Debates of 20 Feb 2014

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT 10:30 a.m.

OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 10:30 a.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 10:30 a.m.

ACCRA 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 10:30 a.m.

OF GHANA 10:30 a.m.

PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES 1:59 p.m.

OFFICIAL REPORT 1:59 p.m.

CONTENTS 1:59 p.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS -- 1:59 p.m.

VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 1:59 p.m.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS -- 1:59 p.m.

STATEMENTS -- 1:59 p.m.

SECOND READING OF BILLS -- 1:59 p.m.

PAPERS -- 1:59 p.m.

CONSIDERATION STAGE OF BILLS -- 1:59 p.m.

THE 1:59 p.m.

PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC 1:59 p.m.

MR SPEAKER
PRAYERS 10:30 a.m.

ANNOUNCEMENTS 10:30 a.m.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT 10:30 a.m.

OFFICE OF PARLIAMENT 10:30 a.m.

PARLIAMENT HOUSE 10:30 a.m.

ACCRA 10:30 a.m.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC 10:30 a.m.

OF GHANA 10:30 a.m.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is a constitutional obligation which the President has fulfilled and I believe he must be commended for conforming with the constitutional provision. However, given the fact that some eight years ago, the issue about the travels of the then President became a thorny issue even in this House, may we know how many times our dear President has travelled outside the country ever since he became the President? And also when he was the Vice President travelling for and on behalf of the then President --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, are you asking the Speaker a question or making a statement?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is an honest inquisition. Perhaps, the Leader of Government Business will want to profer an answer. But seeing how he is turning his chin, I do not know whether he is minded to answer the question.
Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my prayer this morning was the Lord's prayer and that he should deliver me from temptation -- [Laughter]--
Thank you.
VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT 10:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Members, we do not have any Official Report for correction. So, we move on to item 3 on the Order Paper.
Question time.
Hon Members, we have the Hon Minister for Finance in our midst to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
Question number 42 standing in the name of the Hon Member for Ho Central
-- 10:30 a.m.

ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 10:30 a.m.

MINISTRY OF FINANCE 10:30 a.m.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, since the Hon Member asking the Question has not proposed any amendment to the Question, I may want to know from the Hon Minister whether the proposal was taken at a particular summit.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Member, the Minister for health came to this House. It is a matter of official report and told this House -- in response to the upgrade of the teaching hospital for Ho Regional Hospital -- that he has submitted proposal to the Ministry of Finance. It was for that purpose that the Hon Member for Ho Central is doing a follow up on the status of the proposal submitted to him.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Are you raising an objection to the question?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
So, why are you asking of the response to the Question?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have no intention of arresting the Question. I am just asking what the nature of the Question is. Was it a proposal that was taken at a summit? This is because the Question indicates -- Mr Speaker if I may read --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, I have admitted the Question. If there is time for supplementary questions you will have the opportunity to do a follow up. So, let the Hon Minister respond to the Question and then when it comes to supplementary questions you can ask the relevant follow-up questions.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect, if you may have the patience to listen to me and if you have read the Question -- Mr Speaker, I do not know whether you have read the Question carefully. That is why I am asking whether it was taken at a summit. This is because the proposal is to ask the Minister for Finance what action he has taken on the proposal submitted -- So, I am asking whether it was a decision that was taken at a summit. So, I am not arresting it --
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Minority Leader, do not create unnecessary mischief --
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect, this is not mischief.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Minister, answer the Question.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
It is important to note that STL Group is not a financial institution, and therefore,

we are in excess dealing with essentially a Supplier's Credit Agreement which is not a normal way of delivery of hospital projects. The hospital, when completed will also serve as the teaching hospitals for the University College of Allied Sciences in that region.

Mr Speaker, for the benefit of the House, I wish to state that the indicative financing terms for these commercial facility were as follows:
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon Minister, are you amending portions of your response? If you are doing so, then you should draw the attention of the House to it.
Mr Terkpeh 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, with your kind permission, I was providing additional information. I should have sought your permission, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
No! You do not need to; you just have to inform the House that you are providing additional information, so that the Hansard Department will capture your Answer as provided on the floor of the House.
Mr Terkpeh 10:30 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I wish to update the Answer
SPACE FOR PRELIMINARY 10:30 a.m.

Mr Kpodo 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, can I ask the Hon Minister to explain whether he classifies a teaching hospital which is in the social sector as coming under one of those categories, of enterprises which can take loans and repay, based on their operations?
Mr Terkpeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, what I did say was that, given the new national debt strategy, it is the intention of Government to segregate a range fence commercial facilities, in order to free grants and concessional facilities for social infrastructure projects like hospitals. I did not imply that the university was in the nature of a State-owned enterprise. I was just providing information with respect to how that policy will work and eventually free concessional financing for social infrastructure projects. A teaching hospital could repay the facility if it has, let us say, research and other quasi commercial activities.
So, it could repay either in full or partially but the term sheet that we have, did not suggest that these teaching hospitals we have presently, are able to pay for the facility either from the internally generated funds or activities that will be of a commercial nature and attach the hospital, which will then be available to assist in the payments, not necessarily only of the facility.
Mr Kpodo 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would further ask what time the Hon Minister has in mind for the freeing of Government guaranteed loans that will establish this hospital for the use of the University of Health and Allied Sciences. This is because the university has been established, students are there and they need to be trained.
Mr Terkpeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we are aware of the needs of the university, especially the new universities that have been established. It is in this regard that as I stated, when the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital facility -- the new one on the Legon campus was being negotiated. Some amount was made available for the upgrade of facilities in the Volta Region, in order that it can begin serving the needs and interests of the students while facilities are secured at preferably a concessional basis or grant basis to construct an entirely new facility or teaching hospital.
We are taking steps to implement the policy that was presented to this House by setting up the Advisory Committee for the Ghana Infrastructure Fund and that Advisory Committee in due course will be submitting a report to His Excellency.
One of the things, by way of a milestone, which is what the Hon Member wants to know, is the likelihood -- in fact, in all probability, we would come to this House to give the facility the necessary legal backing, in order that we can implement it effectively. It will take a bit of time for that Infrastructure Fund to build up the necessary requirements and gain the credibility that is required in order that it will be able to attract facilities on this loan without Government guarantee.
We are not eliminating Government guarantees completely. What we are saying is that we would want to use other insurance and partial loans guarantee instruments as other countries do to minimise commercial risks in order that when we get concessional facilities from the World Bank and African Develop- ment Bank, which would normally be repayable over longer periods. Even with our lower middle income status, we can channel them towards social infras- tructure couriers like hospitals and schools.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Your last supplementary question.
Mr Kpodo 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my Question was about time frame. Is it one year or two years? My people would like to know.
Mr Terkpeh 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is precisely for that reason that the Advisory Committee was established. They will have to look at the capacity of State- owned enterprises, joint ventures; they will have to look -- As I indicated, in public, there are some of these institutions which are currently repaying the facility. It is just that we have not referenced them and we intend to do that. But we are not necessarily waiting for the Infrastructure Fund to become operational before we rational our loans.
As I indicated, we have submitted a comprehensive report to Cabinet and I believe the next Cabinet will begin discussion in full of this Report. That report will give a comprehensive list of existing loans. Loans that have been approved in some cases by the House, which are pending signing and then a long list of requests such as the one we are considering now, will be discussed by Cabinet.
Immediately we get the directives from Cabinet with respect to what we have to, what we can do in the interim with concessional and commercial financing, then we will proceed.
Mr Speaker, I wish to assure the House that the new university facilities in the country are of utmost priority to Government.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this new arrangement the Hon Minister for Finance is talking about, I would want to find out from him, what income flows does he anticipate that the Ho Teaching Hospital that we are talking about will generate to enable the hospital to pay itself for the loans that we are arranging for it to contract. I would like to also know whether it is a similar arrangement which is enabling the University of Ghana to be tolling the road that they have used monies for.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Member, the second part of your question is ruled out of order. We are not talking about the University of Ghana toll rules.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:50 a.m.
We are talking about the arrangements.
Mr Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon Agyekum-Manu, are you challenging the Chair?
Mr Agyeman-Manu 10:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, no.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
I have ruled out the second part of your question but I have admitted the first part.
Mr Agyeman-Manu 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you.
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I did explain carefully that we are not putting hospitals at this stage in the full self-financing mechanism that we are trying to implement for the country. What I did say, however, was that even for social infrastructure projects, there could be commercial elements to it, where patients and the public pay for the facility.
There is a specific facility like an equipment, and in that case, it can be envisaged that some payment could flow even for maintenance because invariably, what we normally do is that we install facilities and then we take loans subsequently, to maintain those facilities. So, the idea behind self-financing and others is not necessarily one where we are seeking to recover a hundred per cent of debts in all instances. It is only for the commercial projects such as with the gas processing plants, a dam facility or something of a similar nature.
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the University of Health and Allied Sciences is supposed to train personnel to help improve on health delivery in the country. Currently, they are only doing allied sciences; they cannot start medicine because of lack of certain facilities.
The Hon Minister tells us that the proposal given to them is about US$200 million for the facility to be upgraded. Now, he says that we have a provision of US$3 million available to that. That is a vast difference in what US$3 million can do to upgrade a hospital to do medicine and what it cannot do.
May I take it that from his Answers that the Ho Government Hospital project is perpetually in abeyance, that we do not have funding for and that project cannot go on until these funding issues are resolved?
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in my second update, I talked about the second facility, which is available to the University of Ghana Teaching Hospital. It is out of that facility that I referred to the US$3.7 million, which in conjunction with other upgrades that are taking place all over the country, was meant to provide the immediate first necessary steps for the upgrading, as I indicated of the Ho and I believe, Hohoe Hospitals in order that they would begin to serve the needs of the university.
I have said that recently our attention was drawn to the fact that these would be inadequate and therefore, I added that given the priority that the Government gives to the university, additional sources of funding would be required. But it is our wish that the Ministry of Health would start using the amount that is available for the upgrade of the existing hospitals that have such facilities and which are benefiting some other known teaching hospital facilities that this House has approved.
The health sector has been one sector that has benefitted from significant investments of loans from the country.
Dr A. A. Osei 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, in his Answer, the Hon Minister said the Report had since been submitted to Cabinet. Can he tell the House when it was submitted to Cabinet and if he has any update on Cabinet decision?
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I cannot provide the exact date, but at the last two sittings of Cabinet, we did present a comprehensive report. I am also aware by way of updates that the Cabinet
Secretary has written to all Ministers asking them to submit to the Cabinet Secretariat and provide their priority lists according to the list that was provided and this would form the basis for discussion at a subsequent Cabinet meeting, which date has not yet been fixed.
Mr John Gyetuah 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, at the last paragraph of the Answer given by the Hon Minister, with your permission, I beg to quote:
“Going forward, procurement of financing for priority projects would be done on a more competitive basis, and more importantly, on the directives of Cabinet.”
I would want to find out from him whether he considers the funding and the development of the teaching hospital in Ho as not competitive.
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was presenting a general policy thrust of the proposals that were brought to the House and which were approved. Also you would recall recently, Mr Speaker, that the Public Procurement Agency drew attention to His Excellency's directive that all procurements, which include financing, should be done on a competitive basis. So, I was re-stating the policy that we had presented.
We have not had an occasion to negotiate the terms of those facilities and therefore, I cannot say, as I stand before the House, that it is competitive. But given the six- month libor + 2 to 46 per cent, I would say that this is within range of current commercial facilities that can be secured on a competitive basis from the capital markets.
Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the Hon Minister for Finance that in view of these general statements that he has made about these facilities, it looks like he does not support this particular facility.
Can he be very specific whether he supports this facility?
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to state emphatically that myself, the Ministry as well as the Government support the development of the University of Allied Sciences in the Volta Region. Therefore, as I indicated, after the Cabinet directive, we would follow that directive and secure --
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
He is asking about this particular facility, the STL proposal, which was submitted.
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I take decisions in my capacity based on analysis that is presented to me. As I indicated earlier, Mr Speaker -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
Definitely, you should have a position on this matter, and that is what the Hon Member for Wenchi wants to know; you need to inform this House about what your position is.
Mr Terkpeh 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, this is one of several facilities for social infrastructure, which we have presented to Cabinet for a decision. These are commercial facilities for infrastructure.
Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
What is your position on this facility? This is the question and it will pre-empt a lot of follow-ups.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
Mr Speaker, is the question not soliciting an opinion from the Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
He has given us the details, the facts. He has provided this information and they want to know, is he going to approve it or reject it? That is what the Hon Member for Wenchi is asking.
Dr A. A. Osei 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that answer is provided on page 15. With your permission, let me quote:
“It is also the intention of Government to consolidate the use of all commercial financing facilities to finance projects that can repay commercial loans …”
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Are you also aware that there was a supplementary question whether the facility-- and he said that a certain teaching hospital can pay for itself? So, the Hon Member for Wenchi's question --There are some cases where you can treat a teaching hospital facility as a commercial one, where it can pay. Where we have the research --
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Answer provided by the Hon Minister in respect of Question 42 relates generally to funding arrangements. The new trend -- It does not really talk about what development has occurred there.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister has indicated to us that originally, the development was premixed on a Chinese Grant. Then, they have had to take -- Is it 3.5 or 3.7? So, 3.7 million for the University of Ghana facility. May I know from the Hon

Minister, thus far, how much has been committed to the development of the teaching hospital at Ho and how much of the Chinese Grant has gone into this?
Mr Terkpeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the first part of the Hon Member's question in terms of action that we have taken -- As I have indicated, we have included this in the list of proposals which we have sent to Cabinet and awaiting directives. So, that is the specific action I would say that we have taken on this particular facility.
I am also aware that the project for the University of Ghana facility has begun. Mr Speaker, I would furnish the House with information. I do not have it among my briefs whether the work is currently concentrated, the University of Ghana or the secondary facilities in the Volta Region is also benefiting. But as I said, we had an indication from the Ministry that the amount will be inadequate. But we would provide information to the Table Office for the benefit of Hon Members.
We wanted to be precise. We attempted to get an update of the amounts spent so far on the Chinese Grant Facility. But we could not get the information immediately. So, we would also make that available to Hon Members.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Members, we move to the next Question.
Question number 43 -- Hon Member for Kumawu.
Sale of GoG Shares in SG-SSB
Q.43. Mr Philip Basoah asked the Minister for Finance what necessitated the sale of the Government of Ghana's shares in SG-SSB.
Mr Speaker, by Government of Ghana shares, I refer to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) shares in the SG-SSB.
Mr Terkpeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Government of Ghana has never directly owned shares in SG-SSB since its inception in 1975, except for the shares owned by SSNIT. It should be noted that the Bank is listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).
Mr Speaker, until 2003, SSNIT used to hold the largest shares in SG-SSB Bank. In March, 2003, however, ownership structure of the Bank changed with Societe Generale of France acquiring controlling shares of 51.0 per cent. This has currently risen to 52.24 per cent.
Mr Speaker, SSNIT still holds 22.14 per dent strategically in the Bank while the remaining shares of 25.62 per cent are held by miscellaneous shareholders.
Mr Basoah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, can the Hon Minister say, with authority, that SSNIT still holds that 22.14 per cent shares in
SG-SSB?
Mr Terkpeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I can say that this is information provided to the Ministry by the Management of SSNIT.
Mr Basoah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, is the Hon Minister aware of the plans by SSNIT to sell its shares in SG-SSB?
Mr Terkpeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am not aware, to the extent that -- As the Hon Minister who has oversight of some financial institutions and also for share- holding of government shares directly or indirectly in the case of SSNIT, it will be public interest, I am not aware that SSNIT has put up any proposal for the sale of its shares. But this is an update which we could get from the management of SSNIT and update the House subsequently.
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, your last supplementary question if you have any?
Mr Basoah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it looks as if Government is more interested in selling the State shares in financial institutions. Not too long ago, we witnessed the sale of Government's shares in Merchant Bank. Mr Speaker, I would like to know if there are plans by the Government to sell the State shares in the National Investment Bank (NIB), Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) and the Agricultural Deelopment Bank (ADB).
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon Member, that is not a supplementary question. Your original Question is on SG-SSB.
Mr Justice Joe Appiah 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the private sector is the engine of growth. Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister encourage other State banks to emulate the good partnership with Societe General of France and SSB, but not to sell State shares outright?
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I have ruled the question out of order.
Mr Frank Annor-Dompreh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to know from the Hon Minister -- From his own Answers, he has copiously mentioned SSNIT. If the Hon Minister would tell the entire House whether that very investment done by SSNIT using the taxpayers' money had value for money?
Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
I do not get the import of the question. But Hon Minister, if you got it, then --
Mr Terkpeh 11:10 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I hope I got the import of the question. I would only want to say that it would have been deemed to be a good move in 2003 as it is now for Government to consider floating shares in State Enterprises or divesting, depending on the circumstances of the case at the time.
Mr Kwame G. Agbodza 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Answer provided by the Hon Minister suggests that we have sold shares belonging to the Government of Ghana in banks in 2003. What necessitated the sale of the shares in that bank in 2003? [Pause.]
rose
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
I have not yet admitted the question.
Hon Member, ask your question again.
Hon Members, the Answer provided is that SSNIT is a legal entity in its own right. The Answer is quite clear that Government of Ghana, properly so called, has no shares in the bank but rather it is SSNIT. And that is about the closest that one can link SSNIT to the Government.
So, if you are mentioning Government -- The Answer is that Government has no shares right from its inception. So, can we leave Government out of all these questions?
Mr Agbodza 11:20 a.m.
Let me re-phrase the question.
The SSNIT's interest in the bank was sold or a section of the interest of SSNIT was sold in 2003. What I am saying is that, SSNIT has invested in a few organisations in the country including SG-SSB. Shares have been sold. What necessitated the sale of the shares in 2003 -- because so often, we have heard --
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Minister, if you know why SSNIT sold its shares --
Dr Anthony A. Osei 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister was not physically in Government at that time -- [Uproar] -- So, he has no basis for knowing. Mr Speaker, some of us were in Government
at that time, so, he should be directing the question to us and not the Minister.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Member for Old Tafo, that could be an answer, so, let the Hon Minister answer.
Mr Terkpeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as you rightly pointed out, SSNIT has a Board, SSNIT is established to manage its own investments and SSNIT as a matter of policy, takes decisions and informs the Ministry of Finance. I would expect that at the time this decision was made, it was deemed to be a good policy which the Board of SSNIT did and which decisions it continues to take in similar vein.
Dr Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am just thinking that based on the comment that was made by the Hon Member for Old Tafo, it is important that we correct the records. That indeed, the Government of 2003 might have been out of office, but the documents on the sale and SSNIT are not out of office. So, there is a succession that the Minister can competently find out and inform this House about.
So, we should not put it on record that immediately a Government gets out of office, all its other documents and transactions of its other allied institutions also go out of office.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I believe the observation of the Hon Majority Leader is right. Government is a continuing entity and so, if a Government or a Party, or a particular Administration is no longer in office, the succeeding Administration should continue. So, the pretext and the resort sometimes to issues that we cannot trace documents because the previous Administration left with all the documents cannot be right. It cannot be right!
Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Minister, in paragraph 2 of his Answer, stated that and with your permission, I beg to quote:
“… until 2003, SSNIT used to hold the largest shares in SG-SSB Bank. In March, 2003, however, ownership structure of the Bank changed with Societe Generale of France acquiring controlling shares of
51.0%…”
What used to be the percentage of SSNIT before the change in ownership structure?
Mr Terkpeh 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I do not have that precise information. But we all know that SSNIT used to be the dominant shareholder for the then Social Security Bank, for which reason, it was called “Social Security Bank”.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Question time and on your behalf, I thank the Hon Minister for Finance for attending upon the House to respond to Questions from Hon Members.
Hon Members, item 4 on the Order Paper. I have admitted one Statement --
Dr Kunbuor 11:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wanted to know whether you have discharged the Hon Minister.
Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
Yes, I have done so.
Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement under Standing Order 71 from the Hon Minister of State at the Office of the President and Member of Parliament for Ketu South. You have the floor.
STATEMENTS 11:20 a.m.

Minister of State (Mr Fifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey) 11:20 a.m.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to make a Statement in honour of the late Komla Afeke Dumor.
Mr Speaker, the people of Ketu South and Ghana, on the 18th January, 2014, received with profound shock, the news of the death of a most beloved son, Komla Afeke Dumor, which event occurred in his home in London in the morning of the same day.
Komla Afeke Dumor was born in Accra on 3rd October, 1972. His father, Prof. Ernest Dumor, was a professor of Sociology and his mother, Cecilia Dumor, was into Mass Communication. His grandfather was Philip Gbeho, the composer of our national anthem.
Komla initially studied pre-clinical medicine at the University of Jos, Nigeria. He left the programme midstream and returned home to enroll at the University of Ghana where he graduated in 1998 with a B. A. in Sociology and Psychology. He subsequently obtained an M. A. in Public Administration from the prestigious Havard University.
Mr Speaker, Komla Afeke Dumor began his journalism career at Joy FM in Accra, as a Mobitel Traffic Watch Reporter. He woke up every morning and roamed the city of Accra on a motorbike to identify traffic hot spots. He strove to provide commuters with adequate information that helped them plan their routes. His impeccable command of the English Language and perfect description of traffic situations as well as his golden voice, charmed many hearts and won him many admirers.
Komla rose to prominence after the departure of morning show host Tommy Annan-Forson. Komla took over the Joy morning show, re-branded it and easily made it the number one radio show in the country. He exhibited such profundity of knowledge on virtually every issue that affected the people of Ghana. He demonstrated such confidence, maturity,
Ms Ursula G. Owusu (NPP -- Ablekuma West) 11:30 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to this tribute to a worthy son of Ghana and Africa.
Kombla Dumor lived according to his principles and beliefs. He did his best for his nation and his continent. He gave of himself despite the fact that others tried to denigrate and put him down.
One of the interactions he had with a caller which many of us remember is his interaction with Appiah Stadium. When
Minister for Information and Media Relations (Mr Mahama Ayariga) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to contribute to the Statement made by the Hon Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South in remembrance of the late Komla Dumor.
Mr Speaker, I personally knew Komla as a student in Legon and I was also fortunate to be in the same school with him in the United States of America (USA) when he was doing his programme at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
I was also fortunate to be in Law School at the same time with his wife Kwansema. When I came to Parliament and was Ranking Member for Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, I had the privilege and opportunity to work with his father, Professor Ernest Dumor, when he was assisting Parliament to shepherd through the National Identi- fication Authority Bill.
Mr Speaker, Komla Dumor emerged both at the local and global level at two very historic moments. At the local level, his emergence to prominence took place at the time when Ghana was beginning to
discover the full potential of radio in deepening our democratic culture and democratic institutions. Komla became the icon who took a platform on Joy FM, re- branded it and turned it into a very effective tool for shaping public consciousness and deepening our democratic culture.
At the global level, he emerged at the time when Africa was democratising at a fast pace and Africa economies were emerging and were becoming relevant to a global market. The story of Africa needed to be retold and the narrative needed to be presented by true Africans who were living through those moments and had a better appreciation of what was happening. No doubt, Komla Dumor carried out this task effectively and became an icon.
Mr Speaker, he definitely had shaped the media landscape of this country and had set standards that many still aspire to today. He had been a source of great inspiration to many of the young people of this country. He did not allow his limitations to become barriers to his rise to prominence and many of us take pride in his achievement.
It is sad that he has left us too soon, but I believe his family would be consoled by the great appreciation of the impact that he had been able to make, not just to Ghana but to Africa and the rest of the world within the short period that he lived. We should all take useful lessons from the life of Komla Dumor; by that, we can all aspire to greatness within a short period of time and the resources to do, that is hardwork, determination and conviction of purpose.
Mr Speaker, on that note, let me, once again, console his family, friends and show
that the media landscape would miss a great person.
Ms Freda A. O. Prempeh (NPP -- Tano North) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu South.
Mr Speaker, my heart is saddened. Mr Speaker, Komla's death came as a shock to all of us. When I heard the sad news, I did not want to believe it. I quickly made a few calls to London and I went on the Internet to confirm. Indeed, it was true that Ghana had lost an icon. I think around the same time, we also lost another Journalist, who was then working with Metro TV. Mr Speaker, his death, indeed, was a shock to all of us.
Mr Speaker, Komla or the “Boss Player” as was affectionately known, was indeed, a boss player. Mr Speaker, he rose through the ranks and his name became a household one, not only in Ghana or Africa but all over the world. Mr Speaker, he lifted high the flag of Ghana. Indeed, he was not just a man of great stature and intellect, but a man of great heart, a man of many talents, a man with a great sense of humour and a man with a great sense of empathy.
Mr Speaker, those of us in the media would continue to mourn with the family. indeed, I hope and urge that the young ones in the media, to emulate the humbleness, objectivity and the fairness of a young man who lived for just 41 years on this earth.
I remember when he was adjudged the Best Journalist of the Year, people made a lot of noise about it, but Komla proved his critics wrong; he did, indeed, proved his critics wrong.
Mr Speaker, I hope the young journalists of today would not just put up stories, but would go further to research into stories that they put out there for people to read and listen. I hope his legacy would continue to live with us.
Mr Richard M. Quashigah (NDC -- Keta) 11:40 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement and to mourn with the family of our brother who is no more with us. Indeed, Komla Dumor was the one who affected our generation; Komla Dumor was not just a brother, but was also a colleague professional journalist who burst onto the scene in a tremendous and an extraordinary manner and affected journalism totally.
Though not a trained Journalist, he demonstrated that he was a Journalist straight to the bones and indeed, his journalism did not only end here in Ghana, but it went further afield to the United Kingdom and to the utmost part of our world. Indeed, he demonstrated that he was a star who had been sent in our day and time to affect our generation and to put on the map of Ghana, especially a new style and approach to journalism.
As we mourn Komla today, it is apt to indicate that journalism would forever not remain the same before he came onto the scene. This is because today, a lot of young journalists would endeavour to be like him; a lot of young journalists would continue to take inspiration from the legacy of Komla Dumor. I must say that while at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, and having heard of the
great things that Komla began doing at Joy FM at the time, I was greatly moved.
I yearned to be like him because though I was a trained Journalist, I would humbly say that I never had the clout and the temerity to take journalism to the height that Komla took it. We, indeed, have lost an icon; journalism would forever not be the same here in Ghana.

I would want to conclude by saying that our thoughts would remain with the family, especially his wife and children.

With these few words, Mr Speaker, I am done.
Ms Sarah A. Safo (NPP--Dome/ Kwabenya) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement on the floor and to say that my heart pours out to the family of Komla Afeke Dumor.
Mr Speaker, I would also want to place on record that the late Mr Komla Afeke Dumor still has his family house in my constituency, mainly in Haatso.
So, for the people of Dome, Kwabenya and the representative of the people, we also think that we have lost a great son, a son who has lifted the flag of Ghana up, not only in his country but on the African Continent and on the global level.
I remember my days in the University of Ghana, when every Volta Hall girl would wake up in the morning and the first thing She would want to do was to tune in to
Joy FM, the Super Morning Show, to listen to the informative and educative programme that was hosted by Komla Afeke Dumor [Interruption] -- and the romantic voice, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I think that journalists of today, just as many contributors have said, would emulate the exceptional attitude towards work and not mainly be carried away by money all the time. I am saying this because when Komla started radio or broadcasting, I must say that it was as if it was an evolution and it was the least paid, if I am allowed to say that, yet he was not discouraged by that. He forged on and tried to make a difference and that difference took him to the world, to the BBC where he also made Ghana proud.
Mr Speaker, his contribution towards our good governance system and actually bringing meaning to the right that is enshrined in our Constitution, which is the freedom of speech, cannot be underrated. These were the days when he would put on every politician, scrutinise their activities, scrutinise their work and make sure that indeed, they were working for the good of this country. It took a brave man to do this; it took a visionary to do this and I believe that Komla did that perfectly.
In concluding, Mr Speaker, as the representative of the people of Dome/ Kwabenya and since we still have his family home in the constituency, I would want to make a humble appeal to the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, that in this current project of street naming, he should at least, consider putting Komla Afeka Dumor's name on the road that leads to his family house.
On this note, I will say Komla, rest in perfect peace.
Mr Murtala Mohammed Ibrahim (NDC-- Nanton) 11:50 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I rise to also add my voice in mourning the loss of a great son, not only, our country but a great son of the continent of Africa.
As a young boy growing up, Komla Dumor did not only serve as an inspiration to me, I believe he served as an inspiration to many people who even at that time did have interest in the body politics of this country.
Mr Speaker, Komla Dumor was not a trained journalist but he demonstrated beyond any doubt, that he valued the ethics of the profession and at any point in time, truth, sincerity, honesty were the hallmark of this great son of our land.
Komla Dumor was hugely loved by his listeners who valued his mind, his wit and understanding of social economic and political issues in this country. After his unfortunate demise, many journalists, not only in Ghana, have tried hard to emulate the way Komla Dumor carried himself and how he handled the “Morning Show”, the extent to which that had become the yardstick in determining which journalist should do well in this country.
Komla Dumor was also one journalist who unfortunately was at the receiving end of all political parties in this country that at any point in time, either political party “A” accused him of being a sympathiser of political party ‘B' or political party “B” accused him of being a sympathiser of political party “A”. That is the clearest demonstration to a journalist who was very objective, to a journalist who had his nation at heart.
Mr Speaker, Komla Dumor did not only inspire people who had interest in politics or journalism, he inspired young people who did not have even formal education, whose interest was either trade,
Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
Hon Members, I would take one each from both sides and move to Leadership.
Mr Isaac Osei (NPP-- Subin) 11:50 a.m.
I thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement, which was so ably made by the Hon Member for Ketu South.
Mr Speaker, a young man in the prime of his life is gone but even though he was 41, his life teaches us a number of things. First, his life teaches us that there is no substitute for hardwork and focused attention to detail. We all know that he was not a bootlicker but a consummate professional. He took the facts as they came to him and presented unadulterated information.
In fact, where he had an opinion, he was able to express it forcefully with clarity and cogency, which often belied his young age. Mr Speaker, it is not surprising that he got very far in his career and he was destined to get to the apogee of his profession.
Mr Speaker, his life also teaches us that we are human beings and so, those of us who are sedentary people have to pay

closer attention to our health. This is because there are so many lifestyle diseases that now afflict all of us. In this connection, I think it is important that those of us who find ourselves in this hallowed hall, should probably, with increasing frequency, seek medical attention even if we do not feel ill.

Mr Speaker, on a day such as this, as we pay tribute to this young and illustrious Ghanaian, let us spare a thought for his family -- his wife, children, father, brother and sister because those are the people who are closest and dearest to him.

At last, he is gone and may his soul rest in perfect peace.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) noon
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to pay tribute to one of Ghana's finest and respected journalists and broadcasters of our time, the late Komla Afeke Dumor.
Mr Speaker, he was my contemporary at the University of Ghana, Legon -- I believe in the Department of Sociology; we were together.
Mr Speaker, let me thank the Hon Member who made the Statement, for giving this august House an opportunity to eulogise one of Ghana's respected journalists.
Mr Speaker, Komla's hallmark was probing and going behind the veil to seek for accountability, especially by public officials of our country in the discharge of our duties. I believe that is a useful lesson for many of our upcoming journalists who would want to learn; we would miss him.
Mr Speaker, when I got news of his passing to eternity, just like many other Ghanaians, it was difficult for me to accept it as a fact and truth, but we take consolation from his father, Prof. Dumor, who I believe and have heard has a very strong faith and faith in his God, and accepted this as one of God's wishes.
Mr Speaker, we can only pray that God gives him the fortitude, together with the family to accept this loss. It is a loss to our country and Africa. Indeed, he became the thought bearer of mirroring the African experience when he got to work with the BBC and at any time you had a sight of him or listened to him do an interview, you appreciated better the African story.
Mr Speaker, the significance lies in the fact that for many foreign broadcast homes, Africa had always been painted in the negative, as a continent of conflict, poverty and hunger. Komla Dumor made a significant contribution in forming a different impression of Africa and the African.
Mr Speaker, let me, in joining this tribute to eulogise Komla, confirm that Government has decided that the Ketu South Municipal Assembly will name a street after Komla Dumor -- working in tandem with our Minister for Local Government and Rural Development will identify as part of Government initiative in identifying and naming a street after the late Komla Dumor.
Let me however, thank our Hon Colleague, Hon Adjoa Safo[Interruption.] at least, for supporting the idea that he ought to be remembered and remembered to eternity for his contribution to journalism and to broadcasting and to our country.
Mr Speaker noon
Hon Members, I thought I would move to Leadership at this stage.
Hon Member for Effutu, brief comments, so that I balance it.
I thought that I would take two Hon Members from the frontbench of the Minority side of the House, but there is no other Member apart from the Minority Leader. So, I am giving you that privilege -- Two minutes.
Mr Alexander K.Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) noon
Mr Speaker, I thank you so much indeed, for the opportunity to join Hon Members in saying a few words in memory of the late Komla Dumor.
Mr Speaker, indeed, it is said that “rising to eminence by merit, a person lives respected and dies regretted”. Mr Speaker, there is no doubt on the minds of all of us that our dear departed brother rose to eminence by merit, lived respected and died regretted.
Mr Speaker, the courage that the late Komla Dumor demonstrated as a human rights activist, in bringing to the fore, the challenges that SSNIT was facing some many years ago, talking about the rights of Ghanaian contributors to the Pension Scheme.
Mr Speaker, at the time he started, not many people had the courage to highlight such things. Our democracy had not
developed to this stage but he had that courage as a young man to bring to the fore and I have no doubt that it put those officers and directors on their toes in ensuring proper investments with all the reservations that they had.
Mr Speaker, Komla himself was never spared of criticisms, but like the Hon Members who contributed earlier said, he took all in his strides.
Mr Speaker, to conclude, he lived a true Ghanaian. As an Anlo man, he married a Fante to demonstrate that indeed, as Ghanaians, his love would know no bounds. Mr Speaker, there are a lot for the young generation to learn from this man and I believe that with the unanimity at which Members of this House have shared thoughts about this man, we would have a lot to learn from him.
I thank you Mr Speaker, for allowing me.
Mr Speaker noon
Hon Deputy Northern Regional Minister -- two minutes.
Deputy Northern Regional Minister (Alhaji Bashir A. F. Alhassan): Thank you Mr Speaker for this opportunity to contribute to this Statement, so competently crafted and eloquently delivered by comrade and brother, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey.
Mr Speaker, salt is one commodity that is not in a hurry to advertise itself. If it is in a soup and you eat it, you will feel it. [Hear! Hear!] The Dagombas have crafted a proverb to illustrate the harsh realities of life, that “when a house has fallen, you do not ask whether the roof is still standing”. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, such is the harsh reality of life that we have had to live with when an icon of the stature of Komla Dumor has come face to face with the reality of what Almighty
Allah has already prescribed for every human being. The media landscape is a minefield and any journalist who has successfully navigated that minefield deserves tons of congratulations.
As a media man myself, of over 27 years' practice, Mr Speaker, I am the first to know that it is an arduous task. So, if our brother has made in-roads and has served as a role model for so many of our colleagues today, I think that we can only applaud him for what he has achieved.
Mr Speaker, there is a saying that the tongue is the ladder through which we descend into somebody's stomach to know what is in him. Anytime Komla Dumor made pronouncements, it told you about who the man was. Even when you disagreed with him, you could not help but admired him for his respect for tolerance, for his steadfast commitment to the truth, for his obeisance to the very fundamental ethics of journalism - fairness, balance, accuracy, truth and decency in the choice of words --
Mr Speaker noon
Your time is up. Conclude, your time is up. [Interruption.]
Some Hon Members noon
Allow, allow —
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
One minute.
Alhaji Alhassan 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, to conclude, for those of us in the media, Komla Dumor has left us with something -that it is up to us to cleanse and perfect our professions because if it has to take the goat to bite and drive away the intruder, it is the shame of the dog. [Laughter] So, Mr Speaker, the challenge for us is to endeavour to ensure that we abide by the principles, the noble
principles and ethics of this profession, so that today, tomorrow and forever, the journalism profession will not only gain its respectability but would also rank and continue to be one of the top professions that this country and the world would live to abide by.
On this note, I would want to commiserate with the family and urge that the greatest legacy that Komla Dumor's memory can live for us, is to abide by those noble principles that he lived for and died for.
Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I also rise to associate myself with the Statement ably made by our Colleague, Hon Fifi Kwetey from Ketu South.
The demise of Komla Dumor reminds all of us as is said in Islam by the Holy Prophet, that when a young man dies, it is a great calamity for many reasons, especially when he leaves behind a very aged father. That faithful Saturday was a big shock for many of us who were his peers and many people across the continent.
Mr Speaker, I am not surprised that this august House is honouring the late Komla Dumor by making the Statements on the floor and it speaks a lot. It tells every Ghanaian that it does not really matter what area you take or try to pursue as an individual. What matters most is making sure that you shine in whichever corner that you find yourself, so well that everyone around can see that you are doing your very best.
With the greatest respect, who could have imagined that a 41-year old young man would die and get to be honoured in an august House like Parliament House? It is because everyone of us believes that
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
What does that mean?
Alhaji Muntaka 12:10 p.m.
Mr Speaker, it means, may his soul rest in peace.
Mr Speaker 12:10 p.m.
Hon Members, before I call the Hon Minority Leader, I wish to recognise in the House, the father of the late Komla Dumor, Prof Ernest Dumor and the two surviving sibblings of Komla Dumor, Mawuena and Kwasi. I believe they are here to listen to the tribute in his memory.
Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
I also rise to add my voice to the commemorative statements which have been made in honour of the late Komla Dumor.
In these times of unceasing carnage and sundry bestialities, death no longer appears to rattle humankind. Yet the death of Komla Dumor hit most people like thunderbolt. And if there is anybody whose transition could aptly be described as gone too soon, Komla Dumor's is it. It is one that fits that epitaph. As has been related to, until Komla Dumor took over at Joy FM, the best Radio Talk Show programme in Accra at the time, arguably was at Choice FM, which was at the time anchored by the likes of Randy Abbey.
Komla dusted the Morning Show at JOY FM and provided such illumination that until that time was unknown in Ghanaian broadcast journalism.
Mr Speaker, it has been said that he was poached by BBC. I do not know of poaching; I guess the records must be straightened for the benefit of posterity on how he joined BBC. But he was fast emerging as a flagship of African journalism in his own rights.
And that was expressed in his style, the balance, the poise, the counterpoise, the purity of thought, the composure even at extreme provocation, his conformity to high ethical standards, the devotion to duty, his searching and penetrating thoughts, the selflessness, the unique voice, the impeccable diction and all.
Mr Speaker, he has indeed, left his footprints in the sands of time. He has left lessons for all of us, his colleague journalists in particular, to all of us politicians, and leaders, that we should strive for perfection and not glorify mediocrity.
As we mourn with the family Mr Speaker, the family both immediate and extended as well as close associates at this moment, may we pray the Almighty God to grant him eternal rest.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
Majority Leader (Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor) 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement that has been so ably made by the Hon Member for Ketu South.
Mr Speaker, it is certainly not a very pleasant thing to be seen contributing to a Statement about a person you have known for so long and one that you still believe had a longer future for this country and for humanity. But as the circumstances are, I think I would have to register one or two points on Komla Dumor.
When I was on the other side of the House, I was a very, very regular feature and he was my host for a number of programmes. In my usual characteristic manner, the first contact and encounter I had with him was a very, very aggressive one, because he asked a very specific question and I am sure if he had lived longer, he would have followed up on that question. I remember he saying:
“Honourable, I certainly agree with you in terms of all your ideas. But my experience has been that people change sides when they change from government to opposition. I really hope that one day when your party comes to power, you would have the courage to say what you are saying today.”

Mr Speaker, I am saying this as a foundation for how we celebrate people like Komla Dumor. It is indeed, true and a good thing to catalogue all the great achievements of Komla Dumor, the young man as I used to call him. But it is also important that as we celebrate such people, it is also one that should guide those of us who are still living.

It is certainly the case in Ghana that turns the statement of Brutus and Caesar the opposite way, where the evil is buried and then the best that they have done in the world is remembered. And I think that it is a useful aspect of our culture which is epitomised in the statement that you never talk ill of the dead.

But in the particular case of Komla Dumor, there are very few people who can have anything negative to say about him. I say this in all sincerity, because I have been a very close friend of the family. The
Mr Speaker 12:20 p.m.
Hon Members, I can only say at this point that the late Komla Afeke Dumor was indeed, a fine journalist by all standards, who lived and died for what he believed in.
May we rise and observe a minute silence in his honour.

Please, be seated.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

At the Commencement of Public Business, Hon Majority Leader?
Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want us to take the item on the Addendum.
BILLS -- SECOND READING 12:30 p.m.

Minister for Finance (Mr Seth Terkpeh) 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that the Excise Duty Bill, 2013, be now read a Second time --
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Are you not going to tell the House why we should take a decision?
Mr Terkpeh 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to remind this august House that the Excise Bill as we indicated in the Memorandum is an attempt we have been making and working with the House to separate all excise duty provisions that are currently scattered in other legislation. So, this would be the first time that Ghana, with the approval of the House, would have an exclusive Excise Duty Bill and taxpayers would not have to be referring variously to the VAT, Customs and other legislation.
Mr Speaker, this in itself, is part of the rationalisation of the technical Bills as opposed to the administrative elements of our tax Bill.
You would recall, Mr Speaker, that the House has already, in this regard, passed the Value Added Tax Bill and this would be the second of the technical Bills, subsequent to which we would be bringing to this House the Customs and Income Tax Bills, to pave way for the passage of the Tax Administration Act that would consolidate the administrative provisions.

Mr Speaker, the clauses of the Bill deal respectively with the reception of taxpayers, including registration and taxpayer advice, tax accounting, the imposition of the tax and some special provisions that are related to excise duties. There are elements, however, where the Customs and Excise Act as it stands now, will continue to apply with respect to the importation of goods that attract excise duty.

Mr Speaker, with this explanation, I beg to move.

Question Proposed.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr James K. Avedzi) 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion moved by the Hon Minister for Finance.
Introduction
The Excise Duty Bill, 2013 was presented to Parliament by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh and read for the First time onWednesday, 18thDecember, 2013. Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Finance Committee for consideration and report in accordance with article 174 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 169 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Committee was assisted in its deliberations by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth E. Terkpeh, the Hon Deputy Minister, Mr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and officials from the Ministry of Finance, Attorney-General's Department and GRA.
The Committee is grateful to the Hon Minister, the Deputy Minister, Commissioner-General and officials from
the Ministry of Finance, Attorney- General's Department and the GRA for the assistance.
Reference
The Committee referred to the following additional documents during its deliberations:
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana
The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana.
The Customs, Excise and Preventive Service Management Law, 1993
(PNDCL 330)
Background
With the coming into force of the Ghana Revenue Authority Act, 2009 (Act 791) which integrated the three main revenue collecting agencies as divisions of the Authority, it became necessary to pool together, harmonise and consolidate the administrative provisions in the various tax legislations into a single legislation and to organise and streamline the other residual operational and charging provisions into other separate legislation to respectively govern the operations of the three Divisions. Thus, this Bill seeks to provide a separate legislation in respect of excise duty.
Purpose of the Bill
The purpose of the Bill is to revise and consolidate existing provisions for the imposition and collection of excise duty on selected imported and locally manufactured goods.
Divisions of the Bill
The Excise Duty Bill has been divided into five (5) sections with thirty-five (35) clauses and two (2) Schedules.
-- 12:30 p.m.

Dr Anthony A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to associate myself with the Motion that the Excise Duty Bill, 2013, be now read a Second time.
Mr Speaker, one of the issues that came up was why the excise duties on petroleum products were not part of the Bill. As explained on page 4, that part goes
Dr Anthony A. Osei 12:30 p.m.


through frequent reviews. So, if we kept it under this new Excise Bill, it means that we would have to always amend the Excise Bill. I think we should take note of that.

Mr Speaker, the amendments that the Committee is offering are not really controversial, so, I urge all Hon Members, when we come to the Consideration Stage, we should look at those amendments closely.

Mr Speaker, one of the issues that came up was the issue on sachet water, whether to tax sachet water. We had to debate this sometime back and I urge Hon Members, when we come to those parts, we should look at the amendments very closely, so that this time, we would not be making the same mistakes that we made the last time.

Mr Speaker, we endorsed the rationale for rationalising the excise taxes under the Customs, Excise and Preventive Act. So, I urge all Hon Members to support the amendments when we come to the Consideration Stage.

With those few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members, I have taken the sense of the House, especially listening to the Ranking Member and I intend to put the Question.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
An Act to provide for the imposition and collection of excise duty on selected imported and locally manufactured goods and for related matters.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon Members, the Excise Duty Bill, 2013 duly read a Second time.
PAPERS 12:30 p.m.

Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Is 5 (b) ready?
Dr Kunbuor 12:30 p.m.
No, Mr Speaker! We would take item number 6 on the original Order Paper.
Mr Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Very well.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION 12:40 p.m.

STAGE 12:40 p.m.

  • [Resumption of Debate from 19/2/ 2014]
  • Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, subclause 14, line 1, with the indulgence of the House and the leave of Mr Speaker, delete “relation to” and substitute “the case of”.
    So, Mr Speaker, that sentence will read:
    “In the case of cross-border correspondence, banking and other similar relationship, an accountable institution shall…”
    Instead of “in” relation to cross- border….
    Mr Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    So, we are deleting “relation to” and we are substituting “the case of”?
    Mr Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, yes, we are substituting “relation to” with “the case of”.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
    Mr Bagbin 12:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, subclause (14), paragraph (c), delete and substitute the following:
    “(c) conduct an assessment of the quality controls in respect of anti-money laundering, comba- ting of the financing of terrorism and combating of the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution”.
    Mr Speaker, as it stands now, paragraph (c) talks about
    “conduct an assessment of the quality of anti-money laundering, and combating of the financing of terrorism controls and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution.”
    Mr Speaker, that does not convey any meaning at all. The words have been mixed up. For example, “controls” is wrongly placed. There is the use of too many conjunctions, “and, and, and” and “and” and we decided together with the technical people to rephrase it as being presented in the proposed amendment which is clearer, simpler and better understood.
    Mr William O. Boafo 12:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the new proposed amendment, lines 2 and 3, I could see “combating” being repeated in line 3. There is one in line 2 and there is another one in line 3.
    For the purposes of elegance, I would want to find out from the Hon Chairman whether we cannot do away with the second “combating”.
    Mr Bagbin 12:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that definitely is an error. The second “combating” should go. Let me read the whole thing:
    “Conduct an assessment of the quality controls in respect of anti- money laundering, combating of the financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction…”
    So, the second “combating of the” is completely misplaced; that I think is a typographical error.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the principle in the amendment proposed is good. But I think it could be further improved because what you are talking about here relates to unlawful activity and it is in respect of combating of all of them. That is the anti-money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
    So, I think the construction should rather be, “conduct an assessment of the quality controls…” I think we should find a way to situate “serious unlawful activity” somewhere, then the unlawful activity will relate to anti-money laundering, then the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I think that is how it should be captured.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to situate this in the original 1 (2). So, let us look at that construction to affect this one. I think that will be a better rendition.
    Mr Boafo 12:43 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, early on, I wanted to make a suggestion to the Chairman, that instead of coming out with the full rendition of money laundering, financing of terrorism and so forth, we can conveniently refer to unlawful activity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Yes. If we can hear from the Hon Chairman --
    Mr Bagbin 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the issue we are dealing with is how to assess quality control measures that we are putting in place to fight these -- We can refer to all of them generally as “unlawful activities” but particularly, money laundering, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The measures you put in place, what quality controls can you put in place to assess those measures?
    So, it would be difficult to put measures in place to assess some of these things they are mentioning. That is why the technical people gave this rendition; it is not in the same light as clause 1, sub- clause (2).
    We are talking about assessment of the controls, but they think that we should specifically mention because when you say:
    “conduct an assessment of the quality controls in respect of anti- money laundering, combating of the

    financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution.”

    The foreign respondent financial businesses are not the correspondent financial businesses, but a financial business that you have sent information to and they are to respond to the request that you are making. You may need some further information from there, so they are the respondents that are to reply to your request.

    So, they are talking about the measures that can be put in place and the assessment that can be done in those areas. That is the issue that is being addressed under this subclause.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, if I get the sense of what he is saying, once clause 1, subclause (2) sort of defines the “unlawful activity” here, we are giving a mode as to the assessment of the quality control systems in place.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I appreciate that, except I am saying that, the activities that we are relating to or that we are fighting or combating relate to all of them; it relates to anti-money laundering, it relates to the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. So, I was just suggesting that we can have a reconstruct of subclause (c), the same thing, except we would say:
    “conduct an assessment of the quality controls in combating unlawful activity relating to money laundering, the financing of terrorism and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence applicable to a foreign respondent financial institution.”
    This is because I am saying that the combat should relate to all of them, not just to the two others, because the quality controls should relate to the combating of money laundering activities, financing of terrorism activities as well as the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
    If the Chairman appreciates the point that I have made, I think that would be a better construct.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Can we hear from the Chairman or before then --
    Mr Boafo 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you are hearing from the Chairman and he consents to this, then we have to go back and reconstruct the other clauses where they refer to certain aspects of unlawful activity and open up those paragraphs with reference to unlawful activity in relation to those which are extracted from the entire definition of unlawful activity. [Interruption.]
    Mr Speaker, if I may demonstrate, for example, if we go to the new clause 2 (d), where there is reference to exchange information with similar bodies in other countries as regards money laundering activities, terrorism financing and financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or other transnational organised crime.
    If we are to go by the proposed amendment being proffered by the Hon Minority Leader, then we also have to insert “unlawful activity” in subclause (d) which would give this information: “exchange information with similar bodies in other countries in respect of unlawful activity as regards…”
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am confused. We are on clause 6, subclause (14). If the Hon Member wants to offer an amendment on something that we have passed, he can come during the Second Consideration Stage. I am interested in going forward; he can always come with his amendment because we have passed there.
    I think the issue the Hon Minority Leader is raising, I accept that the combating can refer to all of them and I think we could adopt it, it would be much clearer. This is because we have passed clause 2 --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, you might be right, but he is also drawing attention by his argument to the fact that, if we go by the Hon Minority Leader's proposed amendment, then it would be necessary for us to look back. If that argument is right, then probably, that is the reason --
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, not necessarily so. He should wait when we get there to proffer the argument. He cannot just take all of us -- This is because some of us, we would like to concentrate on where we are. He is confusing us; he should wait and come up with an amendment.
    Mr Boafo 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not taking the House back. I am only referring to what the House has already considered and demonstrating that if we adopt what the Hon Member is saying now, it would contradict or be inconsistent with what we did earlier.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Member, can we just restrict ourselves in the meantime, to the proposals? Let us see how it goes; if it is carried, then properly, you can come up with this at the Second Consideration Stage if it possible. This is because we appear not to be making much progress because of this constant referral backwards. But it is a point worth considering. In the meantime, let us look at the proposal and see how the Chairman of the Committee responds to it.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wanted to make a quick intervention before the Chairman comes in. Mr Speaker, in respect of the amendment --
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the EOCO Act, serious offence has been defined to include participation in an organised crime group, terrorism and terrorist financing, money laundering, human trafficking, people smuggling, sexual exploitation, illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs, illicit arms trafficking, trafficking in stolen and other goods, corruption and bribery, serious fraud, counterfeiting and piracy of products, smuggling, extortion, forgery, insider trading and market manipulation.
    So, Mr Speaker, what I am proposing to support what the leader is proposing for consideration by the Hon Chairman is that, the rendition can read:
    “conduct an assessment of quality controls in respect of serious offences applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution.”
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my good Friend is muddying the waters. We do not want to associate human trafficking with this particular Bill. So, we cannot lift that definition. If you look at the object, we have been specific as to (1), (2), (3) and (4) -- That is what we should be concerned about including this definition would muddy matters. Let us look at the objects and not just lift -- We want to separate the FIC from EOCO, otherwise, it would be confusing. So, I think we should stick with it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Let us hear from the Chairman.
    Mr Boafo 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before you hear from the Hon Chairman, I just pointed out to my Colleague that the Anti-Money Laundering Act itself has a definition of what is a serious offence. So, we cannot import the definition of serious offence in the EOCO Act into Anti-Money Laundering Act. The parent Act, that is the Anti-Money Laundering Act itself contains a definition of serious offence and maybe the Chairman may have a copy and he would read it out.
    Mr Bagbin 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the proposal by the Minority Leader is, according to what I picked from him, are as follows: “conduct an assessment of the quality controls in combating”-- That is where he wants the combating to come-- “in combating unlawful activities in relation to money laundering, financing of terrorism, financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution”. That is the proposal he is making.
    Mr Speaker, the difficulty I have with using the phrase “unlawful activities” is that the clause 6 (14) is talking about accountable institutions. It says in the case of cross-border corresponding banking and other similar relationships, an accountable institution shall conduct
    -- That is the accountable institution -- Conducting the assessment of the quality controls and so, when we put in the whole definition of unlawful activities which includes contravention of a law, how would the accountable institution be putting control measure on contravention of a law regarding any of these matters?
    That is why they did not take the holistic definition of unlawful activity but they are restricting it to these other areas that you can put quality control measures in place. Now, the other issue raised by my Hon Colleague is worth noting.
    The only problem here is that the definition of serious offence is in our Criminal Offences Act and it has been captured by the enabling Act -- Anti- Money Laundering Act of 2007. The definition is there, which says that serious offence means an offence for which the maximum penalty is death or imprisonment for a period of not less than 12 months.
    Now, it brings all what we are tabulating in EOCO under this definition and so, if EOCO decides to itemise them -- that is the Bill establishing EOCO -- is itemising them, that may not completely have all the offences because this definition is all encompassing than what the EOCO Act has stated. So, I prefer us using this definition -- “Serious offence” means an offence for which the maximum penalty is death or imprisonment for a period of not less than 12 months, which covers all what he has stated.
    So, I would go by the proposal by the Minority Leader but we leave out “unlawful activity”, but say, that “conduct an assessment of the quality controls in combating money laundering, financing of terrorism, and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence
    applicable to the foreign respondent financial institution”. That, I believe, is the best way to go.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, how do you respond to that?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I really do not have much against what he said. The principle is to locate the “combat” upstream to affect the defined offences. But having said so, I do not think the use of the words “unlawful activity” would really expand the armbit.
    This is because if you look at subclause (2), that we have referred to, for the purposes of this Act, it defines “unlawful activity”. “Unlawful activity” means the conduct which constitutes a serious offence.
    Some of the offences have already been defined but it does not even mention all of them but it relates to financing of terrorism, financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other transnational organised crime. Now, when you come to the subclause (14) that we are talking about, remember that we have not even included -- apart from the contravention of a law regarding any of these matters, we have not also added “other transnational organised crime.”
    So, when you say that combating unlawful activity relating to -- You are closing it. So, it is about the same thing. But if you think that it is confusing, if you employed the words “unlawful activity”, I have nothing against it but the value is the same.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to plead with my Minority Leader to accept the Chairman's proposition. Simplicity has its merits and if we do not need to bring in more verbiage, we leave it out. So, I think I accept the Hon Chairman's modification and if we can move on.
    Dr Dominic A. Ayine 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to support what the Hon Chairman has said.
    The idea here is to be able to enable accountable institutions put in place measures to assess matters that are financial in nature. So, to talk about “assessment of an unlawful activity” will be too broad for financial institutions. So, basically, the financing of terrorism -- [Interruption.] Minority Leader, I am on the floor --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Please, address the Chair.
    Dr Ayine 1:10 p.m.
    The idea here is to empower them to take measures that are quantitative in nature. It is not possible for us to be enable accountable institutions if you even add the private legal practitioners, to be able to access contravention of the law will be too burdensome. So, that is why we are limiting it to these types of offences.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Very well. I believe that thus far, we are in agreement. So, Hon Members, shall I then put the Question with regard to this particular amendment?
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Member, is it in connection with the same subject matter?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to be double sure of the usage of the words “respondent financial business.” I thought it was --[Pause.]
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Very well. Shall I then put the Question?
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, subclause (17), line 1, delete “person” after “a” and insert “bank”.
    So, it will read --
    “A bank shall not be established in this country if the bank does not maintain a physical presence within this country or the bank is not affiliated to a regulated financial group subject to effective consolidated supervision”.
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the technical people say that the issue of responsibility might be squarely placed on an actionable institution and they thought that you were placing a responsibility on the person establishing the bank. So, if the person errs, the action could be taken against the person.
    Mr Speaker, I think that a bank too is a person in law and the same action can be taken against the bank. This is because if it is criminal, you are looking at the directors, if it is civil, you are looking at the whole corporate body --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, where do you stand? Are you proposing an amendment?
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    I am proposing that we amend it to read --
    “A bank shall not be established in this country if the bank does not maintain a physical presence within this country or the bank is not affiliated to a regulated financial group subject to effective consolidated supervision.”
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that makes sense because as has been provided in clause 17, the original, the onus is on the individual but we are talking about the “establishment”, that is the bank. It is the bank that shall maintain physical presence in this country and I think the second one, the deletion of the word “and” and substituting it with “or” should be a disjunct and not a conjunct.
    So, I am in full support of the amendment proposed; it was something that we jointly discussed and I think that should be the way.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Thank you very much. So, I will put the Question.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 6, subclause (22), line 2, before “file” insert “within twenty-four hours”.
    Mr Speaker, the provision as it stands, is too open ended and because of the nature of the type of offences we are dealing with, there is the need for quick action and so, there are some time lines that are being given and it is not only in respect of this. Others will be given some time lines for various authorities, institutions to request, so that there is no delay. This is because time is of essence in this whole exercise. So, Mr Speaker, the new rendition will now read;
    “Where the missing information cannot be obtained, the accountable institution shall refuse the transfer and file within twenty-four hours a suspicious transaction report”.
    Instead of just leaving it without any time lines and they could take time in trying to file. Now, we raised an issue about the nature of that kind of report, the “suspicious transaction report” which is defined in the Act and it is already in a format which is easy to complete and transmit. So, the twenty-four hours we are told is sufficient for any accountable institution to be able to go through the form and submit later.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Actually, that was the question I was going to ask. Why twenty-four hours and not forty- eight hours, for example?
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Yes. We went through that with the technical people and I think that the definition of “suspicious account” has been proposed by us in the amendment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    I think we are alright with it except that we would want to find out why they chose twenty- four hours and not any other time frame.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with the Hon Chairman that there should be some time line but when does the time starts running? If you look at subclause 21, you are not too sure where the time starts running. Is it in respect of subclause 21 first? Otherwise, you are not too sure about the duration of the time and I think that we should breed it in tandem with subclause 21 to establish when exactly the time should start running.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:10 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, how do you respond to that?
    Mr Bagbin 1:10 p.m.
    Well, it will be difficult to do it the way he is proposing because subclause 22 is talking about missing information. Where the missing information cannot be obtained, if from that time, you know that there is an obligation --It is for you to file this report.
    So, in the investigation, questions will be asked and they would see whether you have complied with the twenty-four hours to be able to assess the response of the various institutions to the implementation of the legislation.
    But as it is now, it is just open ended; in subclause 21, when you receive a wire transfer that does not contain the complete originator information, the accountable institution shall take measures to obtain and verify the missing information from the ordering institution or the beneficiary.
    So, that is dealing with a different thing.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    I think that is the first step when you do not have the information.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, so when you do not get it and then you request --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    That is right.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, and now they come back to you and say the information is missing, so, you have to file. It is like information has been given by the bank that we have received a deposit of GH¢500,000.00 in an account. It comes to the accountable institution, and then if you file a request, from who?
    Then they try to go through the deposit and they cannot get the particulars of the person who deposited the money, so they get back to you, that “we cannot get these particulars.”
    The law is saying that, immediately you see that information that they cannot get the particulars or the details of the depositor, within 24 hours, you should file a suspicious transaction report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, I think it makes sense.
    Hon Members, shall I put the Question then? I can see the Hon Minority Leader is not too satisfied but let me put the Question.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Boafo 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, before you put the final Question on clause 6, I believe that is what you are about — May I crave your indulgence to refer to clause 6, subclause 15, line 2. There is a reference to an institution and I would want a clarification from the Hon Chairman what institution it is refering to. Is it still the accountable institution or responding
    institution? Line 1 refers to an accountable institution, then line 2 refers to another institution.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, “the” --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Are you al- right with it?
    Hon Members, I will put the general Question with regard to the various amendments to clause 6.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think we are dealing with the financing of money laundering activities, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This one talks about counter financing of terrorism. I think it is rather the financing of terrorism, not counter financing of terrorism, the subclause (15):
    “An accountable institution shall document the responsibilities of the institution with regard to anti- money laundering and financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
    All through, we have been talking about this, not counter financing.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is the printer's devil. It has no place at all to be there and so, I agree with the Hon Minority Leader.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    So, we delete that word.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that, clause 6, subclause 15, line 2, delete the word “counter”.
    Mr Speaker, so, the subclause now reads 1:20 p.m.
    “an accountable institution shall document the responsibilities of the institution with regard to anti- money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence.”
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Is it in connection with the same —
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, if you come to subclause (16) (b) —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    I asked you a question, whether it had to do with subclause15. That is what we are dealing with now.
    Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, unless institution and accountable institution mean the same, then it should be the accountable institution -- unless the two mean the same thing. Here it is “the institution” -- look at line 2. So, the amendment should capture the accountable institution. Unless institution and accountable institution are the same.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Yes, they refer to the same thing.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not clear from here.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Very well.
    Hon Chairman.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think it is a matter of language --
    “an accountable institution shall document the responsibilities of the institution...”
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, “the accountable institution”. Unless the institution and accountable institution mean the same. There may be other institutions.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in the law, references to the institution here is talking about accountable institution. The definition in the law is only talking about accountable institution. So, when you say, the institution, it is a reference to the accountable institution. We are talking about Macbeth, to make assurance double sure, we will kill Banquo. That is why we are simply saying that we should add “accountable institution.”
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, meaning that institution and accountable insti- tutions are the same, then it is alright.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have no problem with repeating it but I thought that it meant the same thing. But if there is any doubt, to remove that doubt, we just put it there again -- of the accountable institution.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, on page 29, you have defined what an “accountable institution” is but I do not see a definition for an institution. So, I think that is why it has to be the “accountable institution” to remove any doubt.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Member for Tafo is right because in areas where we have referred to “accountable institution” and to mean the same thing as any “institution.” So, we will look at subclause (19) for instance. An “accountable institution” listed under paragraphs (a), (h) or (j) of the First Schedule shall not enter into or continue business relation with the respondent accountable institution”.
    We could have said “respondent institution.” So from that —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think out of the abundance of caution, if we use “accountable”, I think we do not lose anything. So, Hon Chairman, can you rephrase your amendment to capture this particular —
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the amended clause now reads:
    “an accountable institution shall document the responsibilities of the accountable institution with regard to anti-money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or any other serious offence”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Thank you, Hon Members.
    I will put the Question.
    Question put and amendment agreed to.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, clause 6, subclause 16 (b), I think there is a small typographical error --
    “to address any specific r isk associated with business relation- ships or transactions with the customer that is not physically present for the purpose of it --
    I think it should be customer who is not —
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, you see the point he is making, and how do you respond?
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, clause 6, sub-clause 16 (b) as it stands now is:
    “an accountable institution shall have in place measures --
    (b) to address specific risks associated with business r elationships or

    transactions with a customer that is not physically present for the purpose identification.”

    That is it. [Interruption.] Yes, you would start from 16 and read down; “an accountable institution shall have in place measures to address specific r isks associated with business relationships or transactions with a customer that is not physically present for the purpose identification.”

    I think that is correct; you do not need to put “who is not physically …”

    Question put and amendment agreed to.

    Clause 6 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 7 -- Section 23 (a) of Act 749 inserted.
    Mr Bagbin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that clause 7 -- line 6, after “crime” insert “for a period of one year”.
    Mr Speaker, the Anti-Money Laundering Bill was amended and 23 (a) was inserted there. That is why if you look at the 2007 one, you do not see 23 (a). And it is that one that is being amended now by the proposal.
    So, the clause 7 would now read:
    “The principal enactment is amended by the insertion after section 23 of a new section 23 (a): “preservation of funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crime”.
    And 23 (a):
    “An accountable institution for a period of one year preserve the funds, other assets and instrumen-
    talities of crime to facilitate investigations.”
    Mr Speaker, this is just to give enough time for the accountable institutions not to dispose of the proceeds of those crimes, but to preserve them for one year, so that further investigations in the matter could be conducted. Now, it says:
    “An accountable institutions shall preserve the funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crime to facilitate investigations” .
    For how long? They should keep it ad infinitum? We think that there should be some period within which mandatorily they should keep the funds and the technical people proposed one year as sufficient period for investigations to have been completed. [Interruption.] Eh, why do you say -- That is from their experience. They say some of the transnational organised crimes take some time doing the investigations.
    This is because it is a whole network; it is global; and so, they believe that one year is sufficient time for them to do that. But not to let the people just keep it forever. That is what the experience has shown, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Centre.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that may well be so. But Mr Speaker, the practice in Ghana is that when you give power to people, particularly when it comes to investigations, you are left at their mercy. I would rather propose that it be for six months, and then if they think they need to extend it to one year, they go to court for an order.
    Mr Boafo 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am also equally of a similar view. I think one year
    absolute freeze is too much. [Interruption.] One year's, preservation is too much. If we are to retain the one year, then we should have a flexible position to the extent that based on some reasonable grounds, the owner of the property may apply for a partial release; maybe, release part of it. If he gives very good reasons, the court may order the release of the assets of the funds.
    I think we should strengthen our democracy and allow a court to intervene for good reasons and release part of the funds or the assets.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think if the funds and the assets have to be kept, to say that the institution shall keep it for one year, is too definitive. So, I would suggest that we can say that, they may preserve the funds for a period of one year or for a period not exceeding one year. I think it gives it a greater flexibility than saying that they shall, willy-nilly, keep it for one year.
    So, if you say that they shall preserve it for a period not exceeding one year, then within that period, there could be some release.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:20 p.m.
    I think it makes a lot of sense.
    Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu 1:20 p.m.
    Indeed, Mr Speaker, exactly the argument I was going to make; so, if before the one year's time, we find that there was no need to continue preservation, it may not be a basis for saying, “I have up to one year.” So, even though there is no basis, I would still hold it.” So, I suggest that up to one year or not exceeding one year be used.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I continue to get disturbed with the amendment, for very good reasons, because we have another law that has empowered an investigative body in charge of investigating money laundering in this country.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Please, would you just veer off detailed court rulings and things like that?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:40 p.m.
    Oh, Mr Speaker
    -- 1:40 p.m.

    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Your point has been well made. I agree with you; it is a point worth considering. Can we look at it? Is it possible to defer this, so that we look at the provisions in the EOCO Act and try to go along similar lines if possible?
    Mr Bagbin 1:40 p.m.
    No, Mr Speaker! We do not defer this because this provision is not talking about the Financial Intelligence Centre. This one is talking about the keeping of records by accountable institutions; that is what we are talking about. And the law as it stands now, which is clause 23, says and Mr Speaker, with your permission, I beg to quote:
    “An accountable institution that established a business relationship with a person shall keep records of --
    (a) the identity of the person or the agent of the person;
    (b) transaction made through the accountable institution;
    (c) suspicious transaction reports made to the centre.
    And so, you are keeping records of those reports:
    (2) “For the purposes of this Act records may be kept on a customer system or an electronic device capable of being used to store information;
    (3) this section applies to each single transaction with an accountable institution”.
    So, we are not dealing with the Financial Intelligence Centre. We are saying that this is open-ended. For how long can the person keep these records? The earlier proposal that I made trying to say that “for a period of not more than”, - - that is the terminology we have been using; “not more than one year” -- is acceptable to me. We are trying to limit it to one year as the final; “not beyond one year”. So, if we say “not more than one year”, that is alright.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that may well be so, but the amendment being proposed in this Bill, the Headnote says:
    “Preservation of funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crime.”
    And it says:
    “An accountable institution shall preserve the funds, other assets,”
    Not the records. So, I do not know, because this talks about preservation of funds and other assets and instru- mentalities of crime.
    But what he read was records and he is saying that they are adding this. I am saying that this does not deal with records at all. It deals with funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crime.
    So, either this amendment is misplaced -- [Interruption] -- No, because it has nothing to do with the records --
    [Interruption] -- But I am saying that this has nothing to do with records, it has to do with funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crime, unless of course, he is saying that instrumentalities refer to records. I doubt it; when you look at the context in which they have used it, it is ejusdem de nerves -- “Funds, other assets and instrumentalities”.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice, can we hear from you?
    Dr Ayine 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in support of the Chairman's position, section 23 (a) of the Bill is intended to strengthen the existing regime regarding the keeping of records and also to impose an obligation, so that you can keep the records. But if you transfer the funds out of the jurisdiction for instance, then the records become useless -- [Interruption] --
    If you transfer the funds out of the jurisdiction, or the instrumentalities of the crime are destroyed, then the records become useless for purposes of holding the criminal accountable and then having the ability to seize the assets.
    Remember that, we not only want to enact this law in order to punish criminals for engaging in money-laundering and allied offences but also to be able to seize those assets and the funds when we have established that they have committed the offence.
    So, if we do not insert section 23 (a) in order to impose a statutory obligation on the accountable institution to preserve the funds, what can happen is that they would keep the records but the funds and assets that are the proceeds of crime would have been sent out of the country. That is what we want to prevent here.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    But let us look at the concluding part of it. “It is to facilitate investigations”. So investigations would not have come to a close; that is the presumption.
    Dr Ayine 1:40 p.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker, you are right. In the course of the investigation, we have estimated from our experience to need at least, a period not exceeding one year to be able to conduct our investigations. This is because of the complex nature of the offences involved here. Usually it takes us time -- [Interruption] --
    Excuse me, Hon Afenyo-Markin. You know, Mr Speaker, most of the time, we are relying on foreign institutions to give us information.
    I remember in one instance, the EOCO, through our office, wrote to the FBI for information. By the time we received the report of the FBI, which was about four months, the bank had transferred the funds, which was the subject matter of the investigation -- [Interruption] -- Yes -- but if the funds had been transferred, we would get the records but the proceeds of the crime which is the subject matter of the investigation would have been taken out of the jurisdiction.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:40 p.m.
    You see, I agree with you given the experience that I had at the Attorney-General's Department. These things do happen at times. But if you look at the provisions in the EOCO Act, I think it is more flexible. You go to court, give reasons you should be given this opportunity and so on and so forth, so that there is a semblance of some openness, some transparency. I do not know. I might be wrong. But let us hear from the Hon Member for Old Tafo.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, you know I was getting very worried when the Legal Advisor to the President wants the institutions that have established private relationship to freeze my funds. That is very worrisome. The financial system -- [Interruption] -- But not asking the institution, you go to court.
    Mr Speaker, I agree with you. I think that this matter is so important I would want to come under Order 48, so that we can go and rest and think through this very carefully. It is too serious -- [Laughter] -- MPs abre. So, please, let us calm down the temperature, go back and rest and think through. This is a very important matter.
    So, Mr Speaker, I invoke Order 48 (2), so that we can see our way through.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is indeed, a very, very important Bill and I also to some extent agree with the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice. However, we need to subject this to very critical debate and we ought to be influenced by examples. The few of us here, I do not think it will be fair to our nation to attempt to continue further with this important Bill.
    So, I support the Hon Member for Old Tafo that Mr Speaker, indeed, we have been doing this over an hour. It has got to a stage where we should ensure that many more Hon Members participate.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, I do not want to belabour the point. I think that in the circumstances, I will bring the Consideration Stage for today to a close. So, if the Mace could be put upright, then we can make a further order.
    Hon Members, I think that it will be appropriate for us to leave off at this stage and then possibly look at it tomorrow, after some discussions have taken place in the form of some winnowing of a sort before we reconvene tomorrow. I think it will make a lot of sense.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader, we are in your hands.
    rose
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Boafo, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Boafo 1:50 p.m.
    I would want to bring a certain matter to your attention. Some of us were not here when they went through the Votes and Proceedings. When I came and I looked at the Votes and Proceedings, I saw that it appears the recording was that you finally put the Question in respect of clause 3. But we were not able to conclude on clause 3 (d).
    So, I wonder why the Table Office came out with that recording, that we concluded the debate on clause 3 (10) (d) in its entirety. So, I just wanted to draw Mr Speaker's attention to it and see how best we can come back to consider clause 3 (1) (d).
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    I would need to refresh my memory. I cannot remember offhand.
    Mr Boafo 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it was at the time --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Chairman, you were here? Can you help us?
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we almost completed clause 3 but our attention was drawn to the use of “supervise activities”, “co-ordinate and supervise activities for the investigation in clause 3 (1) (d)” and the debate was not concluded on it; so, even I marked there deferred --
    So, the Speaker said clause 3 should be deferred until we complete debate on that. So, it was recorded in error at page 10 of the Votes and Proceedings, that clause 3 as amended agreed to. I think that is what he is trying to draw the attention of the House to.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Very well. I thank you very much. I think that the --
    Mr Chireh 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, somebody raised Standing Order 48. The bell has been rung, some people are coming in. We have to wait for ten minutes.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    I think we probably would have to look at the issue he has raised tomorrow and deal with it appropriately so that we can revisit clause
    3.
    On that note, I would like to hear from -- Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I guess while we are at that, just to also remind that in respect of clause 3 (2), there was a matter that was stood down for consideration because of what the Hon Member for Akropong indicated. Clause 3 (2), line 3, there was the use of the word, “subject to” on two occasions and I said we should consider deleting the second “subject to” and substituting it with some other words. But we did not debate it because the Hon Member for Akropong raised other matters. So, perhaps, when we come there, we will relate to it.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    I hope the Table Office will take note of these points, so that they will not escape our minds tomorrow.
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that point is not yet before the Table Office. We have noted that down. It is when we move it that they will get the records.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    So, it is within your ambit. You should remind us.
    Mr Bagbin 1:50 p.m.
    Yes. I have noted it.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, just to fortify us going forward. If the Hon Chairman of the Committee could make available to Hon Members some other FIC laws from other jurisdictions that have actually guided the proposed amendment --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you not a member of the Committee?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    No! Not at all.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    But at this stage --
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it will help.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    You can contact the Hon Chairman for information along those lines.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, because they say they want it to meet international standard --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    But you can contact the Chairman for the information.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Chairman, I wanted to pass it through you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
    Mr Agbesi 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Yieleh Chireh has raised a matter which I think Mr Speaker should give his guidance. He said the Hon Member had raised the issue of quorum and the bell had been rung and the ten minutes had not expired, if you can give your guidance.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    That notwithstanding, I am seeking your steps. I am asking you to direct us.
    Mr Alfred Kwame Agbesi 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, at this stage, I beg to move, that the House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, because the Deputy Majority Leader related to Order 48, may I also indicate to him that Order 41 (2) provides:
    “Except as otherwise provided in these Orders, Mr Speaker, may, three minutes before the stated time of concluding a Sitting --” (which is usually 2 o'clock in the afternoon) “--or at any time thereafter interrupt the business proceedings and adjourn the House.”
    Mr Speaker, it is just two minutes before 2 o'clock. So, Mr Speaker, may on his own adjourn the House without any referral to you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 1:50 p.m.
    Hon Member, the word used there is “may”. So, I gave him that option. So, he has moved the Motion, can you second it?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 1:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, under special dispensation, from the back to the front, I beg to second the Motion.
    Dr A. A. Osei 1:50 p.m.
    Which Motion are you seconding?
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 1:50 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 1.59 p.m. till Friday, 21st February, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.