MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this Honourable House adoptsthe Report of the Committee on Mines andEnergy on the Commercial Contractbetween the Government of the Republic Ghana and China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation for anamount of US$92,000,000.00 (ninety-twomillion United States dollars) in respectof the supply and erection of electricalmaterials and equipment for electrificationof 556 communities in the Eastern, Voltaand Northern Regions, Phase I. Mr Speaker, before I read theCommittee's Report, I would like to makea correction. Item number 10, --Conclusion and Recommendation, thesecond paragraph, I want to delete “by amajority decision”. So, the new renditionwould be “The Committee recommends tothe House”, not “by majority decision”.That is the correction that I would like tomake and from there go on to give theReport.
Mr Speaker, if the HonChairman would help us, it appears thatthe Report I have that was distributed tous has nothing like “by a majoritydecision” as he tried to amend. So, itappears that there are two Reports. Whichone are we -- this has not beendistributed to us. The one we have says“The Committee recommends to theHouse”. That is the Report I have. So, Ido not know which Report they arelooking at, if he could clarify that for us.He was reading from one --
Mr Speaker, Dr AkotoOsei may be right but the problem is thatthere were two which were given at thesame time but one was a mistake. So, theone that Dr Akoto Osei is currentlyholding is the one which was wronglycirculated. The one that the Hon MajorityLeader and my Hon Ranking Member areholding which was laid before the Househas “by a majority decision” and that iswhy it is being corrected. You would realise, the Report was notmoved the day that it should have beenmoved, as a result of the “majoritydecision”. So, Mr Speaker directed thatwe go and resolve it. We went and resolved it and haveagreed that it is not “by a majoritydecision” but “The Committeerecommends to the House to adopt itsReport”. So, if he is holding that one, it isthe wrong one that he is holding. Thecorrect one was distributed and that is it.That was the only thing that changed. Anyother thing stands as it is.
I agree that we shouldalways make sure that our Leaders havecopies of the reports. But I think that anytime a report is laid, the direction shouldbe that; it should be distributed to allHon Members. Now, he said that the oneI am holding is wrong. However, the amendment he seeks,makes the one I am holding the right one.So, if he has not given us copies, all I amsaying is that he should make sure wehave copies and tell us that nothing haschanged. This is because now, I do notknow how many changes have occurred;so, he is confusing himself. Maybe, theLeaders were given copies of what he isholding but that is not the right way to dobusiness in this House.
Mr Speaker,before the Hon Majority Leader called foritem numbered 5 on the Order Paper, heinformed the House and Rt Hon Speakerasked the Hon Chairman whether they hadresolved the matters. The Hon Chairmanof the Committee then answered that, yes,the issues had been resolved. It was thenthat the Rt Hon Speaker called for item 5.So, if the Hon Chairman says thatoriginally, there was a report which wascirculated but later, when the issue cameto the floor and Mr Speaker asked them to go and resolve it, they resolved the matter-- The Report the Hon Chairman isholding is the one we should consider andthat is what he has told us.
Hon Deputy MajorityLeader, I am assisting him to assist theHouse to do business. Irrespective ofwhat happens, we must all have copies ofall reports and that is the point that I ammaking. You might have a copy but we donot. How are we going to contribute to adebate when the wrong Report is with us?That is all I am saying.
Hon DrAkoto Osei, according to the HonChairman of the Committee, the onlydifference between the Report you haveand what is described as the correctReport is a few words.
Mr Speaker, I perfectlyagree with what Hon Dr Akoto Osei said --
Mr Speaker, the problemis that, they have given a copy of what hehas to the Rt Hon Speaker but they havenot given us --
No! We gave -- wedistributed it to everybody.
Where is it?
You did not get it --but the Hon Minority Leader is holdingone. All of them; this is the Report thatwas given and it was as a result of thatthat the Rt Hon Speaker asked us to goand resolve the issue on the “by a majoritydecision”. I agree that you might have gotthe wrong one. So, I am saying that let usmove on and make progress because theone that I am holding and which the HonMinority Leader, the Hon RankingMember and the majority of Hon Membersare holding, is the one that I am referringto. So, if he does not have that one --
Mr Speaker, I presentthe Committee's Report. Introduction The Commercial Contract between theGovernment of the Republic of Ghana andthe China Hunan Construction Engi-neering Group Corporation for an amountninety-two million United States dollars(US$92,000,000.00) in respect of thesupply and erection of electrical materialsand equipment for the electrification of556 communities in the Eastern, Volta andNorthern Regions, Phase I was laid inParliament on 23rd February, 2016, by theActing Hon Minister for Power, Mr SethTerkper. The Commercial Agreement wassubsequently referred to the Committeeon Mines and Energy for considerationand report pursuant to Order 188 of theStanding Orders of Parliament. Deliberations The Committee met with the DeputyMinister for Power, Hon John Jinapor andofficials of the Ministry to discuss theCommercial Agreement. A Deputy Minis-ter for Finance, Hon Cassiel Ato Forsonalso attended the meeting to assist in theCommittee's deliberations. The Committee is grateful to the HonDeputy Ministers and the officials for theirattendance and for providing clarificationson issues raised at the meeting. Reference Documents The Committee referred to thefollowing documents during itsdeliberations on the Agreement: i. The 1992 Constitution; ii. The Standing Orders of Par-liament; iii. The Credit Facility Agreementbetween the Government ofGhana and Industrial CommercialBank of China (ICBC) Limited andStandard Chartered Bank Limitedfor financing the supply anderection of electrical materials andequipment for the electrification of556 communities in the Eastern,Volta and Northern Regions. iv. International Federation ofConsulting Engineers (FIDIC)General Conditions of Contractfor EPC/Turnkey Project, 1999Edition. v. The minutes on value for moneynegotiation among the Ministryof Power, the Ministry ofFinance, Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Ltd andCrown Agents Ghana Ltd on theNational Electrification Project. Background Information One of the Government's majorobjectives towards poverty reduction andgrowth agenda is the extension ofelectricity infrastructure to support theoperations of productive ventures, socialprojects and activities in the rural areas. This objective is being pursuedthrough the implementation of theNational Electrification Scheme (NES). TheScheme, which was commenced in 1990,aims at extending reliable electricity supplyto all parts of the country over a period ofthirty (30) years. The Scheme is being complementedwith the Self-Help ElectrificationProgramme (SHEP) under which somecommunities are supported to get connected to the national grid. To qualifyunder the programme, a community mustbe within 20 kilometres radius of anexisting medium voltage (MV) network,and should have provided the requisitelow voltage (LV) electricity poles andwired at least one third of their houses. So far, over 5,000 communities in Ghanahave been connected to the nationalelectricity grid under the NES and SHEPsince their commencement in 1990.Consequently, the access rate to electricityin Ghana has increased from about 15 percent in 1990 to 80.5 per cent in 2015. In a bid to build on the gains achievedso far, the Government of Ghana executeda Commercial Agreement with ChinaHunan Construction Engineering Groupfor the Extension of Electricity to 556Communities in the Eastern, Volta andNorthern Regions on 13th November,2014. The Commercial Agreement wassubsequently amended by the parties on8th June, 2015. Additionally, the projectwas broken down into two phases. Parties to the Agreement The parties to the CommercialAgreement are the Government of Ghana(represented by the Ministry of Power)and China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation. The Government of Ghana The Government of Ghana isrepresented under the Agreement by theMinistry of Power. The Ministry of Poweris mandated to initiate and formulatepolicies to ensure the effective andefficient generation, transmission andsupply of power to all sectors of theeconomy of Ghana in an environmentallysustainable manner. The China Hunan Construction EngineeringGroup Corporation The China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation is
incorporated under the laws of theRepublic of China. The Company has itsprincipal place of business at number 788,First Segment of Furong South Road,Changsha City, Hunan Province, PRChina. The Nature of the Project The project involves the design,manufacture, delivery, installation,completion and commissioning of theelectrification project in 556 communitiesin the Eastern, Volta and Northern Regionsof the country. The project will bedelivered in two phases. The duration for the completion of theproject under the Agreement is 5 years(1,825 days) from the effective date of theAgreement. Funding of the Project The initial cost of the project was onehundred and eighty million United Statesdollars (US$180,000,000.00). However, dueto the breakdown of the project into two (2)phases, the cost of the first phase of theproject will now be ninety-two millionUnited States dollars (US$92,000,000.00). The project is to be funded by theCredit Facility Agreement between theGovernment of Ghana and IndustrialCommercial Bank of China (ICBC) limitedand Standard Chartered Bank, Ghana. Theamount ninety-eight million, eighthundred and sixty-nine thousand UnitedStates dollars (US$98,869,000.00)approved by the House in December, 2015. Beneficiary Communities A total of 556 communities in theEastern, Volta and Northern Regions areto benefit from the project by the end ofthe two phases of the project. Observations The Committee made the followingobservations during its deliberations: Access to Electricity On access to electricity in the country,officials of the Ministry of Power informedthe Committee that despite the progressmade in increasing access to electricity,some Regions are far below the NationalAverage of Electricity Access Rate of 80.5per cent. The access rates for the Regionsare shown in Table 1. The Committeebelieves that the execution of the projectwill contribute significantly towardsaddressing the disparities in regionalaccess to electricity in the country toensure equity. SPACE FOR TABLE-12.05-PAGE-11 Ongoing Rural Electrification Projects The Committee was informed thatdespite this project, the Ministry of Powerwill continue with the ongoing ruralelectrification projects across the ten (10)Regions. This is expected to increase thenational electricity access rate. Performance Security The Committee also noted that theCommercial Agreement contains provi-sions to ensure that the contractor meetsall its obligations under the Agreement.Per the terms of the Agreement, thecontractor has undertaken to post aPerformance Security from an acceptablefinancial institution. The value of thesecurity shall be ten per cent (10%) of thecontract price. This is to be done withintwenty-eight (28) days of coming intoforce of the Contract Agreement. The Security shall remain valid until thedate of the issuance of the provisionaltaking-over certificate. However, it shallbe returned to the contractor at the end ofthe project period. Submission of Progress Reports It was again noted that the Agreementprovides for the submission of progressreports to the Ministry of Power at theend of every month. Per the terms of theAgreement, the contractor is mandated tosubmit progress reports to permit theeffective monitoring of the project by theMinistry. The reports will cover eachaspect of the installation services andshow structures installed during theperiod.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion. Mr Speaker, there have been somedifficulties with this document but as theHon Chairman just indicated, we tried asmuch as we could to resolve whateverthere was around this matter. Mr Speaker, there is a matter that Ithought the Hon Chairman was going tosort out. It is on page 4 of the document.On the Current Electricity Accessibility Rates for the regions, we have two UpperEast Regions. I would have thought thatone would be Upper West Region. Ithought the Hon Chairman would want tosort out that matter. Mr Speaker, I see that the other onehas been corrected so -- essentially, I riseto second the Motion. Question proposed.
MrSpeaker, I rise to contribute to the Motionlisted as item numbered 5 on the OrderPaper and to make a few comments on amatter that I think the Committee shouldhave duly informed the House about. It isvery important.
“…savings of nine million UnitedStates dollars (US$ 9,000,000.00)was made after a value for moneyassessment conducted by CrownAgents Ghana Limited CAGL”. Then, there is the last line; “Some Hon Members from theMinority however, felt that therecould have been more savings.” I am not an Hon Member of thecommittee, but I think they should havetold us that the original Crown Agentsvalue for money audit revealedUS$27,000,000.00 overpricing. If you justkeep it at US$9,000,000.00, [Interruption]-Mr Speaker, the document is here. Initial CAGL value for money auditshowed overpricing of US$27,000,000.00.Then there were negotiations. At somepoint in time, it was US$13.5 million; theGovernment said US$11,000,000.00. Thensomebody said 11, and then some askedhow they arrived at million US$9,000,000.00.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I just want to correct mysenior brother. The amount is not US$ 27,000,000.00.It is US$22,000,000.00. He should checkwell [Interruption] --. These are minutesand they cannot be -- the CAGL letterthat came to the Ministry recommendedthat they could reduce it by US$9,000,000.00 and that is what we went by. From the beginning everybodybrought whatever he had on the table.And the bottom line was that, it is theCAGL that is the official representativethat should do the value for moneyassessment. The bottom line is that, they do it andbring a letter indicating that, US$9,000,000.00 is what can be done after allthe ups and downs. So, how we use theUS$ 22,000,000.00 which was initially whateverybody brought to the table tonegotiate -- they ended up andconcluded on US$ 9,000,000.00 and hesays that -- Mr Speaker, I am lost in this completely.
Mr Speaker, first, he iscorrect. It is straight to US$ 27,000,000.00.But he should listen carefully. I said theassessment came up with this figure. Weare not told in the Committee's Report. If Ihad not said it, would he have got up tosay that? The Report gives the impression thatit is only US$9,000,000.00. That is why Iam saying that, one can go through thenegotiations, which are the basis whichwas like;-- one should bring this, oneshould bring that. Eventually, the fact is that, there is an overpricing ofUS$9,000,000.00. We should not forgetthere was a loan for this. [Interruption] --I know. The man is a supporter of foreigninterest. Mr Speaker, what I was disappointedabout mostly was not only theoverpricing -- [Interruption.] Mr Mutawakilu Adam -- rose --
HonMember, I will not allow you to speak.Do not go on the record because he didnot mention any name. No name ismentioned. So, we do not know who --he throws a statement under “somebodyis a supporter of foreign interest”. He didnot mention a name. I urge Hon Akoto Osei not to mentionany name because he cannot prove it.
Mr Speaker, I did notmention any name. I said, “a supporter offoreign interest”. It could be me, it couldbe anybody. But he got up --
HonAkoto Osei, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, I am notonly concerned because if that amountwas not part of the Report, the impressionwould have been given that, that was theonly thing that happened. This is becausethe documents talk about thenegotiations; how they went on andfinally when I guess they were tired,somebody said that let us take the middlefigure. If you read it, it is funny -- “let ustake the middle figure US$9,000,000.00”and that is how the US$9,000,000.00 wasarrived at. But the fact is that, there wasoverpricing. Mr Speaker, when one goes to item 9.8,it reads;
“…the savings would be used tocover additional communities underthe project” And we are supposed to accept that. First, you have overcharged me. Thereis no mention of exactly what it is goingto be used for. Mr Speaker, what is important is that,if they had cared to do more due diligence,they could have noted that one of theparties in the negotiations is a firm calledSmarttys. Mr Speaker, the importance of Smarttysis that we have public evidence of acompany Smarttys overchargingGovernment in the rebranding issue. Mr Speaker, GH¢3.6 million oroverpricing of GH¢1.9 that the Attorney-General is on record as having said thatthey have overcharged -- [Interruption.] Mr Cassiel A. B. Forson -- rose --
HonDeputy Minister for Finance, do you havea point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker. I comeon a point of information. Mr Speaker, it is important I clarify thispoint before we are misled. Mr Speaker, there was an issue raisedbetween US$22.7000,000.00 and that ofUS$9,000,000.00. Yes, the final value formoney audit reduced the price byUS$9,000,000.00.
HonDeputy Minister for Finance, hold yourhorses. I will recognise you. You willhave your bite of the cherry. You will havethe opportunity to challenge, agree -- Iwill recognise you. Hon Akoto Osei, please, continue.
Mr Speaker, my goodfriend wanted me to read what happenedduring the negotiations. But since he ismy Hon good Friend, I would not go there. Mr Speaker, the point I would want tomake is that, it is prudent for theCommittee to let this House know one ofthe major parties in this contract isSmarttys. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, an Hon Member says no.Hon Members of Parliament should behonest with us. It is here. Let me quote itdirectly -- “Contractors, Representativesand Conusultants”. I will leave out thenames. If he wants me to go to the names-- He says no. Does he have this? Thecompany is Smarttys, which is the localrepresentative of the Chinese company.And the person sat in the negotiations. Acompany that has been found to haveover billed us by almost US$1 millIion in arebranding --
HonAgbesi, both the Hon Chairperson andRanking Member are relying on adocument that is not part of our records.Is it part of the Papers that have been laid?
Mr Speaker the contractwas laid in this House; we got copies andso --
So,everybody got a copy?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Thatis why they are not not doubting it. It ispublic. Mr Speaker, let us go back to the point.I think, for the House to be able to makean informed decision, it was prudent forthe Committee to have reminded us. It isnot a secret.
But thedocument was laid —
Mr Speaker, it is notonly fair to the company, but also fair tothe House. We should not believe thatthey should completely be blacklistedbecause there is an involvement. But weshould be informed what has happenedbefore -- the status of it, so that we canmake informed decisions -- goingforward. To leave that out puts us in aquandary. Mr Speaker, the Attorney-Generalshould be telling us that — the Chief ofStaff had to step in. Is that not seriousenough in a single case? We are talkingabout the nation Ghana. We are nottalking about the Party — [Interruption]— I am talking about linkage; it is the samecompany involved in an overpricing --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I just want toput on record that the contract betweenthe Government of Ghana is with Hunan.And this is phase two of the project. Mr Speaker, who the contractor'srepresentative is, is not a major issue. Heis not a major contractor because ourcontract is with Hunan. I would want tomake that clear.
Mr Speaker, I amsurprised that an Hon Member of theParliament of Ghana would make that kindof statement. This is the official document. The Consultant sat in the negotiations,where overpricing has come out, and therepresentative of the people states herethat it does not matter --
But hedid not say it does not matter; he saidit was not a major issue.
Mr Speaker, in a casewhere that company has been found tohave overbilled Government of US$1billion — is not a major issue? Well, that is his opinion. But he shouldgo and tell his constituents that it is not amajor issue. We are talking about Ghanaand not a government -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, my HonColleague is not talking to the issue thathas been raised by the Hon Member.Please, if he has a concern about theresponse of the Hon Member, why is hegoing to his constituency? Why is hesaying that he should go and tell hisconstituents? He has raised a matter andif he disagrees with him, he should justsay so without going personal againsthim.
Mr Speaker, people getup on a point of order. He does not get upto contribute. He should wait to contributeand disagree with me, and I would nothave a problem.
HonMember, I will decide whether the persongot up properly — Continue.
Mr Speaker, the point isthat, there has been overpricing bySmarttys, a company that has been foundto have overbilled Government in anotherissue.
Mr Speaker, I do not know why mybrother, friend and senior is belabouringthis issue. Government has norelationship or contract with Smarttys. Mr Speaker, what we are here toapprove is a contract between theGovernment of Ghana and Hunan.Whoever is their local representative, is nota matter for this House — [Uproar!] — Mr Speaker, the Agreement is acontinuation. Indeed, I was privileged tohave been part of the first attempt atgetting Hunan to do over 500 communitiesin the Northern Region. And this is thesecond phase of the Hunan imple-mentation. Mr Speaker, I pray you restrain my HonColleague. He is bringing matters that arenot tangential to the matter before thisHouse. In fact, by the Standing Orders,they are not even relevant.
Mr Speaker, my goodFriend says that it is immaterial. But it wasmaterial enough for the Government tohave found it necessary to make thatperson sit in the negotiation for threecontinuous days, where the overpricingof US$22.7 million was brought down toUS$9 million — and it does not matter? Well, that is his opinion. But at least,the Committee should have informed thisHouse. Mr Speaker, why is it important? It isimportant because —
Mr Speaker, infact, many people sat in the Committeemeeting — [Interruption] — Mr Speaker, to be fair to this House,we have to mention the names of all thepeople who sat in the Committee meeting— to posit that Smarttys sat in the meetingfor three days, is to suggest that theirsitting in the meeting was so importantthat the amount was reduced. Mr Speaker, it has no correlationwhatsoever this and many people sat inthe meeting. And if he is minded, to evenread to this House, the people who werepart of the meeting, so that the wholecountry would know that Smarttys did notgo to engage in any fraudulent transactionin the meeting.
Mr Speaker, for theavoidance of doubt, let me tell my goodFriend how that person is represented here—
Mr Speaker, of thatCommercial Agreement — page 24 — thelist —
HonMember, what is the full title of thedocument?
Mr Speaker, “Commercial Agreement for erectionof electrical materials equipment forthe electrification of 556 communi-ties in the Eastern, Volta andNorthern regions by the ChinaHunan Construction EngineeringGroup Corporation” Mr Speaker, page 24 — after theMinistry of Finance, Ministry of Power,
On a point oforder. Mr Speaker, maybe, you would inviteour Hon Colleague to withdraw thatstatement. If he does not agree with astatement made by a person who is alawyer, he cannot make that generalstatement. He said, “I am happy I am not alawyer”— I am happy I am not party tothat purported statement Please, get theimport of what I am saying — if lawyerswould argue this way —
Hon DrAnthony Akoto Osei, what is yourinterpretation?
Mr Speaker, because,some lawyers but not me, would have togo and argue this out. That is what I amsaying. So, I would not have to go anddefend this — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, this HonMember has said it, and he is a lawyer. Ifthis, the interpretation of the “lawyer,”then, “I am happy I am not a lawyer” --He said that, my friend has said, A, B, C,D; which he does not agree with, andthen he concludes by saying that byvirtue of that he is happy he is not alawyer because he would not be makingthis — Mr Speaker, you understand betterthan I do. My Hon Colleague would haveto withdraw that reference to all lawyers.
Mr Speaker, I do notknow what my Hon Colleague is trying todo. He says I said that. I did not say whathe says I said.
What didyou say?
Mr Speaker, he maydisagree with what I said, but he shouldnot misquote me — [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, Ibelieve probably what Hon Dr AnthonyAkoto Osei wanted to say did not comeout well. This is because what came outcreated the impression that if the HonColleague is a lawyer and he is saying this,then he is glad he is not a lawyer —[Uproar.]— That is how it came out. Andof course, every lawyer would then saythat, no, that is not how he has to put it. Mr Speaker, if that was not theimpression — that is how it came up — “Iam glad I am not a Lawyer” —If he sayshe is glad he is not a Lawyer —[Interruption.] — I listened to him. Weare all on one side. I would not get up andargue with him on this. But the issue isthat “if my good friend says it does notmatter, then I am glad I am not a Lawyer”.When it comes out that way, it gives theimpression that those of us in thatprofession have questions to answer. Mr Speaker, he should deal with himindividually. He should not deal with thewhole profession. The Rt Hon Speakeris a Lawyer. Mr Speaker, he should rephrase it tous and we move on — [Interruption]
Hon A.A. Osei, when you said that “I am happy Iam not a Lawyer”, my first impression
Mr Speaker, I am gladyou said that I created the impression. Butif they are listening, I have already saidwhat I meant and I have repeated that I donot have to go and defend it and that iswhy I am glad that I am not a lawyer. I amnot afraid! Mr Speaker, we are talking aboutprinciple here. I know he is a member ofthe Committee but I am saying that theywould have done us a lot of good if theyhad told us that this is the situation; thatcould inform our decision. That is thepoint I am trying to make. And I said forthe reasons that I have adduced, theyshould amend the Report so that thisHouse is made aware of the fact that thisrelationship exists. It is not a secret. It is fair to thecompany, so that people do not have thatimpression. But to leave it as if nothing like that exists, I do not believe that it isfair to this House. Because if Governmentofficially has come out to the publicdomain to say that Smarttys Managementand Productions should repay US$1.6million, then it is official. It is a case ofone, overpricing and there is a potentialoverpricing here. The House should beinformed, so that when we are taking thedecision, we would be aware -- That ismy disappointment. The fact that he is not part of theCommittee, is not fair to the House or tothe company. And I am inviting the HonChairman to go and amend the Report toinclude such public information, so thaton record, this House, even if it takes thedecision, would have taken those factsinto consideration. Otherwise, the way weare going about things in this House andif people keep thinking the way theythink, it is not good. That people get upand take things personal and say that it isimmaterial; how can this be immaterial? Mr Speaker, with those few words, Iinvite the Hon Chairman to withdraw theReport and amend it, so that we can passit.
Irecognise the Hon Minister for Roads andHighways.
Mr Speaker,the three-day meeting --
I aminviting you to contribute, Hon Minister.The Hon Member has come to the end ofhis submission. [Pause] Or should I goto somebody else and come to you later?
All right. I am yieldingto the Deputy Minister.
All right. Deputy Minister for Power? Deputy Minister for Power (Mr JohnAbdulai Jinapor): Mr Speaker, thank youfor the opportunity to allow me make acontribution to this Motion. Mr Speaker, I can understand the HonMember's concern in respect of value formoney. But if you were to look at thedocument and you went to page 2 of thecontract, it is true that Crown AgentsCompany Limited (CACL) gave a figureof US$22.7 million initially but that was apreliminary figure. Mr Speaker, with yourpermission, it is Crown Agents CompanyLimited's position that value for money(VFM) assessment would not commenceuntil a complete submission has beenreceived. However, for the following reason,CACL made an exception for this contractand prepared a preliminary VFMassessment report. And at the Committee,this issue was dealt with extensively, MrSpeaker. We made it clear that the US$22.7million was a preliminary figure and lastparagraph, with your permission, I beg toquote: “To facilitate a full value for moneyassessment, Crown Agents CompanyLimited issued a preliminary value formoney assessment report on the 12of March ...”. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member isreferring to the 12th of March, 2015, whichis the 22.7 and that is preliminary. MrSpeaker, more importantly, a final valuefor money assessment report was on the15th of May, 2015. Mr Speaker, that is the final value formoney report and that report is capturedin the document with the headline,“Crown Agents Company Limited”addressed to the Ministry of Finance,“Completion of value for money or theprocess dated 23rd June, 2015”. And inthat, Crown Agents Company Limitedconfirmed that based on all theinformation available and the discussion, they came to a conclusion that 9 millionwas an exact figure. Thank you.
HonDeputy Minister for Power, you have noteven told the House whether they shouldsupport the Motion. You got up andtalked about clarity. Should the Housesupport the Motion?
Mr Speaker, thank you foryour guidance. Mr Speaker, with this clarification andinformation, I therefore plead that theHouse supports this Motion.
Yes, HonDr Prempeh, do you have a point of order?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I wanted the Hon DeputyMinister for Power to finish with hisstatement. He said the preliminary estimateof Crown Agents Company Limited was22.7 million and when they issued theirfinal value for money, they said US$9million. I do not think that is what he meansbecause is he by that inference saying thateven after the final agreement, it has beenoverpriced by US$9 million? The Hon Deputy Minister would haveto conclude that statement --[Interruption.] I am just saying whatwould go on record. He did not concludeand then he sat down. And I am sayingthat he should conclude that bit. If he doesnot conclude that bit, it would mean thateven though the initial report was US$22.7million, the final report is US$9 million. Mr Speaker, even a GH¢1 million orGH¢1.00 overpricing is overpricing and so,he should not explain the US$ 9 millionaway, so that we can all be happy andcontinue with work. He did not do that bit
But he has savedGovernment a lot of money?
Yes! He has savedGovernment a lot of money. I agree. Butthe Hon Deputy Minister did notconclude. He said the initial report saidoverpricing of US$22.7 million and thefinal report says overpricing of US$9million -- That is what would reflect andthat is what I would want him to concludeon.
Mr Speaker, it is obviousthat you go for a value for money auditbecause you would want to substantiatesome of the prices that a company mayprovide. Yes, we now gave an implicativeterm and what the Ministry of Finance didwas to engage Crown Agents CompanyLimited to do a detailed assessment andthere is a process for that. So, followingthat process, it came to light that thecontract value had to be reduced by US$9million. And that 9 million, we intend toapply it to widen the scope. Mr Speaker, having said this and withyour permission, I therefore wish to solicitthe support of the House to adopt theReport. Thank you.
HonMinority Leader, would you not want totake the last bite of the cherry? There areabout two or more Hon Members to speakon the Majority side? It seems to me thaton the Minority side, there is nobody elsestanding apart from yourself willing tospeak. So, should we let you speak or weshould let those on the Majority sidespeak?
I said I hadnoticed the Minister for Roads andHighways who yielded to the Hon DeputyMinister for Power and so, I think youshould recognise him.
All right. Minister for Roads and Highways?
Mr Speaker,thank you for the opportunity tocontribute to the Motion on the floor ofthe House and to urge Hon Members ofthis House to approve of the Motionbefore us. Mr Speaker, the debate that hascharacterised this House is a normalprocess in assuring that the people ofGhana get value for money for all projectsthat are carried out. Mr Speaker, any time the project incontract management is to be funded bya contractor who facilitates the acquisitionof the funds, the normal practice is thatwe go for value for money audit. This isbecause the contractor would have givenyou an indicative price list of how hewould execute the contract. Mr Speaker, it is only fair that when acontractor gives you an indicative pricelist, a third party who is neutral in thewhole set up then evaluates the price listin accordance with prevailing currentprices. That is the essence of value for money.When that is done, the consultant orthose who do the value for money audit,then can say that after having looked atthe price list and current market prices,we think that we can make a saving on theindicative price list that was given. Indeed,that is the value for money. Mr Speaker, this is not the first time --[Interruption] -- Dr A. A. Osei -- rose --
On a point of oder. Mr Speaker, I am sure my good Friendhas a copy of the Report. That is not howthe final US$9 million was arrived at. MrSpeaker, if you would make reference tothat page, the US$9 million was arrived atbecause one party had US$11 million andanother party had US$7 million, and theysaid, let us take the mid-point. That iswhat is in the document. [Interruptions.]
“HCE objected to this proposal bythe GoG team and insisted that thisproject as it stands cannot be held-up for another three weeks, due tothe time constraints tied to theproject and the loan agreement. Bythis HCE counter offer to meet theGoG team mid-way on the twopositions of US$7 million by theHCE and US$11 million by theGoG…” Mr Speaker, “as a midway” -- HCE'sfinal offer to the GoG team is at US$9million. So, if he gives the impression thatit is the Crown Agents that did value for money to get the US$9 million, he wouldbe misleading this House. [Interruption]-- GoG said US$11 million --
HonAkoto Osei, thank you. Yes, Hon Minister, continue.
Mr Speaker,what the Hon Dr Akoto Osei is reading iscaptured on the letterhead of CrownAgents -- [Interruption.] In fact, I amhappy I am not an economist. [Laughter.]It is captured on the letterhead of CrownAgents --
HonMinister, you said you are happy what?
I am not aneconomist. [Laughter.] This is because Iam a lawyer and I know that --
So, areyou happy you are a lawyer?
Mr Speaker, Iam happy I am a lawyer [Laughter] --because having written this on theirletterhead, the authors of this letter --
HonMinister, you prefer the song, “if you arehappy and you know, you clap yourhands” [Laughter.] All lawyers shouldclap their hands. Hon K. T. Hammond, are you happyyou are a lawyer?
Mr Speaker, I am verysatisfied -- [Laughter]-- that I chosethe legal profession and not economics.
-- rose --
Mr Speaker, I am happyhe says he is not an economist. This isbecause, if he came to that area, we wouldhave trouble. What I just read does not take fromwhat he read. I said, with the process ofarriving at US$9 million, HCE had US$7million and GoG had US$11million. So, asa midway -- That is why I am happy he isnot an economist. He does notunderstand the word “midway.”[Laughter.] That is how they got the US$9million. Eleven plus seven divided by two,gives you nine. Then Crown Agents Company Ltd tookthat -- [Interruption] -- Mr Speaker,Crown Agents Company Ltd took thatfigure and put it on this letterhead.[Uproar] That is what happened.[Interruption]
Sorry,Hon Minister, continue.
Mr Speaker, theCrown Agents Company Ltd says and Icontinue with the quote: “Consequently, we are of the viewthat the above named contract hasthe potential to offer value formoney for the Ghanaiantaxpayer…” Mr Speaker, I will stop here --[Laughter.] But Mr Speaker, value for money, as anexercise, is not new. Indeed, in 2008,before Dr Akoto Osei left the Ministry ofFinance, they had successfully negotiateda facility of about US$350 million fromWeldy Lamont. Mr Speaker, indeed, in 2009, when wecame to office, we successfully negotiated aUS$70 million reduction -- [Hear! Hear!]--using value for money - the WeldyLamont. Mr Speaker, we expanded the scope ofthe Weldy Lamont.
HonMinister, what is the relevance of this?
Mr Speaker, therelevance is that the value for money isvalue for the Ghanaian taxpayer and italways has to look at the indicative pricelist given by the contractor against therealistic market prices and there aresavings that are always made. When thesavings are made, the money is notcleaned off. It is applied to the scope ofworks. That is what I am trying to say. Mr Speaker, I am saying that it hashappened over the years. Indeed, the Mimand Techiman substations were not partof the Weldy Lamont --
But sinceyou have mentioned Hon Akoto Osei'sname, in the tradition of this House, I haveto recognise him. So, Hon Akoto Osei?
Mr Speaker, my goodFriend is right. I had to negotiate the loan. I did not dothe contract. However, I commend hisGovernment for finding savings. If thosesavings would not have found their wayinto luxury cars, I would have been happy.The savings found their way into Lexusand it is on record. That is mydisappointment. [Uproar] I thank you Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, nosavings out of the value for money audithas even been cleaned off. Recently, on the Ridge Hospital issue,US$27 million was said to be the valuethat Ghanaians could use to expand the scope. After having saved US$27 million,the scope of the Ridge Hospital has beenexpanded. That is the essence of valuefor money -- [Interruption.] Some Hon Members -- rose --
HonNitiwul, do you have a point of order?
On a pointof order. Mr Speaker, I am glad. I wanted tochallenge him on his figures but Hon DrA. A. Osei has already commended him. But Mr Speaker, it is also really truethat the money that was used to purchasethose cars -- because he would rememberthat the Exim Bank loan that he is talkingabout was used to do rural electrification.They have done the first phase and theyare currently doing the second phase. Mr Speaker, unfortunately, anytime heand their side are speaking, they nevergive credit to the NPP for bringing thatmoney. [Uproar.] I would want him toexpatiate. [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I would want him to tellthis House and put it on record that really,the current rural electrification projectsthat are going on now, some even in myconstituency, it was the NPP thatnegotiated that loan. [Hear! Hear!] Iwould want him to put on record, so thatthe whole world would know --[Interruption.] Upper East, Upper West,Northern and Volta Regions.
HonNitiwul, thank you. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker,indeed, Hon Nitiwul is my in-law.
Mr Speaker, I rise tosupport the Motion purely because otherparts of Ghana need to get electricity. TheGovernment must do whatever possibleto send electricity to every part of thecountry. On that basis, I support it. Mr Speaker, but on the basis that ourGovernment negotiators would negotiate
a contract through a commercialagreement, and agree on the sum, hopingthat a certain policy or programme calledvalue for money audit would help themout, it tells me that we should evennegotiate. If they are waiting for value formoney audits by Crown Agents CompanyLimited to tell them that when they werenegotiating the contract in the first place,they did not do good work? The contract of China HunanConstruction Engineering GroupCorporation was not negotiated alone.They did not just bring a price list. It wasa contract between the Government ofGhana and China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation, whichwas sent to Crown Agents CompanyLimited, who found from their preliminaryassessment that it was overloaded withUS$22.7 million. Mr Speaker, that is the sad aspect.Who are the negotiators who have beenrepresenting the Government of Ghana;be it lawyers, economists, price theorists,et cetera? If Crown Agents Company Limited siton their minutes and say when itidentified the US$22.7 million, it allowedthe Government of Ghana to negotiate withChina Hunan Construction EngineeringGroup Corporation and they came up withdiffering figures of they expecting us totake US$11 million or US$7 million andCrown Agents Company Limited being thearbiters, said that we should find acompromise ground, which is US$9 million,Ghanaians should be bowing their headsin shame. [Interruption.] --
On a point oforder. Mr Speaker, he is totally misleading thisHouse. Value for money auditing is partof the process of contracting. So, to say that we waited until value for money auditis done, it is to mislead the House. It ispart of the process.
Mr Speaker, he did notenlighten anybody here. Government negotiators and ChinaHunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation signed a CommercialAgreement, which was sent for value formoney analysis. That is my point.Whenthe preliminary assessment was made,they said that it had been overinflated byover US$22 million -- Mr Speaker, maybe, if the Governmentnegotiators had done serious work,Crown Agents Company Limited wouldhave seen very minimal differentiation.[Interruption] Mr Forson -- rose --
HonDeputy Minister, would you notcontribute after him?
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague isgrossly misleading this House. Mr Speaker, the contract was notsigned before we submitted the documentto the Crown Agents Company Limited.The contract was initialled, but notsigned. Mr Speaker, the Hon Colleague isgrossly misleading this House.
Mr Speaker, before thecontract was initialled, which Governmentagency or negotiators decided to -- Actually, if I find out that the formerHon Minister or the Hon Deputy Ministerfor Finance initialled this Agreement, Iwill weep. Thank God I am not a lawyer.[Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I thank God I am not aGovernment negotiator because I wouldbow down my head in shame. To eveninitial, what did they look at before theydid so? [Interruptions.] Yes, he wouldsay, “Master, some of these things..” Mr Speaker, but if the World Bank findsout that a contractor in Ghana called DrMatthew Opoku Prempeh has abused theprocurement process in Ghana, thatcontractor is banned from World Bankprojects all over the world for five years. Mr Speaker, for that one too, thank GodI am not an economist or an Hon DeputyMinister to tell Ghanaians that somebodyhas overbilled Government of Ghana byUS$3.6 million or US$1.9 million, and thatthe Government's Attorney-General saysthat the person should refund,Government still goes ahead to give thisperson such a gargantuan overbillingcontract. That same person, who is a localsupplier, has been found once again to beoverbilling the Government. --[Interruption] --
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, I think that my Hon Brothershould focus on what he is saying. Mr Speaker, the issue about value formoney audit is not talking about just -Today, if fuel price is GH¢10 per gallonand as of the time that the negotiating isgoing on, fuel price reduces, it wouldaffect that contract sum. That is not tosay that the contractor intentionallydecided to overprice. Those circums-tances must be taken into consideration.So, he should not -- The kind ofarguments that my -- [Interruptions.]
Mr Speaker, he is on apoint of order; does he want to speak fortwo hours? Eye tinase. Alhjah Sorogho: Mr Speaker, is he theRt Hon Speaker?
Mr Speaker, nobody hascast insinuations on anybody.
HonPrempeh, what does eye tinease mean?
Mr Speaker, by ourStanding Orders, I have to translatemyself. Mr Speaker, it is alright. He hasspoken a lot. I have taken what he hasspoken on board. I would want tocontinue, so that I can finish. Mr Speaker, I have not said anybodyhas stolen money. I did not say that. Heshould not put that in the Hansard. Byhis statement, he has put that in theHansard; I did not. Mr Speaker, all I am saying is that if theGovernment did any due diligence andfound out that the local representative ofthis brilliant contract is the samecontractor who has been found to overbillthe Government of Ghana in a similarcontract -- [Interruption] -- Could thatbe disputed? Mr Speaker, even by the standards ofthe World Bank and their procurementlaws, that company that has been foundin one corner of the world abusing aWorld Bank process is banned from allWorld Bank projects for a number of years. How come the Governmentnegotiators, lawyers and economists --thank God I was not one -- TheGovernment, Hon Deputy Ministers,thank God I am not one yet -- did notfind out that there is a similarity betweenSmartty's Management and ProductionLimited in this China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation contractand Smarttys in the rebranding contract.Mr Speaker, they are one and the same.
I can seethe former Hon Minister for Power on hisfeet and I can also see the Hon DeputyMinister for Power on his feet. Hon Deputy Minister, have youstopped acknowledging your former HonMinister?
Mr Speaker, when theBishop is around and the Pope rises, theBishop yields to the Pope.
That iswhat I expected you to do.
I stood up and realisedthat my former Hon Minister was up, so Iquickly took my seat.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto draw the House's attention that at thattime these contracts were negotiated,Smarttys was a non issue; it had notarisen. Unless, of course, he wants us totake retrospective action, which iscontrary to the Constitution of Ghana. Thank you.
Hon (Dr)Prempeh? Dr A. A. Osei-- rose --
Mr Speaker, is it a pointof order?
HonPrempeh, are you yielding to Hon (Dr)Akoto Osei? I have recognised you. Continue.
Mr Speaker, I wish theHon (Dr) Kwabena Donkor had not saidwhat he said, but I will gloss over it. Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that, if-- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Minister for Power talked aboutthe Bishop and the Pope. I do not know ifhe is a Catholic. But between the Bishopand the Pope, there are several people --Archbishop, Cardinal and so, when hetalks about -- Bishop, I mean -- I am a Catholic andhe has to be very careful. I am happy he isnot a Catholic. [Laughter.]
The Archbishopis a Bishop.
There isBishop, Archbishop --
Mr Speaker, there isCardinal and even after Cardinal, there issenior Cardinal and so on. There is novoting Cardinals in the Conclave after 80years. There is a lot of hierarchy and it isnot that easy.
Hon(Alhaji) Fuseini, are you a Catholic?
You have had your bite?
Mr Speaker, Ijust heard, Hon (Dr) Akoto Osei, sayingthat there are many layers and hementioned Archbishop. I thought thatwas a Bishop? [Laughter.]
Actually, thereis only one layer because the Bishops andArchbishops are Bishops. They are notthe same but he is a Bishop.
Mr Speaker, there is adifference between an Imam and a ChiefImam.
Mr Speaker, thePope himself is a Bishop of Rome.
Mr Speaker, I am gladhe is not a Catholic. He should stay in hisreligion.
Mr Speaker, hedoes not know that I attended St Joseph'sand then when I was growing up, I nearlybecame a Catholic. I know that from aBishop, one goes to an Archbishop. Theyare Bishops but one is higher. Then, youhave a Cardinal, then the Pope. The Popeis a Bishop of Rome. So, indeed, he shouldknow that we are talking about the samepeople. [Laughter.]
I do notknow whether today, Hon (Dr) A. A. Oseiand Hon Alhaji Fuseini have someagreement today to play ping pong whenone talks, then -- I will not recogniseboth of you again.
Mr Speaker, he knows Iam called Alhaji Abdullah. That is whyhe is trying to take me there.
We haveto make progress.
Mr Speaker, it is ofserious knowledge that, this Agreementwe are trying to rectify today, has not yetbeen signed. Actually, it is only afterParliament agrees today, that they can goahead and sign the final document. I amjust saying that, since the document has not been signed, that information aboutSmarttys Management and ProductionCompany here and there, is still relevant. Mr Speaker, the Government of Ghana(GoG) being prudent with our resources,should make sure that this contract isreally looked at again. Smartty's here,there and everywhere. We cannotcontinue to let companies under the guise--
Hon (Dr)Prempeh, I will urge you to be windingup.
Mr Speaker, in windingup, I would encourage and really try toimpress on the Hon Ministers for Financeand Power to look again at this contractand come out with administrativesanctions against the local represen-tatives. Since he has not refunded all themoney, we should not let this Contract -- Deputy Minister for Finance (MrCassiel A. Forson)(MP): Mr Speaker,thank you for the opportunity tocontribute to this Motion. Mr Speaker, Hon Members wouldrecall that, on the 23rd of December, 2015,this Honourable House approved the loanof US$98 million for this particular facility. Mr Speaker, let me put on record thatthe Supplier's Contract is between GoGand China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation. I will dwellmy contribution very much on the valuefor money audit. Mr Speaker, we spent almost two yearsto negotiate this very contract. Thenegotiating team spent almost two yearsto look at the value audit one. Mr Speaker, the amount of US$22.7million was initially arrived at when wewere not making headway the documentcoming from the Ministry of Power.
On a point of order. Mr Speaker, when we approved of theloan, the contract had not been broughtto this House and so, I could not havecommended them for doing that. I had noaccess to that information. In fact, it was the Hon (Dr) Prempeh,who reminded the House that, thecontract should come to the House. So, Ido not know what he is talking about. Mr Speaker, but more importantly, hesaid, people have been misleading thisHouse. He is rather misleading this Houseand I would want to read what I readearlier --
Hon (Dr)A. A. Osei, this document --
Mr Speaker, he gave theimpression that the value for money auditthat arrived at US$9 million was based onsome pricing analysis.
It is therein the document. Yes, continue.
Mr Speaker, I have withme the Hansard of 23rd December, 2015. Ibeg to quote column 3321: “Even though the Select Committeehas not had the chance to look at it,having read the Report, I amcomfortable that the Governmentnegotiators have done their job butthe Select Committee can pronounceon that.” Mr Speaker, he went ahead to say that;I beg to quote: “On that basis, I think that havingspent two years negotiating, and itbeing brought before us, I secondthe Motion”. Mr Speaker, this is the comment he --
Mr Speaker, thereference is to the loan and not theCommercial Agreeement. It is to the loanand that is why he is misleading thisHouse. This is because he himself said,even though they have not seen theReport -- it had not come to this House.That is the point.
Mr Speaker, I have withme the document. Hon (Dr) A. A. Osei wasmaking reference to the CommericalAgreement. Mr Speaker, he read the value formoney audit. You will remember that, evenat the Committee stage, he talked aboutthe fact that, he had read the value formoney audit and he thinks that theGovernment of Ghana negotiators havedone a good job. Mr Speaker, I wish to conclude bysaying that, we strongly believe that --
Hon (Dr)A. A. Osei?
Mr Speaker, he is puttingwords in my mouth. I think he shouldwithdraw it.
Are youprepared to yield to your Hon Colleague?
Mr Speaker,the Hon Deputy Minister cannot be right.At the time we were considering theFinancing Agreement and it was theFinancing Agreement that he wascontributing to in the Report. The Report on the Contract Agreementwas brought before us. So, how could hehave contributed to a report which hasjust come before the House? That was theFinancing Agreement, which is totallydifferent from the Commercial Agreement,which gives details of the contract. So, Ithink he is grossly misleading the House.
Mr Speaker, the HonColleague is misleading us once again. Heknows that on the day we actuallypresented the document before thisHouse, we presented the CommercialAgreement together with the FinancingAgreement.
Mr Speaker, this is aHouse of record. There is a way the Housegets documents when they are laid beforeus. It is not when one gives something toa committee member somewhere. Howcould he say that it was brought to theHouse?
Thankyou. Hon Majority Leader?
It was not brought tothe House. The Clerks-at-the-Tableshould be directed to check the files. Weconsidered a Financial Agreement and nota Contract Agreement.
HonChairman of the Committee, do you wantto say something?
Mr Speaker, when the LoanAgreement was referred to the FinanceCommittee, we demanded for the ContractAgreement, even though it was not laidofficially, to be referred to the sectorcommittee. So, we perused that CommercialAgreement. That is the reason the Hon RankingMember of the Committee made reference,that even though the Contract Agreementwas not before the House, having readthe value for money audit Report, he was
convinced that the Government'snegotiators had done a good job. That iswhat he did.
I wouldnot take any more comment on this. Thisis because I think the Hansard speaks foritself. You have made your point and theyhave also made their points.
Mr Speaker, heinterpretes that Report to be --
HonMembers, Order! Hon Members, let ushave some order. In my opinion, this matter is in theHansard and so, the Hansard wouldspeak for itself. I would want to recognise the HonMinority Leader if he is desirous ofspeaking. After him, I will go back to theHon Chairman of the Committee to makesome comments. Anybody who will wantto speak should contact these two peopleto yield to him. Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity to say a few wordsabout the Commercial Contract betweenthe Government of Ghana and the ChinaHunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation for the supply and erectionof electrical materials and equipment forthe electrification of the 556 communitiesin the country. Mr Speaker, let me first indicate thatthis whole brouhaha about the CommercialContract stems from the Committee onMines and Energy that, by somehappenstance, submitted two Reports tothis House. Mr Speaker, the first Report wassubmitted to this House. Subsequently, itwas replaced by a second Report. Today,the Chairman of the Committee gets up tothe second Report that came and purportsthat the second Report was a mistake. There are many issues in the secondReport, however, which seeks to correctsome information in the first Report. So, if he says it is the second Reportthat is rather a mistake, then what happensto the mistakes in the first Report theysubmitted? I cannot understand. Be that as it may, Mr Speaker, I thinkwhat we have before us is the Report ofthe Committee and we have to deal withit. One point that the Hon Chairmansought to correct, or maybe, amend, wasthe fact that, on the last page of the secondReport that came, the last paragraph ofthe conclusion says: “The Committee by a majoritydecision recommends to the Houseto adopt its Report”. Subsequently, we were told that it wasnot just a mere majority but anoverwhelming majority. Be that as it may,a significant proportion of the Committeemembers recommend to us that we shouldadopt that Report to approve of thisCommercial Contract. That is the essenceof what they sought to do. I would plead with the Committee thatthe next time round, they should come tous with just one Report, instead ofsending us on this slippery path. It doesnot do the Committee any good at all. Mr Speaker, that is my first point. The second issue that I have observedrelates to the plenary issues that we havebeen haggling about.It also relates to howagreements come to be introduced in theHouse. Mr Speaker, I think in initiatingagreements, Government should, on alloccasions, endeavour to include lawyers
On a point oforder. Mr Speaker, I shook my head becauseI do not have any hair and I think he alsodoes not have any. So, we shake our headsbecause we do not have any hair. MrSpeaker, is it not so? In rural electrification, there aredifferent poles for different activities. Wehave 11 metre poles for the high-tensionthat brings the power to the community.When one drops it and you take it sevenslides, one would need nine metres. Onecannot use the nine metres because onewould not have the necessary clearance.So, that contract has nine metres and 11metres because they were for differentactivities. The savings were not from the poles.When we negotiated the price list, wemade US$70 million. It was not from thepoles.
Mr Speaker,I insist that the 11 metre polesconsideration was part of the negotiationsand savings. The Hon Minister knowsthat. I believe the Hon Deputy Minister,turning it through his head, knows what Iam talking about; he knows it. Mr Speaker, so, let it not be said that,maybe, there were some shady deals. Itwas part of the main consideration whichbrought the price down. That is it. MrSpeaker, it even had to do with thicknessof the poles that were to be imported intothe country. The Hon Deputy Ministerknows what I am talking about. Let himsay that he does not know what I amtalking about. That is it; that is whathappened. It is good that savings are made forthis country, however, because if they arechannelled into other useful ventures,
especially for our rural communities, allthe better for us as a country. I commendGovernment for doing that. But I wouldwant to make a point that it was not forany evil deed or contrivance. It was notfor that at all. Basically, it was just inrespect of the heights and thickness ofthe poles that were brought in. TheGovernment said they could do with it. Indeed, there were examples of shorterand thinner poles that had stood the testof time. They insisted that was whatamounted to the US$70 million savings -[Laughter.] Mr Speaker, basically, it is good. I amsaying that, basically, it is an essentialcomponent of the savings and letanybody challenge me on that. Mr Speaker, we are told of the initialoverpricing of this contract to the tune ofUS$22.7 million. Some due diligence wasdone and it was brought down to aboutUS$13 million initially, through US$11million, and ultimately, to the US$9 million.In my view, that is worth noting. What Iam not too sure of is whether due diligencecan be subjected to negotiations. Mr Speaker, I am not too sure that --
HonMinister, under which Ministry is thisproject?
Mr Speaker,because I was at the Ministry of Energyand in charge of power -- This is underthe Ministry of Power and I initiated thefirst phase. Mr Speaker, I reluctantly got upbecause the Hon Minority Leader has saidsomething which should not be allowedto stay in the Hansard. He said that the US$70 million that was saved was byreason of savings on poles. That shouldnot be allowed to stay in the Hansard.The poles that were brought under theproject could not even come up to US$70million, let alone savings of US$70 millionon them. Mr Speaker, that is palpablyuntrue. We should not allow it to stay inthe Hansard. Mr Speaker, what he is trying to say isthat we bought too many poles under theold agreement that was inherited by theNational Democratic Congress (NDC),that we thought it wise to reduce thenumber of poles and save US$70 million.That is not true. It is dangerous. I thinkthat the Hon Minority Leader should comeon course, so that future generations whowould read the Hansard would not saythat US$70 million was saved just bychanging of poles.
Mr Speaker,anybody who heard me would testify thatI did not say that it was attributable“only”; I said “basically”. It is a qualifiedrendition. I hope he listens to me now.When I talk, he swivels his chair andlistens to those people at the back; hedoes not listen to me. He does not listento me and then he jumps into the frail tomake some statements. Mr Speaker, thatis my difficulty with the Hon Minister forRoads and Highways. Mr Speaker, I deliberately elected notto go on the path of the vehicles -- luxuryvehicles. He wants to force me into thatdiscourse. Mr Speaker, I reject thattemptation. [Laugher.] Mr Speaker, the issue about duediligence by Crown Agents CompanyLimited has made some savings for us asa nation . I have always insisted that this House should also be able to engageconsultants when such matters comebefore us, so that we can compare. It should not always be that theExecutive would bring documents to uswith due diligence done on theirdocumentation by their chosen agentsand then Parliament swallows whatevercomes from the authority that might haveconducted the due diligence lock, stockand barrel. Mr Speaker, it does not helpGhana; it does not help us at all. It also appears Crown AgentsCompany Limited have a monopoly overthe conduct of due diligence in thiscountry. Mr Speaker, it should not be likethat. If the Executive have opted to go underthat umbrella, Parliament should not dothat. At least, we are able to compare.Otherwise, Mr Speaker, if we should takewhatever comes from Crown AgentsCompany Limited without any probe, thisnation would be short-changed. It is notgood for us as a country at all. Mr Speaker, again, I am surprised thatan Hon Minister would rise in this Houseand say that whoever is a representativeor an agent of China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation,Government is not concerned. Mr Speaker, I believe if I had shown upat that negotiation as representing ChinaHunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation -- Hon Deputy Minister islaughing when I mentioned myself -- hewould have been the first to ask what Iwas doing in the room. They will beconcerned. Mr Speaker, the background of theperson or the group representing areputable company like China Hunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation should be investigated, atleast, for criminality. This is basic, sothat Government would not end upembarrassed. If he tells me that whoevershowed up to represent China HunanConstruction Engineering GroupCorporation, Government would not beconcerned and that Government shouldnot be concerned -- I am surprised, MrSpeaker. I am surprised at the utterance of theHon Minister for Roads and Highways --Not at him -- I am not surprised at hispersonality, I am surprised at his utterance.This is because, it is dangerous for theeconomic health of this country.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, he did not listen. He justswivelled and rose to face me. I wouldyield to him if he wants to say --
Mr Speaker, hecould not get me well. When I was in secondary school, I readthe “Mine Boy”.There is a famousquotation in that book and Mr Speaker, Ibeg to quote: “Johannes drunk andJohannes sober” were two differentpersons. That is Johannes. It is the same thingI said. I said that Government had acontract with China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation. Thepurposes of this discussion is ChinaHunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation. When the Hon Minority Leader talksabout the branding of the buses,Government had a contract with SmarttysManagement and Production Company.Smarttys has a name Madam SelassieIbrahim, as a representative in China
Hunan Construction Engineering GroupCorporation, and Madam SelassieIbrahim, as Smarttys Management andProduction Company, are two differentpersons. Just like --
You arerelying on “Mine Boy”.
Peter Abrahamswrote the book.
What didhe say?
“Johannesdrank and Johannes sober” are twodifferent persons.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Minister for Roads and Highwaysdid not need to travel outside Ghana togive us examples in this. In Akan folklore, there is KwakuAnanse. Kwaku Ananse the hunter andKwaku Ananse the farmer are twodifferent personalities. If Kwaku Anansethe hunter did something and was caught,the next time he would say he is KwakuAnanse the farmer, not Kwaku Ananse thehunter. Mr Speaker, that is the gospelaccording to the Hon Minister for Roadsand Highways who nearly became aCatholic. Mr Speaker, these are turbulent times;otherwise, these stories would not becoming up in Parliament. Let it not be saidthat anybody is against Smarttys. We would criticise the deeds of Smarttys, notthe person behind it. Mr Speaker, that isthe essence of our criticism. That is theissue. In the case of the rebranding, there areissues. The amount involved is about theequivalent of US$1 million. The sameperson then shows up to front for anothercompany; this time it involves not US$1million but US$98 million. Do we thinkeyebrows should not be raised when thismatter is still current? As the Hon Minister may agree withme, the person or that company has notsufficiently purged itself of thosemisdeeds. Do we go, and maybe, in thecontext, award or even reward thatcompany with such a big amount ofcontract? The natural instinct of anyhuman being with conscience would askwhether we are fighting or rewardingcorruption? Mr Speaker, that is the issueat the heart of this discourse. Mr Speaker, I cannot be against anyGhanaian enterprise. We would want toencourage Ghanaian enterprises but whenmatters crop up, we should prick theconscience of this nation. The Presidenthas told us that he would want to fightcorruption. Mr Speaker, are we positioningourselves as a country or as a Governmentto be seen or to be deemed to be fightingcorruption? That is the issue to raise. Iwould think that if this matter hadhappened way back, and the company hadsufficiently purged itself, and we wereeven talking about US$100 million, US$50million or whatever, I would not care. Mr Speaker, here we are four days afterthis rebranding matter came up, we hadthis in Parliament. Just four days and itwas reintroduced by way of the laying ofthe Report. That is the issue and that is my worry. This is because it would inflicta mortal wound on a Government thatpurports to be fighting corruption. Thatis the worry. That is not to say that Ghanaiancompanies should not be helped to comeup and sufficiently be well positioned,such that perhaps, next time round, theywould be able to mobilise their ownfunding to do this work for Ghanaians. Our people need electricity and thedelivery of potable water. If Ghanaians areworking to help us realise this dream, theyshould be commended.We should look atwhat is happening behind the curtain andinterrogate issues; which is what we aredoing now. Mr Speaker, we are not saying that thiscontract should not go through or itshould not be approved. Are we givingthe assurance that that companyrepresenting China Hunan ConstructionEngineering Group Corporation hassufficiently purged itself? What are we saying to other companieswhich fall foul in similar regard today,tomorrow and the days after tomorrow?As a country, what would we be sayingto them? Are we punishing or rewardingcorruption? That is what should informus. Mr Speaker, all said and done, weshould encourage Ghanaian companies.We should do what is right. Thank you.
As the Hon Minority Leadersaid, a few words. Mr Speaker, we should commend yourCommittee for coming out with thisReport. If you look at page 6, item 9.7, valuefor money assessment, Mr Speaker, yourCommittee looked at all the documents
HonAkoto Osei, do you want to saysomething?
Mr Speaker, I know he isthe Hon Deputy Majority Leader. Hecalled my name. As the Hon DeputyMajority Leader, I thought his job was toassist you. Mr Speaker, I thought you had ruledon the matter and we should rest it. Hewent back to it. So next time, he should becautioned as a Leader of the House. If hedoes that, then what are we supposed todo?
HonChairman of Committee, do you want towind up?
Mr Speaker, I wouldwant to thank Hon Members for theircontribution.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I would want to thank thembut there is one thing that I would justwant us to capture. That has to do withvalue for money. Mr Speaker, I do not want us to leavehere with the impression that we did notdo well as far as value for money isconcerned. Mr Speaker, if you look at thelist of attendees, they were 19 in number.
Page 24. At the firstand second meetings, out of the 19, MrSpeaker, the Ministry of Finance, Ministryof Power and the contractor -- Thecontractors were represented by fivepeople - Tan Lin, Fu Jianghua -
Whatdocument are you reading from? TheContract Agreement?
I shouldlook on page 24?
Yes, Mr Speaker. Youwould see Tan Lin, Fu Jianghua, Li ZhznLai, Xiang Tianqi. Mr Speaker, they all attended. When youcome to the contractor's representativesand consultants, it is not just one name.That is where you have the two names --Selassie Ibrahim and Gabriel Quain asrepresentatives and consultants. Mr Speaker, the contractors were therein person. Let us not lose sight of thatbecause the Crown Agents CompanyLimited, Ghana/UK were represented bythree strong companies. So, the numberof attendees were19. How can one justisolate one and say that because of thatperson's presence -- Mr Speaker, I would want to thankeverybody. The Committee did a very good job andI am happy that Crown Agents CompanyLimited, Ghana/UK have also come outwith value for money. The Agreementwhich we arrived at was that we couldmake savings. On this note, I urge everybody tosupport the Motion. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonChairman, when you look at page 2 ofyour Report, (iii), was this document laidoriginally?
Yes Mr Speaker,. The Credit Facility has already beenapproved.
Whatabout (iv)? What is the status of (iv), theInternational Federation of ConsultingEngineering (FIDIC)? Was it brought tothe Committee?
That is --[Inaudible.]
TheAgreement? So, the Agreement was laid?
Then,what about (v), the minutes on value formoney negotiations? Was it also laid?Was it also included?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
HonMembers, before I put the Question, I willwant to deliver a ruling. Hon Members, during the majorsubmissions of Hon Dr Akoto Osei, theMember of Parliament for Old Tafo, herecommended that the Chairman of theCommittee on Mines and Energywithdraws the Report of the Committeeand amends it. He made it clear in so manywords -- Even though after the end ofhis extensive submission, he said “Withthese few words . . . ” -- That he wouldnot see himself clearly in supporting theMotion if the Report was not withdrawn. What is the gravamen of Hon Dr AkotoOsei's complaint? I am waiting for you.[Pause.] It is that a company, oneSmarttys Management and ProductionCompany Limited, is the localrepresentative of the contractor, ChinaGroup Hunan Construction EngineeringCorporation. The events relating to SmarttysManagement and Production CompanyLimited are well known and I do not intendto repeat them here. I would not repeatthem because that is not the focus of myruling. The focus of my ruling is whetherthe Report of the Committee gavesufficient information. This is because thatis the bottom of Hon Dr Akoto Osei'scomplaint. Hon Members, Erskine May, in his 24thEdition, page 899, says the followingabout Report of Select Committees: “The Report of a select committeeon a public matter usually takes theform of a document presented to theHouse, giving an account of whatthe committee has done, reviewingthe evidence which it has received,and offering the committee'sopinions and conclusions.” Hon Members, it is on the basis of thisthat I intend to rule. The question is, didthe Report give an account of what theCommittee has done? Did the Reportreview the evidence which it received? Didthe Report give its opinion and did itconclude? If the answers to thesequestions are “yes”, then I must rule thatthe Committee does not have to amendthis Report. Hon Members, paragraph 3.0 of theCommittee's Report talks about referencedocuments. We have been told on page 2(iii) that the Credit Facility Agreement hasalready been approved by the House. Weare told that items numbered (iv) and (v)on page 2 were laid before the House andare therefore, property of the House. Didthe Committee give an account of what ithas done? My answer is, yes. The Committee talked about who itworked with and also the document itrelied on. Did the Committee tell us aboutthe evidence it had received? My answeris, yes. That evidence is also available toall Hon Members of the House by virtueof the fact that it was laid before theHouse. The reference to these documents inthe Report enable anybody who isdesirous of finding out more about thisAgreement to refer to those documentsthat have been referred to. Did the Committee state its opinion?My answer is, yes. Did the Committeearrive at its conclusion? Yes! It did soby a majority decision. Once again, myanswer is, yes. So, I regret to say that Iam not at ad idem with my Hon Colleaguefrom Old Tafo and I would not be mindedto accept his invitation to me to invite theChairman of the Committee to amend theReport. Thank you, Hon Members. Question put, and Motion agreed to.
Consequential Resolution, item 6?
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Mr Speaker, if we may takeitem 4, that is Presentation of Papers. Afterthat we can take a short break and comeback later in the day. Item 4 (c).
That is so.
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, that is the onlyPaper that is ready now. So, if we cansuspend Sitting for about 30 minutes. Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah -- rose --
Yes, HonRanking Member -- or you are an HonMember of the Committee onCommunications?
Mr Speaker, I am anHon Member of the Committee onCommunications. Mr Speaker, this Bill was originallyreferred to the Select Committee onCommunications. Upon some application,the Finance Committee was brought onboard as an appendage to help us look atthe possibility of some financialimplications. Mr Speaker, suddenly, because theyare more than us on the Committee, theyseem to want to take ownership of the Bill.But it remains the Committee onCommunications' Bill essentially. I do not know why the Hon Chairmanof the Finance Committee is the one --
Mr Speaker, I am theavailable Co-Chairman. This is because wedo not have the Hon Chairman for theCommittee on Communications here. Thatis why I stood up to lay the Paper.
Mr Speaker, as I statedearlier, if we could suspend Sitting forabout 30 minutes.
HonMembers, we have a lot of work to do. So,it is my prayer that we reconvene in 30minutes and continue working. Sitting is accordingly suspended for30 minutes. 1.58 p.m. -- Sitting suspended. 4.25 p.m. -- Sitting resumed.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon DrMatthew Opoku Prempeh, I saw youwaving. Have you taken over?
Mr Speaker, taking over,I have not and I cannot, but acting ispermissible — [Laughter.]
All right. But only acting, and you werewaving —
Mr Speaker, it goes intothe history books if you act as Presidentfor a day — [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, wemay take item 18 — Chartered Institute ofTaxation Bill, 2014 — at the ConsiderationStage. BILLS — CONSIDERATIONSTAGE Chartered Institute of TaxationBill, 2014
Clause19. Hon Chairman of Committee? Mr Speaker, that has really beenachieved in clause 19, subclause (1) andso, they did not really see — Subclause(3) was really superfluous and they didnot mind dropping it.
And so,what is your proposal?
Mr Speaker, that we deleteit.
You havenot advertised that?
Mr Speaker, clause 9,subclause (3)?
But HonChairman, that has not been advertised.All the advertised amendments are to dowith subclause (2) at page 7 of the OrderPaper. And so, my question is, why dowe not deal with the advertisedamendments before we come to subclause(3), which you intend to delete? You have advertised amendments.Have you already dealt with theadvertised amendments?
Mr Speaker, the viewof the Hon Chairman is that, we have dealtwith all the amendments in subclause (2)and we were left with the subclause (3)for you to put the Question.
When didwe deal with that?
Mr Speaker,what I very well remember is that, we hadtaken the amendments but not the votes.We were about taking the votes when HonDr Anthony Akoto Osei said that, lookingat subclause (3), if we did not look at itcarefully, it would have some effect onthose amendments. And so, we decidedto meet over it. We met and said that, wewould delete subclause (3) when we comeback, so that the other amendments wouldstand.
Mr Speaker, not only iswhat my Hon Colleague is saying is truebut also the words “Certified taxpractitioner” and “tax practitioner”together with clauses 13, 15 and 16, weresupposed to be revised during a secondConsideration Stage to make it more — Mr Speaker, the Question was not puton the subclauses and neither was it puton the whole clause. This is because thewords “tax practitioner” and “certified taxpractitioner”, as well as “firm” and“partners” did not sufficiently explainwhat they really meant, and that weshould even go back to clauses 13, 15 and16 and for a second Consideration Stagein the light of what had happened. Mr Speaker, it is understandable if theycome to say that they are deleting it. Theycan delete and —
Then Iwill put the Question on subclause (2) ofclause 19. And I take it that, the amendmentadvertised as (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and (v) haveall already been debated. This is becausethey all relate to subclause (2). These clauses are: i. Clause 19, subclause (2), paragraph(a), line 1, delete “engages” andinsert “engaging” and also delete“professes to practise” and insert“professing to practice” and in line2, delete “tax practitioner or taxadviser” and insert “or taxpractitioner”. ii. Clause 19 -- subclause (2),paragraph (b), delete “offers” andinsert “offering” and also delete“performs” and insert “performing iii. Clause 19, subclause (2), paragraph(c), line 1, delete “renders” andinsert “rendering” and also delete“assistance” and insert “assisting”. iv. Clause 19, subclause (2), paragraph(d), line 1, delete “renders” andinsert “rendering”. v. Clause 19, subclause (2), closingphrase after paragraph (d), line 1,delete “that” and insert “a”. Question put and amendments agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 19, subclause (3), delete. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 19 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 20 -- Use of designation byfirms.
Mr Speaker, I would wantthe Hon Chairman and his deputy toadvert their minds. We just deleted clause19 (3) and I wanted to ask the relevance ofclause 20 after we have deleted clause 19(3)? [Pause] Mr Speaker, if I may offer help. We justdeleted a subclause on how somebodybecomes a partner in a firm and callshimself a “chartered tax practitioner” or a“tax practitioner” because I believe theInstitute is not about regulating firms. Then you come to “use of designationby firms”. And my question is, since weare not registering firms and we are notdesignating partners in firms, why are webringing this clause?
Mr Speaker, lookingat it carefully and deleting subclause (3)of clause 19, there is an irrelevance overthere but what I would suggest is that welook at it at the second ConsiderationStage and see how we can proposeanother amendment over there. So, let usskip clause 20.
Weshould defer consideration of clause 20?
All right.I will defer further consideration of clause20. [Amendment deferred by leave of theHouse.] Clause 21 -- Fees
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 21, subclause (2), line 1, delete“fee”. So that it reads as follows: “The annual subscription shall bepaid on or before the first day ofJanuary each year”.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto ask a question. What type of fees are we talking about?Are they enrollment fees of students orfees of the Association of CharteredInstitute of Taxation? Is it a fee for theschool or the fee for the person who hasbeen registered to practise as taxpractitioner and chartered tax prac-titioners? This is because one willlegitimately have to go to Governmentchest and issue receipts from theController and Accountant-General'sDepartment. One is a private Association ofChartered Tax Practitioners like Ghana BarAssociation or something. So, there aredifferent categories of fees here because“The annual subscription fee” -- Ofwhat? Is it a magazine or staying on theregister as a chartered -- So, there are alot of fees as this is an institute and youmust take time and tell us the differenttypes of fees people are paying and wherethey are going? If it is only tax practitioners fee theyare collecting a year, it goes somewhereelse and if it is an association, it also goesto somewhere else. So take your time.
Mr Speaker, I think we havehad to drop “fee” not because ofanything else other than the fact that“subscription” simply means a fee beingpaid. Therefore, annual subscription feeis some sort of tautology. So, we havebeen advised to drop “fee “ --
HonChairman, I think that clause 21 (1) creates the impression that more than one fee maybe payable: “The fees payable under this Actshall be prescribed by the Counciland paid to the Registrar of theCouncil”. So, “fees” means, it can be more thanone. Clause 21 (1) tells us who prescribesit and who it is paid to. Am I correct?
So, thefees payable under this Act shall beprescribed by the Council and paid to theRegistrar of the Council. So, let us startwith clause 21 (1); do you envisage thepossibility of different kinds of fees? Isthat possible? Why is it not “the fee”?
Mr Speaker, I think that: “The fees payable under this Actshall be prescribed by the Council” That means, several fees are expected.
Thatmeans more than one.
Here, clause 21 (2) isannual subscription fee.
So,clause 21(2) is talking about just oneparticular type of fee.
One particular one --annual subscription fee.
And thequestion is, annual subscription of what?
Subscription formembership, I think.
Annualsubscription fee, you are talking of annualmembership fee?
In fact, we, on theCommittee, thought the problem was withthe word “fee”.
So, whydo you not say “all fees shall be paid onor before the first day of January each year. . .” You just mentioned in clause 21(1) butthere is a possibility of more than one fee.So, there can be an annual subscriptionfee. There can be, for example, if you area lawyer, you pay GBA dues. You paysolicitors licence and so, you pay morethan one fee. If you have chambers,you also pay registration fee; so, it ismore than one fee. I think that your interest is that any feeor all fees shall be paid on or before thefirst day of January. This is because if youtalk about various fees and then you comeand talk about only one kind of fee thatwould be paid here, then what about therest of the fees? I do not know whetherwe should defer it, so that you considerit?
I think we can defer it. [Amendment deferred by leave of theHouse.] Clause 22 -- Removal of name fromRegister
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 22, subclause (2), paragraph (a),line 2, delete “a”. So, it reads as follows: “If the Council is satisfied that theperson has subsequently becomefit and proper person to practise theprofession of taxation…”
I will putthe Question -- Yes, Hon Prempeh?
Mr Speaker, clause 22(1)(b): “The Council may strike off thename of a person from the register”. For a professional body, if they saythat they strike your name off, Mr Speaker,it is not about something like this that theygo and strike your name off. They suspend your membership whenyou do not pay your annual rate. But tostrike your name off the register, it wouldhave to be for stated misbehaviour ormisconduct. So, they are putting twothings together again. Striking one's nameoff the register is the big problem and notpaying an annual subscription fee --What about if the person has travelled?You do not strike the person's name out.You put it in the suspended list. So, Mr Speaker, please, striking one'sname off the register is bigger forsomebody not paying the fees. If youwould strike the name of a person offbecause he has not paid his fees, it shouldbe a certain number of years and then theperson not answering certain things. Mr Speaker, I would want you to thinkabout it. So, if I have not paid my fees forfour months, do you strike my name out?No! You suspend my membership. So,please, think about it. [Pause.] Mr Ahmed Ibrahim -- rose --
It shouldnot be struck out. Hon Ahmed, somebody has spent somany years trying to become a member ofa profession. The person is in a financialdifficulty, so, he cannot pay a certainsubscription immediately - the person isindisposed, has a stroke or something,Heaven forbid. By the time the person comes round,you have struck his name off and he is nolonger a tax practitioner. It is like debarringsomebody. It is a serious matter. Evenwhen you reregister him, the recordswould be there that his name has beenstruck off the roll of a professional body.It is very serious. So, for non-payment offees, you are not a member in goodstanding. That is why all theseorganisations publish members of goodstanding. So, once you are admitted into thatprofession, you continue being a member.A member of good standing is somebodywho has satisfied all the variousobligations that are supposed to besatisfied on a year to year basis. For example, in the courts, if you havenot paid for your solicitor's licence, youcannot file a writ and so on. They can, forexample, be setting other punishments -If you have not paid your subscription,you are not a member of good standingand therefore, you cannot sign off taxreturns. When somebody is filing his taxreturns and you signed off as a certifiedchartered tax practitioner, perhaps, youmust be a member of good standing. Youmust quote your number or whatever -- We must think through this thingcarefully, please. It is a very serious matter. Mr Puozaa -- rose --
HonChairman, I hope you are getting up todefer it? [Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Chairman -- let us thinkthrough it.
Mr Speaker, I wish tosuggest that we defer this one becausestriking out somebody's name is just tooserious a matter to decide withoutconsulting the people who are proposingthis --
HonChairman, are some of the members ofthe Chartered Institute of Taxation here?
Mr Speaker, as of theweekend, they were at a workshop atKoforidua.
Is itpossible to get them to come heretomorrow?
Yes, Mr Speaker, I would.
Yes, so,that we can consult them and makeprogress. This is their Bill and they shouldshow interest. Alhaji Ibrahim Dey Abubakari -- rose--
HonMember, are you expressing a viewdifferent from what has been expressed?I am prepared to listen to you.
Mr Speaker, thestandard practice is that in most of theprofessional organisations, when theannual subscription fee is not paid, justas my Hon Colleague has said, we suspend the person till when they pay.But to strike the name out, no -- Go andcheck any of the professionalorganisations. That is the standardpractice.
No! Youdo not even suspend the person.
Mr Speaker, you can.You would not use the name as you aresaying, like membership and those kindof --
No! Inthe legal profession, you are not -- Theypublish it in the papers. You would seethe members in good standing. A member in good standing is a memberwho has satisfied all his obligationsincluding --[Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Member? Let me recogniseyou.
Thankyou, Mr Speaker. With our institution, the GhanaInstitute of Surveyors, what happens isthat if you do not pay for threeconsecutive years, you would be takenoff completely and you are no longer amember or suspended. But Mr Speaker,for a year, you are still a member but not ingood standing. [Interruption] -- No! Youpublish it during the first year.
Whatinstitute are you a member of, HonMember?
Mr Speaker, I am amember of the Chartered Institute ofManagement Accountants (CIMA) as aprofessional.
Whatinstitute did you say you are a memberof?
Mr Speaker,Chartered Institute of ManagementAccountants (CIMA).
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, if onedoes not pay for, say, four months ofannual subscription, they do not normallystrike his name out. One may not be ableto use their titles when he is signing andall those things -- nnless it continues forabout four or five years. But annualsubscription is not enough to strike one'sname out.
Yes, HonW. O. Boafo, were you on your feet?
No, Mr Speaker.
All right. Thank you. Hon Chairman -- [Interruption.] Yes?
Mr Speaker, I havealways been referring to the College ofPhysicians and Surgeons Act we did forthem in 2011. We defined a member in“good standing” as “a Fellow, Member orAssociate Member who has fulfilled allrelevant requirements as determined bythe College”. So, Mr Speaker, there is a hugedifference between “good standing” and“striking out”. If one attains a membershipof the Royal College of Surgeons like Idid -- [Interruption] -- I am no longerpractising in the UK but my name is still
on their register but I am not in goodstanding. If I go back to the UK today and I wantto practise, I would apply to them. Theywould tell me what I have to do for myname to come into the “good standing”books. So, there are differences and theyare huge and it is very important that theyunderstand that putting in law that youhave struck somebody's name out is forstated gross violations and not for thesetrivialities as fees and charges.
HonMembers, my view is that we should deferit. Mr Peter Nortsu-Kotoe -- rose --
Hon ViceChairman of the Committee, what is yourview?
Mr Speaker, if youlook at clause 23 and then, clause 22 whichwe are looking at, I see some conflict overthere. You would realise that we are nowusing suspension of registration andstriking or removal of name from register. So, I am of the view that even clause23 can take the place of clause 22.
HonMembers, do you know what I will advise?My advice is that we would, first of all,put the Question on the proposedamendment because that is just thedeletion of the word “a” then I will tellyou what to do about the rest. I am putting the Question on theamendment proposed on clause 22 (2) --That is the deletion of the word “a”. Thatis what I am putting the Question on. Justthe deletion of the word “a”. Clause 22(2), line 2.
Mr Speaker, clause 22 (2),line 2, there is no “a” there. [Interruption]-- All right. Paragraph (a).
Paragraph (a) --[Pause] --That is if theCouncil decides that somebody hassubsequently become a fit and properperson. Is that it? [Interruption.] Listen,clauses 22 and 23 --
HonChairman, clauses 22 and 23 and, if I mayadd, clause 24 for good measure, and evenclause 25; I cannot compel you but myadvice is that these clauses deal withmembership, suspension of membershipand somebody coming back to become amember and cancellation of registration.My advice is that we defer all of that, thinkit through and look at the other Bills ofother professions. This is not the firstprofession that is being regulated.
Mr Speaker, I think theproblem we are facing here is that we aremerging two things -- the association andthe regulatory body, which is the Council. In some respect, we have the EngineersCouncil and the Institution of Engineers.They are two separate things; oneregulates and the other is an association. Here, we are merging the two - Theassociation and the regulatory body,which is the Council. That is where theproblem is. We really need to thinkthrough this before we approve anything.
HonChairman, this question about the mergerand the confusion of the merger that hasbeen potentially created has been raisedagain and again. Why are we insisting ondoing it this way? What is the mischief that has beencaused with all the other professionalbodies which have separate regulatorybodies and associations? I think that this duality exists in themedical profession.
Mr Speaker, it has beenthe source of our problems.
Thequestion is that, in the medical profession,does this duality exist -- a regulatorybody as well as an association?
Mr Speaker, I was goingto give the peculiarity there. We have theGhana Medical Association, which is atotally independent body. We have theMedical and Dental Council that is thepure regulator. Then we have the Collegeof Physicians and Surgeons that is thetraining institute. Even at the training institute, becauseit is the Government of Ghana that hassponsored the Bill, there is a governingcouncil that is totally different from thespecialist stream. So, all the physicianswho are trained form the peers and theybecome the fellows. They train further,people. So, when they decide to pay dues, theydo so as peers for their own sustenance.They do not even pay it into governmentchest. They pay it to themselves. Mr Speaker, this is where the problemis. When we finish with the CharteredInstitute of Taxation Bill, 2014 and theyare training their Fellows, it is aprofessional body like lawyers who aretraining others to be lawyers. If theydecide, in that sphere, to collect dues forthemselves, it is for themselves and theyare training their fellows. Mr Speaker, but the peculiarity is whatmy Hon Colleague said. We have to getthe Institute to let them know that whatwe are legislating is for the training. If theywant a professional council, then weshould find the Bill and make it two parts. One part for training and one part forregulation. This is because they want tocombine two. In our attempt to do it here,we would always have the problem thatwe are having. Mr Speaker, but we can have examplesto show them. This is because we did onefor the Pharmacy Council and we havedone one for pharmacists in post specialisttraining. So, we can find a way of merging it andmake part A of the Bill for pure trainingand part B of the Bill for pure regulation.Then we could make headway as quicklyas possible.
Mr Speaker, I was late,but when I entered, I heard the Hon ViceChairman of the Committee say that hewould like a substitution of clauses 23 and24.
HonMember, we have deferred all of them. Hon O. B. Amoah, what pertains in thelegal profession?
Mr Speaker, ofcourse, we have the General Legal Council,the Ghana Bar Association and probably,we could add the Ghana School of Law,which is even under the General LegalCouncil. If people do pupillage -- People finishthe Ghana Law School and they areattached to chambers -That is for thetraining.
Mr Speaker, of course, the Ghana BarAssociation is supposed to beindependent, but we pay fees and we aresupposed to be on the list of those in goodstanding. Now, we even have solicitors'licence number without which one cannotpractise in our courts. Mr Speaker, so, all these thingsshould be distinguished. Otherwise, wewould end up with a confused situation.
HonChairman, you can obviously see thatwith the attendance in the House at oneminute to 5 o'clock, Hon Members arevery interested in assisting yourCommittee to finish with the CharteredInstitute of Taxation Bill, 2014; but theyare facing genuine problems. This is theirjob, to make sure that what comes outwould stand the test of time.
Mr Speaker, rightlyso. Looking at this particular Bill, it is morefinancial than even academic. I think thatwe need to do extra work on it. That iswhy even the previous three or fourclauses were deferred. If we are to go this way, we may faceserious challenges. This is becausewhatever is agreed upon is going to beimplemented. All the concerns beingraised are genuine. Even though it is verylate, the sponsors of the Bill, need to giveus further explanations to most of theclauses. Mr Speaker, so, I am totally in linewith the direction you have given.
Hon K.T. Hammond, you heard the Hon Deputy Majority Whip? You are sitting on theLeadership -- You are sitting in front.
Mr Speaker, I heard himentirely, but the official -- [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, I support theposition he has picked. It is only that if hebelieves that we should bring theConsideration Stage of the Bill to an end,then we would do so and leave the rest toyour judgement. Mr Speaker, otherwise, if we do notbring the Consideration Stage of the Billto an end, we may not be able to considerwhat he is talking about.
HonChairman, on the basis of what has beensaid, what is your --
Mr Speaker, this problemstarted arising as far back in Koforidua.There was a very serious argument amongthe experts within this House. We decidedto invite all Hon Members who wereassociated with taxation, in one way orthe other, because of the nature of the Bill.
HonChairman, but you did not invite me. I amalso associated with taxation. So, saythat, “…almost all…”
Mr Speaker, so, we didinvite Hon Members and we had a fewproblems among those who were reallyexperts from the Institute and fromParliament here. But then we came up with what we hadgot at that moment. So, if we are having alot of obstacles, the safest would be forus to reconvene tomorrow, bring the
HonMember, do you have something to say?
Mr Speaker, Isuggest that if we decide to leave the Billthis way, in other words, to merge theregulatory and professional bodies, thenwe would have to look through theclauses again. When we were inKoforidua, some of us were of the opinionthat we should separate the regulatorybody from the training institution. But atthe end of the day, they decided to do itthis way. Then we have to think through theclauses again and I agree with the HonChairman that, maybe, we would have togo back and look at those clauses if wedecide to maintain it this way. Some of usare of the opinion that we should separatethe regulatory body from the professionalbody and then come out with two Bills.
Mr Speaker, we are hereas the representatives of the people to passa law that would meet the test of time. Wecannot just allow anything that anybodybrings for it to pass through like that. Letus look at it carefully. I agree with the HonChairman that we should invite them, sitdown and go through it. If there is theneed for us to invite experts fromanywhere, let us invite them and winnowit. If there is the need for us to separatethe institution that trains the auditors fromthe institution that regulates them asprofessionals, let us do that. Otherwise,we would bundle all of them together andnothing would come out of this Bill if wepass it like this.
I wouldyield to the pleasure of the Hon Chairmanwho has indicated that we defer furtherconsideration of this Bill. Further consideration of the CharteredInstitute of Taxation Bill, 2014 is deferredand that brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage. Yes, Hon Ibrahim Ahmed?
Mr Speaker, itseems that we are eager to work but wehave come to a stage where we have todo consultations. So, at this juncture, theHouse is in your hands.
Mr Speaker,I do not have any useful thing to add tothis.
HonMinority Leader, I did not hear what yousaid.
Mr Speaker,I said that I have nothing useful to add towhat the Hon Second Deputy MajorityWhip said.
All right. Well, Hon Members, I would urgethose who have expertise in the area, thosewho have interest and even those from
other professions to come and lend theirsupport to this endeavour, so that we canfashion out something in the manner ofwhat we have fashioned out for variousprofessional organisations. This is not thefirst time that a law is being passed, so,we should not run into all these problems. So, if you meet tomorrow for furtherwinnowing, by the time we get here tomorrow, we would not go through thesesetbacks. The House is accordingly adjournedtill tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in theforenoon or soon thereafter as we canassemble. Thank you Hon Members.