted there is yet another directive besides what was approved by the House, which is taking 80% of the fund from the assemblies and redirected to the DACF administration.
Parliament, he said, is the House of the representative of the people and therefore if there is a major shift in policy, they need to be informed and urged the Speaker to summon the DACF Administrator and the Minister for Local Government to give justification for this directive and the rationale behind it.
Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongue who made the application to summon the Minister for Communications, argued that the attention of the entire country has been engaged on the Kelvin GvG contract matter.
He indicated that the national debate would make it appear Parliament is not being proactive because while Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have taken up the matter and are discussing it while Parliament has been silent.
“Mr. Speaker, this is not a matter that can be resolved in the media. Parliament would have to carry out its oversight responsibility to the extent that the public is beginning to get the impression that the House is not interested or is abdicating its task.”
“Parliament should consider programming the Minister for Communication to brief the House so that we can have some clarity and the House can take it up when necessary to satisfy Ghanaians that we are carrying out our oversight responsibilities,” he stated.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org