Hon Members,Correction of Votes and Proceedings andthe Official Report. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Friday, 20th May,2016.] [No correction was made to theOfficial Report of Wednesday, 18th May,2016.]
Hon Members, there area number of Statements to be made thismorning; one Urgent Statement, oneCeremonial Statement and one otherStatement which I consider to be veryimportant. We start with the Urgent Statementstanding in the name of the Hon Memberfor Asawase, the Majority Chief Whip. Hon Members, I will restrict thecomments. The rules are very clear thatthe Statement and comments should belimited to the facts.
Mr Speaker, thankyou for this opportunity to make thisStatement. Mr Speaker, in recent times, severalelectricity consumers have complainedabout the unnecessarily high electricitybills, resulting from tariff adjustmentsmade by the Electricity Company ofGhana (ECG). The complaints have come from bothlife-line consumers and other categoriesof consumers. Reports suggest that in several cases,the cost of consumption has more thandoubled and this has imposed unduehardship on virtually all Ghanaians,especially the ordinary masses. It has come to my notice that, wheresome individuals had complained to ECG,the errors in the billing were corrected andthe problems were somehow resolved. Butfor the majority of consumers, theoverbilling still persists. The overall effect of this is that, theeffort of His Excellency, John Mahama, topermanently solve the long-standingpower crisis is severely beingundermined, and the crisis in the supplyof electricity is being deepened. Mr Speaker, my information reveals thatthe following are some of the causes ofthe problems: a. Errors in the billing of the newlyinstalled prepaid meters b. Administrative lapses due topoor supervision of technicalofficers by their superiors c. Deliberate efforts by someunscrupulous ECG officials totake advantage of the new billingarrangements for personal gain,and d. Over-estimation of bills byconsumers on post-paid meters.
a. ECG should take immediate stepsto correct the technical errorsassociated with the meters
Hon Members, I intendto take a comment from each side. Afterthe Statement, I allowed sometime beforeI called the first person. Normally, that gives me the idea toknow how to manage the House. It took avery long time before the Hon Memberfor Nkoranza North, who is on theMinority side got up . So, I have madeup my mind that I will take one morecomment and then I will see if there areany consequential directives to be given. Yes, Hon Sorogho?
Mr Speaker, I wish to thank theHon Member for making the Statement andfor not only bringing out the obvious. Mr Speaker, this is because, as we goround, especially the Parliamentary SelectCommittee on Mines and Energy, therehave been several calls from bothindividual consumers and corporatebodies about the nature of bills that theECG is now visiting on them. Mr Speaker, as a first step, theParliamentary Select Committee on Minesand Energy contacted the DeputyMinister responsible for the sector, HonAbu Jinapor, and requested that anexplanation should be given. Mr Speaker,the ECG's Managing Director has alsobeen asked to appear before the SelectCommittee to explain the current problemsthat are confronting consumers. Mr Speaker, it is true that some of thebills have even been increased by morethan 300 per cent. What is mostunfortunate from what consumers aresaying is that, anytime the ECG officerscome to serve them with the bills and theycomplain, the kind of rhetoric that goeswith it is very much unfortunate. I would not want to repeat those words here, butto the extent that they say ‘Yes, you wantit'; ‘Yes, find a way of getting out of it'among others -- So, some of us believethat the ECG would have to sit up. Ipersonally suspect that there are certainindividuals who are tampering with themeters, Mr Speaker--
Keep your suspicion toyourself. [Laughter.] We are talkingabout facts.
I will keep it to myself.[Laughter.] Mr Speaker, it is welcoming news thatthe Hon Majority Chief Whip has calledfor this. He has really taken the wind outof our sail, because as a Committee, wehave requested that the Minister appearsbefore us tomorrow --
Tomorrow is apublic holiday.
That the Minister,together with the Managing Director, willappear before us on Thursday to explainto us why these high bills are being servedon us. Mr Speaker, I therefore call on all of usto come together and make sure that theright thing is done. The current bills thatare being visited on consumers cannot beaccepted. The Public Utilities RegulatoryCommission (PURC) from what they toldthe Committee, has directed the ECG togo back and replace those faulty meters. Whether that directive has beentaken, we do not know. But we are alsotold that there are serious challengesfacing the ECG and it is on this note thatwe have requested both the Minister andthe Managing Director to come and briefus. I am happy that it is now being takenover by the whole House of Parliamentfor this to be done. Thank you.
Final comments on thisparticular Statement from the Hon Memberfor Dormaa Central.
Mr Speaker, the HonDeputy Majority Chief Whip is trying tointimidate me. Please, caution him for me.[Laughter.] Mr Speaker, let me thank you for thisopportunity. As I try to re-read the Statements madeby Hon Muntaka, it looks like he isaddressing the concerns of all of us. Butsome of us saw some of these challengesearlier and when I tried to point out someof these things in the Chamber of thisHouse, some of my Hon Colleagues calledme ‘Dooms-day prophet'. Mr Speaker, upon the introduction ofthe Energy Sector Levy, I got up in theChamber and started talking about theimplications, impacts and incidents of theimplementations of that Bill on Ghanaians,including all of us. Mr Speaker, the Hon Muntaka hasdone some work, my information reveals;but I believe you should refer this matterto the Committee on Mines and Energyto do an in-depth search, to find outwhy we are where we are. Mr Speaker, last week I read on thesocial media about Kwesi Pratt'slamentation. This morning, a sound bitewas being played when I was driving toParliament. He said the bill came toGH¢300 and then when he went tocomplain, it moved up to GH¢1,200. While he was still deliberating, it wentup to GH¢3,000 and then to GH¢6,000. So,he does not know whether to cry orlaugh, and he is not the only one in thissituation. Mr Speaker, I believe there are severalcomplex matters. Some of these, as havebeen listed in the Statements, I believe,should be the function of the Board ofECG. They supervise the managementand when there are management lapses,anyway, they are responsible for that sothey should ensure that certain thingshappen. The Board reports to the Hon Ministerand so the Minister should call theChairperson to the Board and find out howthey are resolving some of these issuesbefore it gets to the floor of this Parliament. Mr Speaker, I am very convinced thatwhen you have built formulas andstructures, they should automaticallyadjust themselves. When we begin to be very smart to beintroducing certain types of taxes and totry to just take away what should havecome to the consumer, these are some ofthe outcomes. This is because computerpackages have source goals, andanytime you send anybody to changeparameters, some of these things canhappen. I was listening to Citi FM three daysago and somebody called in to the radiostation and said that he was a formeremployee of ECG and had resignedbecause of the things happening in thecompany. The presenter said they wouldneed his number offline so that they couldcontinue to engage that person becausethey thought he was hiding his identityand that he had a lot of information. Mr Speaker, in short, what he said wasthat, almost every single pre-paid meterthat has been brought into this countryand is in use has been tampered withsomewhere within our own system.Whether it is true or not, I would not knowbecause some of these things can be a hoax and people can exaggerate. But thepresenter neatly and very wisely said, “letus take your number offline and we willcontinue to engage you.” Mr Speaker, if you would accept myproposal to refer the matter to theCommittee on Mines and Energy, forthem to do further investigations,probably, that radio station and thatperson should be brought to give themsome information on what happens. He threw a challenge that they broughtthe meters from Egypt and Switzerland,so, they can pick samples of what arealready in use here and take them to themanufacturers for them to test to seewhether they meet the original standards. So, who would be tampering with thesethings and what would be the purposefor that? Mr Speaker, this is a complex matter.ECG may have done their annual budgetbased on some of these projections, andimmediately we begin to use our oversightauthority to push them to do certainadjustments, if we are not careful, we maypush their budgets off whatever they aredoing. It is like we are not touching theircosts and these things would only impacttheir revenue, and therefore, we musthesitate a little. We would all want electricity bills tocome down. The reports that we arehearing are not very good. BetweenFebruary and March alone, electricitybills in a particular hotel in Koforiduaamounted to GH¢500,000.00. The ownercalled me and said that he would want tolay off some of his employees becausehe could not pay that much for electricity. Now, Members of the Association ofGhana Industries (AGI) are complaining.I hear Coconut Grove Regency hotel,Kempinski and some other hotels arecoming out with huge bills that theycannot pay. In our homes, it is not only electricity.In my own house where I live, in Marchalone, water bill was 5.5 million. I wentthere and picked a trend --
Hon Member, for therecords, what do you mean by 5.5 million?
Mr Speaker, 5.5million cedis. [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker, whatare my Hon Colleagues complainingabout? [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, can Icrave your indulgence to inform my HonColleagues that there is no law in thiscountry that bans my tongue from the useof the old cedi. We call it cedi. [Uproar.]So, I have not broken any law.
Hon Member for DormaaCentral, take your seat. Hon Members, you all know we have acurrency that we use in this country. Ourcurrency is the Ghana cedi which wasintroduced in 2007. So, we would want to find out for therecords, because the Hansard wouldcapture everything that we say on thefloor, whether this refers to 5.5 millionGhana cedis. So, we would need to getthe records right for the Hansard and forthe purposes of future reference.
Mr Speaker, Iwould want to inform my Hon Colleaguesthat I was part of the young men whoactually did the introduction of the Ghanacedi --
Hon Member for DormaaCentral, for the records, are you referringto GH¢5.5 million?
Mr Speaker, I amreferring to 5.5 million cedis that translatesinto --
Hon Member, please, thisis the last time I am going to ask you. Are you referring to GH¢5.5 million?That is the currency we use in thiscountry since 2007 and I am asking youfor the last time --
Mr Speaker, I ammaking reference to GH¢550.00.[Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, as Iwas saying, the water bill alone was GH¢550.00. I took statistics of previousconsumptions and those I consumed afterMarch and that was just standing out. In statistics, we call it a freak figurethat should not even be used in anyanalysis. I am yet to complain to theManaging Director. Mr Speaker, these complaints aregenuine. Our people are suffering, and we,as their representatives, would have to tryto do certain things that would ensure thatsome of these challenges are resolved asquickly as possible. Mr Speaker, I would want to repeat that,let us refer the matter to the Committee onMines and Energy, for them to get theopportunity to call the stakeholdersinvolved and find out what is actually happening and what the Board of thecompany itself is doing; and how it hasreported to the Hon Minister and howthey have also reported same to the “oldman” sitting at the Flagstaff House. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, thatbrings us to the end of the Statement. The Hon Member who made theStatement has urged me to invite the HonMinister responsible for Power to brief theHouse, but we have also been informedby the Hon Chairman of the Committee onMines and Energy of this House thatthey have started some work. I wouldrather suggest that the Committeecontinues with that work because of thetechnical nature of the issue. The Hon Minister can come and briefthe House but would he be in the positionto give us technical responses to theissues that would be raised on the floor? So, I am directing the Committee onMines and Energy to continue what theyhave started and submit a report. I direct the Clerk to make available tothe Committee all necessary logistics forthem to carry on with this matter. I so direct. Hon Members, the second Statementis a ceremonial one. It stands in the nameof the Hon Member for Biakoye andChairman of the Parliamentary SelectCommittee on Foreign Affairs. African Union Day
Mr Speaker, thank you for theopportunity to make this Statement inconnection with African Union Day,which falls on the 25th day of May eachyear. First of all, Mr Speaker, I crave yourindulgence to trace the genesis of theAfrican Union Day (AU Day). On the 15th day of April, 1958, Africanleaders and political activists gathered inAccra for the first conference ofIndependent African States. Thisconference was significant because itrepresented the first Pan-AfricanConference to be held on African soil. On May 25, 1963, five years after thefirst conference of the IndependentAfrican States, another historic meetingwas held in the Ethiopian capital of AddisAbaba. At this meeting, leaders of 32Independent African States formed theOrganisation of African Unity (OAU). The OAU Charter served as a roadmapfor the efforts and actions of IndependentAfrican States to liberate the continentfrom colonialism and apartheid. By the end of the 1970s, much of Africawas liberated from colonialism, with theexception of the racist regime in SouthAfrica and Zimbabwe. In the light of thisdevelopment, there was a call for thereview of the OAU Charter. In July, 1979, at the 16th OrdinarySession of the Assembly of Heads ofState and Governments of the OAU heldin Monrovia, Liberia, the OAU CharterReview Committee was established in abid to re-examine the provisions of theCharter in the light of the changingrealities in Africa. Activities of the Committee were veryslow and highly marginalised because ofthe absence of active involvement ofmember States. Consequently, the OAUCharter Review Committee failed toachieve its purpose. I must state that this setback notwith-standing, the newdevelopments on the African continentand worldwide, such as the total liberationof African States from colonisation, theend of apartheid in South Africa, thechallenges of massive human rightsviolations inside Independent AfricanStates and intra-State and inter-Stateconflicts and the end of the cold war,made the transformation of the OAU anecessity. It therefore became necessary to callfor an extraordinary meeting on the issueof the transformation of the OAU. Consequently, the 4th extraordinarymeeting of the OAU was convened forthat purpose. This Extraordinary Sessionmet in Sirte, Libya, on the 8th and the 9thof September, 1999 and at that meetingadopted the Sirte Declaration which interalia, called for the establishment of theAfrican Union (AU). Mr Speaker, the objectives andprinciples of the AU are captured in articles3 and 4 of the Constitutive Act of the AU.These objectives and principles can besummarised into six inter-related areas asfollows: Regional Integration, Peace andSecurity, Protection of Human Rights,Non-intervention, Intervention, Respectfor Democracy and Rule of Law. Under regional Integration, the AU isplanned to be a forum for the promotionof regional integration and African unitythrough socio-economic integration,continental research in all fields,including science and technology and thedevelopment of common positions onissues of common interest. In respect of peace and security, theAU member States recognised that thescourge of conflicts in Africa contributesa major impediment to the socio-economicdevelopment of the continent. Thus, one important objective of the AU is theestablishment of a collective securitysystem for the promotion of peace andsecurity as a prerequisite for thedevelopment of the continent. The protection of human rights isprovided as one major objective for theestablishment of the AU. One reasongiven by member States for establishingthe AU is their determination to promoteand protect human and peoples' rights,consolidate democratic institutions andculture and ensure good governance andthe rule of law. The AU Constitutive Act rules outunilateral intervention between memberStates. Unilateral intervention amongmember States is pointed out as a commonsecurity threat on the continent. Intervention in member States underthe AU constitutes an unprecedentedprinciple under international law. The AUis endowed with the right to intervene ina member State pursuant to a decision ofthe Assembly in r e spe ct o f gr avecircumstances, namely: war crimes,genocide and crimes against humanity.AU member States have also agreed onthe right to request intervention from theUnion in order to restore peace andsecurity. This is a case of intervention byinvitation. AU member States haveacknowledged the relation betweendemocracy, rule of law and economicdevelopment. The principles of respect fordemocracy, rule of law and goodgovernance are adopted as a preconditionfor social justice that ensures economicdevelopment in member states of the AU. The New Partnership for Africa'sDevelopment (NEPAD) is one framework launched by African States that links therespect for civil and political rights withthe right to development in member Statesof the AU. All member States adopted theprinciple of condemnation and rejectionof unconstitutional change of govern-ments. The rejection of impunity, is alsoa principle adopted by the AU memberStates that strengthens their commitmentto the rule of law. Mr Speaker, whether or not the AU aspresently constituted has achieved theobjectives and principles underpinning itsestablishment is a debatable issue and atthis point in time, I intend to leave thatdetermination to the judgement andopinion of Members of this augustHouse. On this note, Mr Speaker, I thank youfor the opportunity to make thisStatement.
Hon Ranking Member forthe Committee on Foreign Affairs -- HonMember for Subin.
MrSpeaker, I thank you. Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunityto commend the Hon E. K. Bandua, theHon Member for Biakoye, for thiscommemorative Statement to mark the AUDay, which falls tomorrow. Mr Speaker, perhaps, we have to goback to the time when Don DiegoD'Azambuja landed on the shores of ourcountry and then this was followed up bythe first European permanent structurewhich became known as San Jorge DeMina at Elmina in 1482. Mr Speaker, that structure was to be atrading land post. Indeed, a lot of tradewas done; but it became infamous for theslave trade, where thousands of ourpeople were carted away to foreign landsunder very horrendous conditions to makeother countries rich. Mr Speaker, subsequently, at that time,when the scramble for Africa began, ourcontinent was so decimated of some ofits best people that, it was in no frame ofmind or position to resist the attempts ofthe European powers to carve up Africa.So began the period of colonisation inAfrica. Mr Speaker, it is this which ledsucceeding generations of African leadersto fight for an organisation, which wouldnot only stand up for the rights ofindividual African States, but also speakwith one voice on the African question. Mr Speaker, the context in which theHon Chairman of the Committee onForeign Affairs, Hon Bandua, has spokenand the steps which he has chronicled ina chronological manner are veryimportant. Mr Speaker, I believe tomorrow, whichis AU Day, is an important day; but itshould not just be a day for celebration. Itshould also be a day for remembrance. Mr Speaker, on this occasion, we haveto salute the Founding Fathers of theOrganisation of African Unity (OAU); theprecursor organisation of the AU -- menlike Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, EmperorHaile Selassie of Ethiopia, President HabibBourguiba of Tunisia, King Hassan II ofMorocco, Mr Modibo Keita of Mali andPresident Sekou Toure of Guinea. These are the men for whom we shoulddoff our hats today and tomorrow, forthe work that they did and for their visionand foresight. Mr Speaker, but today, African Leadersare also looking into the future. We haveestablished the New Partnership forAfrica's Development (NEPAD), whichHon Bandua alluded to. NEPAD is a newparadigm for the development of Africa. We have also further established theAgenda 2063 that has clear goals which,if all African countries follow, would leadAfrica to another level of development. Mr Speaker, Agenda 2063 predates theSustainable Development Goals (SDGs)of the United Nations (UN). A lot of thegoals which have been established underthe SDGs are also in the Agenda 2063.Perhaps, Africa is giving something to theworld. Mr Speaker, our continent has alsoestablished the Africa Peer-ReviewMechanism, which should enable us tohave our own African leaders peer-revieweach other, especially, on matters to dowith the rule of law, and whether we areapplying these rules in the context of ourcountries; matters which have to do,especially with good governance; whetherour leaders are using the resources of theircountries for the benefit of the people. These are the things, which we believethe AU should continually be seized with. Mr Speaker, so on this occasion, whilecongratulating Hon Bandua on hisStatement, let us spare a thought for someof these other countries. Mr Speaker, in mentioning theFounding Fathers, I mentioned KingHassan II of Morocco. Mr Speaker, it issad that at this time, one of the foundingfathers should not be participating in the
Mr Speaker, I would like tocongratulate Hon Bandua for making thisStatement, and also Hon Isaac Osei forthe useful comments that he just added. I would like to add my voice in supportof the Statement and also effectively agreethat, it is important we remember what wehave established for ourselves as the AUDay. Hon Bandua traced the ascendants ofthe creation, first, of the Organisation ofAfrican Unity, and now, the AU. So, Iwould not go back into that detail. Ibelieve that we have talked quite a bitabout the past, so, I would like to focusmy comments on the future. Mr Speaker, as we have the opportunityto reflect on another year in which wecommemorate the AU, it is useful for us tobegin to think of what we want the AU tolook like and whether, in practical terms,we are ready to work towards that kind ofintegration of the policies of legislation,infrastructure and engagement betweenour people, to make the AU a reality. If itis to be a reality of what kind? Mr Speaker, in this day and age, wehave moved away from an era wherediplomacy was essentially an activity that took place among States. Indeed, whenwe look at the antecedents of today's AU,the players in that whole dialogue wereour Heads of State and were memberStates of the then Organisation of AfricanUnity. As more and more Africancountries became independent, they alsojoined the Organisation. But these days, because of informationand communications technology, thedialogue, the way forward and the waywe think about our future is a much moreinclusive conversation. It involves civilsociety, it involves that private sector, andwe should create the formal structures forall of these important actors to also bepart of the discussion. I am very glad that we have a Pan-African Parliament; I believe the Pan-African Parliament should indeed have itspowers enhanced so that it can play itsrole in ensuring that we are able to createan African Union that is more than just anorganisation, with a ceremonial value, andwhere we talk about policy at the multi-lateral level. We have had some successes with ourAfrican Union. Indeed, the reason wefind that a lot of the things in Agenda 2063are also in the Sustainable DevelopmentGoals (SDGs), is because before wedebated on the sustainable developmentgoals, we had a situation where we hadthe African Common Position on what wewanted to see in the SustainableDevelopment Goals. And those things inthe African Common Position alsoreflected in Agenda 2063. But more importantly, we hadeverything in the African CommonPosition repeating itself in the SustainableDevelopment Goals. So, it just goes toshow what we can achieve when we actwith unity of purpose. Mr Speaker, apart from the fact that weare talking about a big bold vision of acontinental union, I believe it is importantfor us to recognise that our regionaleconomic groupings are importantbuilding blocks in the development of ourmore integrated continents. Therefore, we must pay as muchattention as we do to our regional groupsas we do in our continental unions, ifindeed, we are going to have some ofthose big projects that we have set forourselves coming into fruition. Mr Speaker, we said that in 2017, wewanted to create the Continental FreeTrade Area. The Continental Free TradeArea is likely to start with the countries ofCommon Markets for Eastern andSouthern Africa (COMESA), SouthernAfrican Development Community (SADC)and the Eastern African Community(EAC), because they have alreadycompleted negotiations on a tripartitearrangement. For those of us in West Africa, thatshould be a matter of concern becausewhen these countries who have alreadyestablished this framework amongthemselves continue to deepen thatprocess of integration, and given the factthat the eastern coast of West Africareflects South-East Asia, which is one ofthe most dynamic economic regions in theworld today, it stands to reason that theyhave already created the platform for moretrade, investments and developmentactivities to take place between them andSouth-East Asia than we have done withinthe West African Region. So, it is important for us to be a keypart of that driver of creating thecontinental free trade area so that we canalso benefit from it. Mr Speaker, I would like to end bysaying that, in order to make our Unionreal, we have got to look beyond ourlinguistic barriers, and we have got toencourage ourselves to learn to speakeach other's language. I believe for thoseof us in the West African Region, it meanswe should be aiming to speak both Frenchand Portuguese. I do not speak Frenchand Portuguese yet, but I am working atit and I would encourage Hon Colleaguesto do same. This is because I believe it is also animportant part of the building block ofcreating an ever close union. It is my hopethat as we take the day off tomorrow andas we celebrate our African Union, weshould also think of the ways that we canwork together to enhance this process ofintegration, involving as manystakeholders as possible, so that we canget to perhaps, a Federation of AfricanStates sooner rather than later. Thank you very much for theopportunity, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, forgiving me this opportunity to contributeto the Statement ably made by my HonColleague on the other side.
“CelebratingAfrican Union, calls for reflection on thenew economic liberation agenda of theAfrican Union”. My Hon Colleagues havesaid a lot, so, I would not go back towhat they have said. But I just want to draw attention tothe fact, that presently, the continent isgrappling with youth unemployment, andas a result, many of our young people aretreading and crossing the MediterraneanSea every day, despite the perilsassociated with the journey to cross overin pursuant of better standards of living.
Hon Majority Chief Whipand then the Hon Member for OkaikoiCentral?
Thank you, MrSpeaker, for the opportunity to commenton this Statement. Mr Speaker, today is a very importantday for all of us as Africans and Icommend my Hon Colleague, HonBandua, the Hon Chairman of the SelectCommittee on Foreign Affairs, for theStatement. Whereas, it reminds us ofwhere we are coming from and the effortsthat our grandfathers and parents havemade to get us here, I believe that it isalso very important that we use thisday to begin to think of where we reallywant to be. If you look at the mindset of theaverage African, it is that of “I do not thinkAfrica would ever be there”. When youmove through the streets of almost all ourcapital cities across Africa, our youthbelieve that you can just not make it inAfrica -- You have to go beyond Africa. All these countries that have made itdid so because, right from the word go,and despite the difficulties, they put theirminds to it, they believe it is difficult butthey equally believe that they are capableof overcoming it. That is the only way. If you look at thetrend today, the most adventurous groupthat are supposed to help bring the hugechange are those that are leaving. This isbecause they can take risk, do something new and be able to think outside the box-- They are rather those who are daringand crossing the Mediterranean andother seas to get to Europe and the UnitedStates of America, with the hope offinding a better life there. Mr Speaker, if we meet most of ourcompatriots from Africa, in most of thesecountries across the world, outsideAfrica, they work. What they are ready togo through to be able to get things donein those countries or continents, they arenot ready to put half of that in their ownhome countries or within Africa. Mr Speaker, there is the need for us, ifwe have to change this, to begin with thechange of mindset. Otherwise, it wouldcontinue to be a cycle and we wouldcontinue to hover in a cycle of povertysimply because we do not even believethat we would be able to get there. Mr Speaker, youth unemployment inAfrica is terrible. Yesterday, I was listeningto British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)and they were talking about Zambia andthe state of hopelessness among theyouth, when they interviewed them. Onewould not see that to be different fromthose of us who had the privilege of beingin Africa -- In South Africa, Accra,Lagos, Abuja or in other cities of Africa. Even though yesterday, they wereconcentrating on Zambia, the situationseems to be virtually the same. Mr Speaker, we would not be able tocreate meaningful employment for ouryouth when all of us continue to tastethings that are foreign. This is becausethen we would be creating the jobs onthe other side. Mr Speaker, there should be adeliberate effort in Africa to encourage usto eat what we grow; try to wear what we Mr Speaker, when it comes to language,one would not believe it, that almost 50years after the AU was established, rightfrom OAU to AU now, we still speak thelanguage that was left us. I know it isdifficult but when we put our minds to it,we would definitely be able to developone or two other African languages. Mr Speaker, when we meet in the Pan-African Parliament, sometimes it is funny.We speak Arabic, English, French andPortuguese. The only African languageis Swahili and sometimes, when ourcompatriots from East Africa get-up tospeak it, there is no translation as if thatone, which is ours, is less important. So,there is translation for all other languagesbut there is none for Swahili. Mr Speaker, the interesting thing isthat, in East Africa, most of the populacecan speak Swahili. In West Africa, manypeople speak Hausa across. I wassurprised when in la Cote d'Ivoire, I meta number of people who were speakingfluent Twi. These are African languagesthat we have to deliberately develop. We can no longer say that we have anagenda 2063, without deliberate effort todevelop African languages in it. We wouldcontinue to communicate in otherpeople's languages. Mr Speaker, we say it is culture. Cultureis how we think, what we wear and whatwe eat. So long as we continue to speaksomebody's language, the most likelything is that, we would want to behavelike that person. By so doing, we wouldbe denying our children and grand-children of knowing the true Africanvalues.
Hon Majority ChiefWhip?
Mr Speaker, I amending. Mr Speaker, others into the kitchen;others into the living room and others intoother bedrooms. Even when the personleaves with his gun, we decided to stay inthose places that we were pushed into andsay that it is our territory, nobody shouldcross. Meanwhile, it was one householdand the gunman had left. Yet,we arekeeping to the kitchen, garage, storeroomand the other rooms; we are no longerready to live as one people. I believe it is something that we needto put in the minds of our children andgrandchildren so that we would be ableto have a better Africa come 2063. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, forthe opportunity.
Thank you very much,Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. Mr Speaker, I thank the Hon Memberwho made the in-depth Statement tothis House. Mr Speaker, in 1965, where we sit today,the Third Meeting of the OAU was heldin this Chamber of Parliament. I believenothing has changed but for the set-upwe see today. Mr Speaker, last year, the AU ExecutiveCommittee agreed to allow citizens withinthe continent to travel freely into parts ofAfrica and stay within those countries for30 days. They would be given visa onarrival to enable them undertake businessactivities within the countries where theyvisit. I commend the AU for that act. Mr Speaker, secondly, we haveproblems with migration. Young peopleacross Africa go through a lot to crossover to Europe and other parts of the worldin search of greener pastures. Theconditions under which they travel andfight for survival has led to the death ofthousands of young people who couldhave stayed within their countries, butfor poor economic conditions whichprevail within their countries. These are some of the things that Iexpect the leadership of the Africancontinent to take a critical look at, toensure that job opportunities are created,the economies are developed and peoplewould have hope to live within theircountries of origin. Mr Speaker, yesterday, I was listeningto Richard Quest on a debate whyBritain must exit the European Union.Reports or research suggested that if theUK should leave the European Union --
Hon Member, who isRichard Quest? Are you referring to theone at CNN?
That is so, Mr Speaker.
So, qualify it for therecords.
Mr Speaker, RichardQuest, a lead presenter on CNN, last nightin an interview with Chris Grayling, theLeader of the House of Commons, saidthat if the UK should leave the EuropeanUnion, they were going to lose about820,000 jobs. The questions is, how are we takingadvantage of the markets that are availableto us as a continent? This is because if welook at page 2 of the Hon Member'sStatement, sums it rightly, that:
Hon Members, thatbrings us to the end of Statements. The third Statement I referred to earlierhas been deferred. We would take it laterin the week.
Thankyou very much, Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, some priority engage-ment took me somewhere and I could notbe in your office for the pre-sitting meeting. Mr Speaker, last Friday, an HonColleague of ours, the Hon Member ofParliament for Abetifi, Hon Peter WiafePepera, was with us in this very Chamber,on the Minority side. Mr Speaker, in the evening of the sameFriday, Mr Speaker, with your blessing,we went for a retreat. The followingmorning, we heard on the airwaves thesudden unannounced transition of ourdear Colleague, the Hon Peter WiafePepera. We were all astounded and we couldnot make head or tail of it, for which reasonwe asked the Hon Deputy Whip for theMinority, Hon Irene Naa Torshie Addo,accompanied by some of our HonColleagues, to visit the family and enquirewhether or not what we were hearing wastrue. And if true, the circumstanceswhich had led to that unheralded exit ofour Hon Colleague. They came and then in the evening ofyesterday, they informed us that they hadbeen there and they had been fully briefedby the family that indeed, that was whathad happened. Mr Speaker, as I indicated, if I had theopportunity to be at the pre-sittingmeeting, I would have formallycommunicated same news about thistragedy to you and for that matter toParliament. Not having had the opportunity to be there, I would just liketo seize this opportunity to formally informyou and the House about what we heardand that we have contacted the family andwe have been briefed about thetruthfulness in that statement. Mr Speaker, we intend to be with thefamily to commiserate with them by 1.30p.m. today. But it is important that I tellyou, and I guess it would be worth thewhile, if all of us as a House, went tobe with the family this afternoon. Mr Speaker, this is the piece ofinformation. It is not good news, to allintents and purposes, that I would like tocommunicate to you and the House. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, becausewe did not get the Hon Minority Leader, Icould not have spoken about it. I wantedto get him or any of my Hon Colleaguesto speak to the issue before -- Mr Speaker, I had just returned fromAkosombo where my son was graduating.Then in the evening, I saw a text fromsomeone that we had lost a Member ofParliament, and I asked whether he was asitting Member of Parliament? I thencalled, and the person said that he hadheard that a Member of Parliament wasdead. I said no, because I knew that from myside, I was likely to be one of the first tobe called. So, I told him to wait for me tocall one of my Hon Colleagues on theother side. But when I called, he was stillin Abuja. I called the Hon DeputyMinority Leader and he said yes, it wastrue. Mr Speaker, it was very shocking. Hetold me that they were taking thenecessary steps, and if there was anyinformation, he would get back to me. Yesterday, I was in the office the wholeday, hoping to hear from my HonColleagues, if there was any arrangementthat had been put in place. Unfortunately,none of them came to the office. Later, Igot to know that they were at the retreatat Koforidua. Mr Speaker, the loss of our HonColleague is a big shock, and for now, allI would say is that, we hope and pray thatthe family would be strengthened in thisdifficult moment. We would be very happyto participate fully in any arrangement thatwould be put in place by Parliament or thefamily, to ensure that we give our HonColleague a befitting farewell. So, it is with sorrow that we receivethis news and we hope to join our HonColleagues on the other side to mournwith our Hon Colleague. Thank you very much.
Hon Members, I directthe Leadership on both sides of the Houseto constitute a delegation to visit thefamily of our departed Colleague andcommiserate with them. Tributes would be paid to him at theappropriate time, in line with the practiceof the House. It is normally at that stagethat we observe some minute of silencein his honour and memory. At this stage, we can only hope andassure the family that our hearts, thoughtsand prayers are with them at this difficulttime. Hon Members, thank you very much,and that brings us to the end ofStatements. At the Commencement of PublicBusiness, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, I wouldlike to crave your indulgence to lay itemnumber 4 (i) and (ii), on behalf of theMajority Leader and Leader of the House.
Very well. Hon Members, presentation of Papers.
Hon Members, Right toInformation Bill, 2013.
Mr Speaker, beforewe take the Right to Information Bill, 2013,we would be grateful if you would allowus to take one or two Motions. We believethey are not controversial, and we may beable to finish them within a very shortperiod and then start with the Right toInformation Bill, 2013.
I thought I could take oneor two clauses of the Right to InformationBill, 2013, and then hand over the Chairto my Deputies. That was why I alsopushed my interest -- [Laughter] -- Ofmentioning the Right to Information Bill,2013.
Mr Speaker, yourinterest is our interest, and we would makesure that we protect your interest.
No problem. Which of the Motions do you want usto take?
Mr Speaker, weshould take Motions 8 and 9 together.That is the Auditor-General's Report.
Why are we takingMotions 8 and 9 together? It cannot be;they are two separate Motions.
Mr Speaker, we willtake them one after the other; we will takeMotion 8, and when we are done wewill take Motion 9.
They are not related?
The Chairman wasgiving me a signal.
Motions 8 and 9 are notrelated?
Mr Speaker, theChairman said that both are notcontroversial. Sorry.
We will take themseparately, and put the Questionseparately.
All right, Mr Speaker.
Hon First DeputySpeaker to take the Chair. Hon Members, item numbered 8. [Pause.] Chairman of the Public AccountsCommittee, Hon Member for DormaaCentral, you have the floor?
Thank you, MrSpeaker. I beg to move, that this HonourableHouse adopts the Report of the PublicAccounts Committee on the Report of theAuditor-General on the Accounts ofAssemblies for the years ended 31stDecember 2010, 2011 and 2012. Introduction Mr Speaker, the Reports of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of DistrictAssemblies for the years ended 31stDecember 2010, 2011 and 2012 werepresented to Parliament on Tuesday, 4thJune, 2013, Wednesday, 6th November2013 and Tuesday, 3rd December, 2013respectively. This was in fulfilment ofarticle 187 (2) and (5) of the 1992Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. Pursuant to Order 165 (2) of theStanding Orders of the Parliament ofGhana, the Reports were referred to thePublic Accounts Committee (PAC) forexamination and report. Purpose of the Audit The purpose of the audit was for theAuditor-General to ascertain whether inhis opinion: i. the accounts have been properlykept; ii. all public funds collected havebeen fully accounted for and rules,regulations and procedures aresufficient to provide an effective check on the assessment,collection and proper allocationof revenue; iii. funds have been expended for thepurposes for which they wereappropriated and expendituresmade as authorised; iv. essential records are maintainedand the rules and proceduresapplied are sufficient to safeguardand control the Assemblies'assets; and . v. programmes and activities of theAssemblies have been undertakenwith due regard to economy,efficiency and effectiveness inrelation to the resources utilisedand results The audit was also to ascertain theextent of compliance with the FinancialAdministration Act, 2003 (654), FinancialAdministration Regulation, 2004(L.I.1802), the Financial Memoranda forDistrict Assemblies, the PublicProcurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), amongothers.
[MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.]
Mr Speaker, toconsider the Reports, the Committeegrouped the regions of country into four(4) zones as indicated below: Zone 1 -- Upper West, Upper Eastand Northern Regions;
Zone 2 -- Brong-Ahafo andAshanti Regions; Zone 3 -- Greater Accra, Volta andEastern Regions; and Zone 4 -- Western and CentralRegions. Sittings for zones 1 and 2 were held inTamale and Kumasi respectively whilesittings in respect of zones 3 and 4 wereheld in Ho and Takoradi respectively. At the invitation of the Committee, theunderlisted officials of Metropolitan,Municipal and District Assemblies(MMDAs) cited by the Auditor-Generalin his Reports, appeared before theCommittee to respond to the queries/issues raised by the Auditor-General: i. Metropolitan, Municipal andDistrict Chief Executive Officers; ii. Metropolitan, Municipal andDistrict Chief Executive Officersat post at the time of the Audit; iii. Presiding Members; iv. Chairmen of the Finance sub-committees; v. Chairmen of the Works sub-committees; vi Metropolitan, Municipal andDistrict Co-ordinating Directors; vii.Metropolitan, Municipal andDistrict Finance Officers; viii. Staff Members in Managerialpositions; and ix. Officers responsible for acts andomissions mentioned in the Reports of theAuditor-General. On appearing before the Committee,the witnesses subscribed to the oath of awitness and answered questions relatingto the issues raised in the Reports of theAuditor-General, as well as issues ofpublic interest. The Deputy Auditor-General, Mr YawAgyei Sifah and a technical team fromthe Audit Service were also present at theCommittee's sittings to offer clarificationson the queries/issues raised by theAuditor- General. Acknowledgement Mr Speaker, the Committee is gratefulto the Hon Ministers for the Northern,Volta, Western and Ashanti Regions, forthe warm reception accorded theCommittee when it visited their regionsand also for participating in theCommittee's sittings. The Committee is also grateful to theDeputy Auditor-General and his technicalteam, Chief Executives of MMDAs andtheir management teams and otherofficials of MMDAs for availingthemselves to assist the Committee in itsdeliberations. Finally, the Committee extends itsprofound appreciation to the GermanDevelopment Cooperation (GIZ) and theUnited States Agency for InternationalDevelopment (USAID), for supportingthe activities of the Committee; and themedia (print and electronic) for broad-casting its proceedings. Reference documents The Committee referred to the under-listed documents during its deliberations: a. The 1992 Constitution of theRepublic of Ghana. b. The Standing Orders of theParliament of Ghana. c. The Financial AdministrationAct, 2003 (Act 654). d. The Public Procurement Act,2003 (Act 663). e. The Financial AdministrationRegulations 2004 (L.I. 1802). f. The Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act584). g. The Internal Audit Agency Act,2003 (658). h. The Financial Memoranda forDistrict Assemblies. i. The Stores Regulations, 1984. j. The Internal Revenue Act, 2000(Act 592). Summary of Audit findings The significant findings of the Auditor-General in his Reports related tomisappropriation of revenue, direct disbursements from revenue collections,contract and procurement irregularities, taxirregularities, uncollected staff rent,unsubstantiated payments, unrecoveredloans and advances as well as unretiredimprests, among others. The Auditor-General attributedoccurrence of the irregularities to low levelof commitment by accountants and co-ordinating Directors of MMDAs towardsensuring compliance with the provisionsof the financial memoranda for MMDAs,the Financial Administration Act,Financial Administration Regulations, thePublic Procurement Act, as well as thepoor performance of the monitoring andsupervisory functions of the Finance andAdministration sub-committees of theAssemblies. Observations and Recommendations Overview of Financial Performance Status of Accounts The Committee observed that, in year2010, 136 out of 170 MMDAs submittedtheir annual accounts for audit validationand certification in line with Part VIIsection 78 of the financial memorandafor MMDAs. As depicted in Table 1, 117 out of 170MMDAs also submitted their annualaccounts in year 2011 and in year 2012,169 out of 216 MMDAs submitted theirannual accounts for audit validation. Table 1 Submission of Annual Accounts SPACE FOR TABLE 1 - PAGE 7 - 11.20 A.M.
As reported by the Auditor-General,failure by some MMDAs to submit theirannual accounts for audit validation wasdue to ineffective supervision on the partof Management and the Finance andAdministration sub-committees of theAssemblies who were to ensure thatfinance officers prepare and submit annualaccounts on schedule. Non-preparation and submission ofannual accounts is a breach of financialdiscipline. The Committee thereforerecommends that management of theAssemblies should sanction the officersresponsible for the preparation andsubmission of the Assemblies annual.accounts, in accordance with section 8(4)of the Financial Administration Regu-lation, 2004 (L.I. 1802). Revenue and IGF performance For the three years under review, theAssemblies derived their revenue largelyfrom sources such as the DistrictAssemblies Common Fund (DACF), Government of Ghana (GoG) release in theform of salary grant and HIPC transfers,donor support such as the DistrictDevelopment Facility (DDF) and theUrban Development Grant (UDG), amongothers. Total revenue for the one hundred andthirty-six (136) MMDAs that submittedtheir annual accounts for year 2010amounted to GH¢496,887,642.22, whilethat of the one hundred and seventeen(117) MMDAs for year 201 l amounted toGH¢517,823,653.93. For year 2012, total revenue for the onehundred and sixty-nine (169) MMDAsthat submitted their Accounts totalledGH¢534,934,916.21. Total Internally Generated Funds(IGFs) component of the total revenue foryear 2010 amounted to GH¢90,914,854.17.Year 2011 also recorded a figure of GH¢98,863,973.43 while that of year 2012 wasGH¢91,874,520.04. The details of the totalrevenue and the IGF component for years2010, 2011 and 2012 on regional basisare shown in Tables 2, 3 and 4. Revenueand IGF performance for year 2010 SPACE FOR TABLE 2 - PAGE 9 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR TABLE 3 - PAGE 9 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR TABLE 4 - PAGE 10 - 11.20 A.M. Inflows and Expenditure Performance
For years 2010, 2011 and 2012, totalexpenditures made by the District Assembliesamounted to GH¢1,474,333,189.80 as againsta total revenue of GH¢1,549,646,212.36. Total inflows for year 2010 wasGH¢496,887,642.22. However, theAssemblies expended an amount ofGH¢434,033,955.83 on its programmes and
SPACE FOR TABLE 7 - PAGE 14 - 11.20 A.M. Unrecovered Revenue The Committee observed that twelve(12) Assemblies in the Ashanti, Volta andWestern Regions contravened section17(a) and 19 of the Financial Adminis- tration Regulations and Part VIII section1 of the Financial Memoranda forMMDAs, by failing to collect a totalamount of GH¢4,677,749.95 accruing totheir Assemblies during the three yearsunder review. The details are shown inTable 8 below. SPACE FOR TABLE 8 - PAGE 15 - 11.20 A.M The Committee noted during its sittingthat, only GH¢128,279.70 has beenrecovered from the total amount ofGH¢4,677,749.954, leaving an outstandingbalance of GH¢549,470.25. The Committee further noted that theAssemblies have not recovered theamounts owed them because their Financeand Administration sub-committees haveno measures in place to recover theamount from the defaulters. The Committee considers this situationunacceptable and is of the view that MMDAs should ensure that mechanismsare put in place to maximise the collectionof all internally generated funds, in orderto minimise their over-reliance on externalsources of funding for the execution ofprojects and meeting administrativeexpenditure. The Committee therefore recommendsthat, Management of the Assembliesinvolved in this lapse should ensure that: i. legal actions or other means areemployed to recover theoutstanding amounts as early aspossible.
ii. by-laws on revenue generationand billing of commercialactivities are strictly enforced. iii. legal action is taken againstcompanies/businesses that de-fault in meeting their obli-gations to the Assemblies. Unsubstantiated payments Part VI, sections 7 and 13 (b) of theFinancial Memoranda for MMDAs require all payments to be substantiatedand supported with invoices, receipts andother relevant documents. The Committee, however, observedthat one hundred and thirty-four (134)Assemblies made payments totallingGH¢7,995,912.81, without any documentaryevidence to substantiate the paymentsmade during years 2010, 2011 and 2012.The breakdown of the amount is shownin Table 9. SPACE FOR TABLE 9 - PAGE 17 - 11.20 A.M. It emerged during the Committee'sdeliberations that the finance officers ofthe Assemblies found culpable of thisirregularity could not present paymentvouchers used for payments made, orprovide documentation to substantiate thepayments made in the absence of theoriginal payment vouchers during theaudit. Management of the Assemblies citedpoor filing system, relocation of officecomplex and absence of finance officersduring the time of the audit, as some ofthe reasons the payments could not besubstantiated during the audit. The Committee noted that an amountof GH¢6,444,679.57 have been sub-stantiated, leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢ 1,551,233.24. The detailsare shown in the attached Appendix B.Surprisingly, the Assemblies managed tosubstantiate some of the payments madeupon the invitation to appear before thePublic Accounts Committee. The Committee considers the reasonspurported by Management of theAssemblies for violating the provisionsof the Financial Memoranda for MMDAsas untenable. The Committee thereforerecommends that: a. the Ministry of Local Governmentand Rural Development shouldnotify coordinating Directorsand finance officers of allAssemblies that, failure to ensurecompliance with the provisions of the Financial Memoranda forMMDAs would be regarded asnegligence of their monitoringand supervisory functions andwould be accordingly sur-charged with the amounts notsubstantiated. b. Management of the Assembliesshould ensure that the amountsinvolved in the outstandingunsubstantiated payments arerecovered from the coordinatingDirectors and finance officers ifno tangible evidence is providedto the Auditor-General tosupport the validity and authen-ticity of the payments made. c. Management of the Assembliesshould sanction the officersresponsible for the infraction. The Committee further urges allAssemblies to take note that henceforth,posthumous regularisation of unsub- stantiated payments would not beaccepted. Once payments are notsubstantiated during the audit period,officers found culpable would besurcharged with the amounts involved. Payment of unearned salaries Section 297 (11) of the FinancialAdministration Regulations, 2004 (L.I.1802), requires spending officers ofgovernment institutions to stop thepayment of salaries to an officer when thatofficer has been absent from duty withoutleave or reasonable cause, or hasresigned, retired, been convicted or isdeceased. The Committee, however, observedthat fifty-one (51) Assemblies paidunearned salaries amounting toGH¢830,588.00 in years 2010, 2011 and2012. This was due to failure byManagement of the Assemblies to ensurethat the names of separated staff weredeleted from their payrolls, and failure tonotify their bankers to stop the paymentof salaries of the separated staff. Thebreakdown of GH¢830,588.00 is shown inTable 10. SPACE FOR TABLE 10 - PAGE 19 - 11.20 A.M. Management of the Assembliesinformed the Committee that the persistentpayment of unearned salaries was mainlyas a result of delays in the deletion ofnames of separated staff from the payrollby the Controller and Accountant- General's Department (CAGD) after CAGDhas been notified of the names ofseparated staff. Again, even when thebanks have been notified to stop thepayment of salaries of separated staff, some separated staff manage to withdrawthe monies. It emerged that following the audit,some of the Assemblies have putmeasures in place to recover the amounts,albeit without any interest. The Committee noted that out of thetotal amount of GH¢830,588.00, GH¢217,005.45 has been recovered, leaving anoutstanding balance of GH¢613,582.55 outof the total amount of unearned salaries.The details are shown in Appendix C. The Committee recommends thatManagement of the Assemblies shouldensure that: i. all outstanding unearned salariesare recovered from the benefi-ciaries or their next of kins withinterest. In situations where thebeneficiaries are at large, theAssemblies should report thematter to the Police; ii. there is effective monitoring oftheir payroll, and collaborate withstaff of the CAGD and therelevant banks to ensure promptdeletion of names of separatedstaff from the payrolls ofAssemblies. The Committee also recommends thatthe Ministry of Local Government andRural Development should ensure thatManagement of the Assemblies who areinvolved in this irregularity recover all theoutstanding unearned salaries or hold thecoordinating Directors and financeofficers liable to refund the amounts intothe Controller and Accountant-General'sSalary Suspense Account. Unrecovered staff advances Part IV section 104 of the FinancialAdministration Regulation, 2004 (LI 1804)states that: “A head of department authorisedto administer a class of advancesshall ensure that the advances areduly recovered in accordance withthe regulations or agreementsrelating to them”. The Committee observed thatManagement of eighty-two (82) Assem-blies granted advances totallingGH¢1,849,139.17 in years 2010, 2011 and2012 to their employees, but failed torecover the amounts on the due dates inviolation of Part IV section 104 of theFAR. The breakdown of the amount isshown inTable 11.
SPACE FOR TABLE 11 - PAGE 21 - 11.20 A.M. Deliberating on the issue, it came tothe fore that most of the advances weregranted to newly recruited officers to meetpressing needs such as renting ofaccommodation and daily sustenance,since processing of salaries of newemployees sometimes delay for abouttwelve (12) months. Out of the total advances of GH¢1,849,139.17 granted, an amount ofGH¢358,061.84 has been recovered,leaving an outstanding balance of GH¢1,491,077.33. The Assemblies involvedand the details of the amounts grantedand those recovered are shown inAppendix D. The Committee is of the view that theineffectiveness of the Finance andAdministration subCommittees of theAssemblies have allowed Management togrant advances that always remainunrecovered. The Committee thereforerecommends that the Ministry of LocalGovernment and Rural Developmentshould ensure that: a. coordinating Directors andfinance officers involved in thislapse, recover the outstandingamounts, and sanction officerswhose inactions resulted in suchdefault appropriately. b. the Local Government Servicedeepens its collaboration withthe relevant agencies to curtailthe delays in the payment ofsalaries, especially for newlyrecruited staff. Rent arrears The Committee observed that financeOfficers of forty-eight (48) Assembliesfailed to institute efficient systems toensure prompt deduction of rent totallingGH¢452,557.79 from staff occupyingresidential premises of the Assembliesduring the three years under conside-ration. The breakdown of the amount isas follows: SPACE FOR TABLE 12 - PAGE 22 - 11.20 A.M. As per the attached Appendix E, onlyGH¢124,697.14 has been recovered leavingan outstanding amount of GH¢327,860.65.The Committee finds this situationunacceptable and recommends thatManagement of the Assemblies who areinvolved in this lapse should: i. take immediate steps to ensurethe recovery of the outstandingrent from the defaulters. ii. Introduce rent registers tomonitor the occupancy andpayment of rent. Unretired imprest Part XIII, section 288 (1) of the F.A.R.(L.I. 1802) provides that: “imprest shall be retired at the closeof financial year and any imprest notso retired shall be adjusted to a
Following the audit, Management ofthe Assemblies involved in this lapsehave confirmed the acquisition and usageof fuel amounting to GH¢1,202,952.41,leaving a balance of GH¢241,814.07 yet tobe accounted for. The details are attachedas Appendix H. It came to the fore during theCommittee's deliberations that mostfinance officers do not attach importanceto making entries in vehicle log books. Asa result, finance officers do not ensurethat transport officers and drivers recordfuel purchases in vehicle log books. Failure to record full particulars ofreceipts of fuel in a vehicle log book is abreach of Regulation 1604 of the StoresRegulations, 1984. In the absence ofentries of fuel purchases in vehicle logbooks, it would be difficult to determinethe validity of purchases made andwhether the fuel was used for officialassignments of the Assemblies orotherwise. The Committee takes a serious view ofthis irregularity and recommends thatManagement of the Assemblies shouldensure that: i. the outstanding fuel purchasesnot accounted for areregularised, failing which theamounts involved should berecovered from the coordinatingDirectors and finance officers. ii. Finance officers should complywith Regulation 1604 of the 1984Stores Regulations. Tax irregularities As reported by the Auditor-General, inyears 2010, 2011 and 2012, Managementof some of the Assemblies blatantlyviolated provisions of the tax laws by notdeducting taxes from payments forsupplies, not remitting withheld taxes tothe GRA and procuring from non-VATregistered entities. These infractions amounted toGH¢988,849.73 and comprise an amountof GH¢351,831.82 in respect of non-remittance of taxes to the GRA,GH¢100,989.98 in respect of failure towithhold tax and GH¢536,027.93representing purchases from non-VATentities. The breakdown of the amountsare shown in Table 16. SPACE FOR TABLE 16 - PAGE 27 - 11.20 A.M. As shown in the attached Appendix I,the Committee noted during itsdeliberations that an amount ofGH¢209,565.61 out of GH¢351,831.82representing non-remittance of taxescollected had been remitted to the GRAwhile an amount of GH¢54,732.59, out ofthe non-withholding of taxes recorded,had been deducted and paid to the GRA.The payments were confirmed by theAuditor-General in his follow up Reports. With respect to purchases from non-VAT entities, the Committee noted that theAssemblies concerned had submitted VATreceipts in respect of purchases made tothe tune of GH¢59,188.63 out of the totalamount of GH¢536,027.93. In the opinion of the Committee,violations of the tax laws is a breach offinancial discipline and contribute toleakages in tax revenue which is to beceded to the Assemblies as Common Fundallocations. The Committee thereforerecommends that the Ministry of LocalGovernment and Rural Developmentshould ensure that: a. the officers involved in theseirregularities are sanctioned inline with sections 8(4) and 30 (2) of the Financial AdministrationAct, 2003. b. The Assemblies concerned remitall outstanding taxes collected tothe GRA without further delay. c. all outstanding taxes duegovernment are collected andpaid to the GRA with interest/penalty as required by law. Thepenalties should be calculated inretrospect and charged againstthe officers responsible for theirregularity. d. strict adherence to the tax lawsby all MMDAs. The Committee also urges the GRA toensure that eligible business entities forVAT in all eetropolitan, municipal anddistrict capitals are duly registered. Procurement and contract irregularities The Committee observed thatprocurement and contract irregularities intwenty-one (21) Assemblies during years2010, 2011 and 2013 amounted toGH¢497,372.78. The breakdown of theamount is shown in Table 17 while thelist of Assemblies involved in thisirregularity is attached as Appendix J. SPACE FOR TABLE 17 - PAGE 29 - 11.20 A.M. The Committee noted that procurementirregularities in most of the Assemblieswere sole sourcing without approval fromthe Public Procurement Authority (PPA),which is contrary to section 43 (1) of thePublic Procurement Act of 2003 (Act 663)and failure to obtain the minimum threealternative quotations from suppliers. Noevidence was provided by the Assembliesto suggest that procurement guidelineswere met in the procurement of goods andservices. However, follow up Reports presentedby the Deputy Auditor-General during theCommittee's deliberations indicated thatfollowing the audit, the concernedAssemblies have complied with theAuditor-General's recommendation byobtaining alternative price quotationsbefore procurements are undertaken andseeking authority from PPA before solesourcing any procurement. Nonetheless, the Committee is of theview that non-adherence to theprocurement laws is a breach of financialdiscipline. The Committee thereforerecommends that Management of theAssemblies concerned should sanctionthe officers responsible for the breach, inline with section 92 of the PublicProcurement, Act. Outstanding loans The Committee observed that loansamounting to GH¢5,886,917.81 granted byseventy-four (74) Assemblies under thePoverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) Schemein year 2009 remained unrecovered as atthe end of the 2012 financial year.According to the Auditor-General, theunrecovered loans have become potentialbad debts to the Assemblies involved.The breakdown of the amount by regionsis shown in Table 18 while the details pereach Assembly are provided in AppendixK.
SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘C' -PAGE 39 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘C'CONT - PAGE 40 - 11.20 A.M.
SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘D' -PAGE 41 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘D'CONT - PAGE 42 - 11.20 A.M.
SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘H' -PAGE 49 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘H'CONT - PAGE 50 - 11.20 A.M.
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SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘I'CONT- PAGE 53 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘I'CONT- PAGE 54 - 11.20 A.M.
SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘J' -PAGE 55 - 11.20 A.M. SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘K' -PAGE 56 - 11.20 A.M.
SPACE FOR APPENDIX ‘K'CONT- PAGE 57 - 11.20 A.M.
Anyseconder, Hon Members? Yes?
Mr Speaker, I rise tosecond the Motion and in so doing, Iwould like to make the followingobservations: Mr Speaker, I wish the Hon Ministerfor Local Government and RuralDevelopment was here, because of theimportance of this Report, so that theissues which may be debated and adoptedhere would, maybe, inform him becausehe has an oversight responsibility overthe District Assemblies. Unfortunately, the Hon Minister andhis Deputies are not here. I hope that nexttime,whenever we are discussing theseReports, the various sector Ministerswould be here, so that they would beinformed accordingly. Mr Speaker, the District Assemblieshave serious financial issues, which Ibelieve the House would have to take asecond look at. Year-in year-out, we havethe same irregularities appearing in theiraccounts. In all these cases, the mostimportant one is that, most of the DistrictAssemblies do not prepare and submittheir annual accounts. Hence, thisaccounts for most of the anomalies we findin the Auditor-General's Report. Mr Speaker, almost all the DistrictAssemblies were not up to date with theirfinancial statements at the time that theAuditors carried out this exercise. MrSpeaker, when we cut across, the mostimportant infraction that has alwaysoccurred is misappropriation of revenue.
HonMember, please, hold your peace. It lookslike we have a little problem. The Chairmanof the Committee apparently moved Motion numbered 7 on the Order Paper. Ibelieve that is the one that you areseconding. Earlier, the Majority Chief Whip madereference to Motions 8 and 9 and MrSpeaker said we should take themseparately. It turns out now that we havemoved Motion numbered 7, so, you mustsecond Motion number 7, thencontributors would have to contributewith regard to item numbered 7 on the OrderPaper. Thank you.You can continue.
Mr Speaker, wethought we could take Motionsnumbered 7 and 8 together and not 8 and9. This is because they have similaritiesin the Report. The Rt Hon Speaker ruledthat we should take Motion numbered 7,and that is what we are speaking to.
Very well. Since he has moved Motion numbered7, you are seconding Motion number 7.
Yes, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, as I was saying, most ofthe Assemblies lacked the preparation oftheir financial statements, reconciliationof the various accounts and most impor-tantly, contract and procurementirregularities. According to the Auditor-General;permit me to quote from the Report: “The Auditor-General attributedoccurrence of these irregularities tolow level of commitment byAccountants and Co-ordinatingDirectors of MMDAs towardsensuring compliance with theprovisions of the FinancialMemoranda for MMDAs, theFinancial Administration Act,Financial Administration Regulations,the Public Procurement Act, etcetera.”
Thank you, Mr Speaker,for this opportunity to contribute to thedebate on the floor. Mr Speaker, there is a fundamentalissue that I would want to bring to yourattention, and for that matter, to theattention of the House. It relates to howfor some reason or the other, the Auditor-General's outfit is so impoverished, interms of resources to enable it undertakeits constitutional mandate. Mr Speaker, this is very important, forthe simple reason that, if we do not soundthe Government to adequately resourcethe Auditor-General, a lot of monieswould be lost. This is because the workof the Auditor-General would be limitedin scope because of lack of resources. Mr Speaker, if you would permit me, Iwould like to draw your attention to whatthe Auditor-General had said in its Reportof the Ministries, Departments and otherAge n c i e s fo r th e ye a r e n de d 3 1 s tDecember, 2013. This is my prefix before Icomment briefly on the Report. Mr Speaker, this is what the Auditor-General said and with your permission, Ibeg to quote: “As Parliament proceeds todeliberate upon this report, I wouldlike to draw the Speaker andMembers attention that the audit ofgovernmental and public insti-tutions generally in 2013 wasconducted under very austereconditions that have been verytasking for my institution. It is my fervent wish that HonMembers will take note that my staffwere compelled out of their goodwillto use their own salaries andpersonal resources to finance the auditing activities, in expectationthat they would be reimbursed, butmy Office did not receive therelevant funds from the Ministry ofFinance to effect suchreimbursement to the officers. Mr Speaker, I have, in line withmodern and emerging auditingtrends and evolving internationalauditing standards introduced newauditing methodologies whoseimplementation and practice requirerequisite training, to sustainedmonitoring and evaluation effortincluding intensified qualityassurance to ensure effectivenessin practice. The introduction of GIFMIS hasalso required that my staff shouldobtain specialised IT training andbe provided with relevant tools toaudit this computerised platform. Iam however constrained in this drivebecause my Office has not receivedthe necessary budgetary resourcesfrom the Ministry of Finance eventhough funds were approved forthese purposes.”
“I must caution that given thesecircumstances, if the auditingfunction is not supported withadequate resources, there maycome a time when the governmentalor public sector auditors'independence and integrity might beat risk and the tax payer and otherswith stakeholder interest in ourfunction and reports may not beassured of our auditing services asan institution. This would be as aresult of poor funding and lack ofincentive and basic working tools,as well as the enabling environment for professionalisation of ourinstitution and services leading toour inability to adhere to inter-national standards and work ethicsthat would produce the best effortin my staff.” Mr Speaker, this is a very importantthing that we should all look at, and letthe Minister for Finance know that oneway that he would be able to mobiliseresources is to give the agency the powerto find out those who are bleeding theeconomy and bring them to book, and alsobring about surcharges and recoveries tohelp him do what is expected of him. Mr Speaker, I would give a briefcomment on this Report. Mr Speaker,sometimes, the whole society has its eyeson the big issues -- the kind of thingswhich involve governmental prowess; theExecutive, probably the Judiciary and thisHouse. But we lose sight of what I conceive asthe micro-level of haemorrhaging of theeconomy. At the micro level, if we knowthe huge sums of money that individualsmisappropriate, they are just mindblowing. And until such a time that wefocus on the fact that those at the bottomof our administration are bleeding theState, a lot of problems would continuebecause we would not have adequatemonies to run the economy. For instance, these Assemblies do nothave the presence of mind to prepare andsubmit annual accounts. This is in breachof financial discipline. If they would notprepare accounts, how would they planto ensure that they have adequateresources for the work of theseAssemblies? Mr Speaker, it is frightening to note thatthere are clear cases of misappropriationof revenue: what you might want to calltheft. If you look at what has been puttogether for 58 MMDAs, the mis-
If I may ask,what would be the dates of those receipts?
Mr Speaker, with duerespect, the receipts are not contem-poraneous. They are later procured andthey postdate the event. What are wetrying to achieve by this kind ofarrangement? Mr Speaker, again, when we are makingrecommendations, it is absolutelynecessary that we should crack the whipand say that all those who are involved inthese cases of financial indiscipline shouldbe sanctioned. It is very important thatwe sanction them. If not, we would becastigated that we are just talking aboutmatters; we do not deal with financialindiscipline. Mr Speaker, unearned salaries. Thesituation is so broken down at the districtlevels that those who are not entitled tosalaries are paid and there is noconnection or co-ordination between those institutions and the paymaster.So, monies are paid into accounts ofindividuals who have left theestablishment and when these are foundby the Auditor-General, now they chasethem. Some of them have left thejurisdiction and it is a worrying feature. We hope that the new electronicsystem of payment should help plug theloopholes because if you look at theunearned salaries alone for the three years,it is in the region of GH¢830,952. Mr Speaker, the infractions are many.Let me touch on one which is also veryworrying -- Unretired imprest. MrSpeaker, this is a situation in whichmoneys are given to officers in advancefor certain undertakings. It is expected ofthem that when they have completed theundertakings, they should retire theimprests: show how the moneys werespent. Mr Speaker, you would be shocked tohear that for the period under review,unretired imprests for 56 Assemblies isin the region of GH¢651,587.73. I amtempted to believe that if you convert tothe old currency, it is in the neigh-bourhood of about ¢650 billion. These aremonies which have gone into privatepockets without any sense ofaccountability. They are unable to retirethe imprests. There are problems of unaccountedfuel tax irregularities. There is a wholefinancial indiscipline which is plaguing theAssemblies. Until such a time that thisHouse recommends punishments --dismissals, demotion, prosecution -- MrSpeaker, we would not have served thisnation well, and we would have given alot of oxygen to impunity.
Thank youvery much. Yes, Hon Member?
On a point ofOrder. Mr Speaker, I just want to draw myHon Colleague's attention to the fact that,he is trying to debate the Motion that wehave not moved. So, he should get backto the Internally Generated Fund (IGF),that is the one we moved. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
HonMember, we are looking at Motionnumbered 7 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I washolding the two Reports and that broughtabout the mix-up. Thank you for the clarification. Mr Speaker, I rise to thank theCommittee for the good work done. In thefirst place, I thank the Auditor-Generalthat, in spite of the fact that they have aconstraint in terms of finance, they havebeen able to do a very good job for us todebate. Mr Speaker, I would want to agree withHon Atta Akyea, with regard to the issueof the sanctions regime, and to say that,sometimes, as Hon Members of Parliament,we would want to look at issues from abroader perspective. This is why I agreethat we should look at the sanctionsregime and see how best we can make itmuch more effective. Mr Speaker, these are Civil Servants,who have been tasked to take charge ofour resources. They are not politicians,and these are people who are letting thisnation down in terms of the managementof our scarce resources. Yet, we are notlooking at them, we are not tackling theissue as it should be and we are lettingthem go scot free. Mr Speaker, just as Hon Atta Akyeasaid, the monies that cannot be accountedfor, in terms of this Report alone, are quitehuge. So, at the end of the day, what do we do to such persons? Is there going tobe any effective sanction measures thatwould deter others from committing thesesame infractions? Mr Speaker, the infractions are toomany and I believe that this House mustsit down and come out with measureshow we can curb these infractions. Thisis because, they are too many and if wedo not deal with these issues, we wouldbe fighting among ourselves as politiciansand be saying that there is corruptionhere and there. I think for once, I want to congratulateHon Atta Akyea for saying it as it is, that,we should stop attacking ourselves aspoliticians. We should look at the PublicServants who are placed in charge ofmanaging the resources. Mr Speaker, if wedo not do this, we would be fightingamong ourselves and it would not yieldany result. So, I am saying that let us as a House,craft a way of dealing with people whoare found causing infractions in terms ofthese Reports so that we can stop theseinfractions and save this nation somemoney for development. Mr Speaker, I would want to thank theCommittee, and I believe that led by theHon Chairman, you are doing a good job.My only relief would be the fact that letus see how best the infractions can bedealt with so that people would notcontinue to repeat these mistakes. I thank you, Mr Speaker, for theopportunity.
Thank youvery much. Before I allow the Hon Member to makea contribution, I want to ask a fewquestions. I hope the Hon Chairman ishere. I thought we had in place in all theseestablishments, the Audit Report Imple-mentation Committees (ARICs). Am Iright?
Yes, Mr Speaker,you are right.
So, whathappens when they receive copies of theReport? Do they get the Committee to dealwith areas where adverse findings havebeen made against a particular establish-ment? And if so, what actions do theytake? At the end of it, they shouldcomplain to the Police for matters to beinvestigated and dockets prepared andsent to the Attorney-General's Office forthe necessary prosecution. So, what ishappening?
Mr Speaker, whatis happening is that, the ARICs are inplace now, but they are not functioning.So, in some of our sittings, we continueto probe and request the minutes oftheir meetings and in some instances,they are absent. The law says that they should evensubmit Annual Reports of the ARICs toParliament. And Mr Speaker, it wouldsurprise you to know that through ourinterrogations with them, we keep onasking questions; we had never seenone before until sometime this year, thatthe Hon Minister for Finance made theeffort to submit to the Committee, aparticular Annual Report of the ARICs inthe Ministry of Finance. So, that has been the challenge. Andas much as we make our recommendationsand we continue to advise and ask, thesethings are not happening.
In addition towhat he has said, even though ARICsis only to ensure that the recommendationsare implemented, the backstop ofmanagement as he has said -- I quiteremember some time ago that, Mr Speaker,in accordance with the Constitution,selected Leadership, the Chairman andRanking Member, to join them to see tothe implementation of these PublicAccounts Committee (PAC) Reports. I do not know what has become of that.It is in accordance with the Constitutionthat whenever a Report is laid here,debated and adopted, there should be aCommittee that would ensure that thisinformation is carried. Some time ago, Mr Speaker spoke aboutthis but since then, we have not heardanything, where Leadership of the Houseand the leaders of the PAC shouldconstitute this Committee to ensure thatimplementation of the audits which areadopted by Parliament are carried out. Wehave not heard anything so, I do notknow if you could revisit that. We also have responsibility in theimplementation of this Audit Report whichis being debated and adopted here, whichis found in the Constitution. If you gothrough it, you would find that someportion states that, immediately theReport is adopted, a Committee, ifpossible, should be constituted by Parliament to ensure the implementation.We lack in that and perhaps, we couldrevisit that, where Parliament has a role toplay to ensure that we play our roleseffectively.
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. I rise to contribute to the Motion onthe floor, Motion numbered 7 on theOrder Paper. And in doing so, I take afew of the recommendations that weremade at the Committee hearings. Theseare captured on page 26 of the Report.Some of the irregularities and financialindiscipline committed by the DistrictAssemblies are related to procurement andcontract irregularities. These irregularitiesseem to be repetitive in all the Reports ofyears 2010, 2011 and 2012. Mr Speaker, it was observed at theCommittee level that these irregularitiesconcerned 21 District Assemblies and themonies that the country lost as a result ofthese procurement irregularities, were tothe tune of GH¢497,372.78 which is aboutfive billion old Ghana cedis. These were as a result of the fact thatmost of their procurement processes wentsole sourcing and for that matter, therewas no competitive tendering where othercontractors were given the opportunityto bid for these contracts to be able toensure that we get value for money. When people sit in their offices andchoose one contractor to procure from -- these are things that are contradictoryto the Public Procurement Act 2003, (Act663). In the Report, and with yourpermission, I beg to quote: “The Committee noted that theprocurement irregularities in most ofthe Assemblies were sole-sourcingwithout approval from the PublicProcurement Authority (PPA)...” Mr Speaker, if you look at section 43 ofthe Act, it requires that every entity in asmuch as it uses monies from theConsolidated Fund and other sources ofGovernment revenue, is required to go forprior approval from the Public Procure-ment Authority before it goes sole-sourcing. During our sittings, what werealised was that, when the auditors wentthere, they noticed that these priorapprovals were not sought. Before they appeared before theCommittee which is about a year or twoafter the Auditor-General's Report, theywere able to submit approval letters thatthey got from the authority. Most of thetime, these were done after the fact --They got these letters after they havedone the procurement. We cannot live in a country where thelaw requires us to do certain things andwe deem it right to do it when we havealready breached the law. To do somedamage control, they go for these lettersbefore they appear before the PAC. Weshould take ourselves seriously as acountry. If it were a Member of Parliamentwho did a thing like that, the media wouldhave brought it up and it would have beenall over the place. But these are Public Servants, put incertain positions, who are to work withinthe ambit of the law and within theframework of the legal regime that wehave. Yet they take the law into their ownhands and do procurement as and whenthey wish, without following thenecessary procedures that they ought to.
Yes, HonMember for Bekwai?
Mr Speaker, it is said that, if youkeep doing the same things, you wouldget the same results. The lamentationsover the years are the same. If anybody takes the Hansard for the past four or fiveyears, one may have the samelamentations over leakages at the basiclevel, at the middle level and even at thetop. But we are not getting the change ofculture and attitude, because we are notchanging the approach we are using todeal with the culprits. Mr Speaker, I come back to the questionyou asked the Hon Chairman; therecommendations are made, what next?We expect the ARIC of the variousagencies to implement the Reports --Often, nothing happens. If they do notimplement, and those who have stolendo not get prosecuted and we come backthe following year, the same infractionsare repeated. Mr Speaker, this is the onlyobservation I would wish to make. Myrecommendation is that, for the rest ofthe years, PAC should cease doing thesepublic hearings and rather spend threemonths to plan a new approach inensuring that we punish those who havealready been found culpable. Probably, if they made new recommen-dations which would result in new rulesbeing made by this House, we would getresults. As we stand now, I regret toobserve that we may come back next year,repeat the same lamentations and ourmonies keep getting lost. I suggest to the Hon Chairman thatthey look at the approach to implementingthe Report and make recommendations tothe House so that we would achieveresults. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
The lastcontribution from the Hon Minister forEmployment and Labour Relations.
MrSpeaker, I thank you very much for theopportunity to associate myself with theMotion and to agree more with myColleague, the Hon Member who just tookhis seat. Mr Speaker, a friend of mine asked,“So, Parliament and Public Accounts Com-mittee, what have you done”? This meanswe must bite. Therefore, their recom-mendations as I understand it under theprovisions of the Constitution, are for theFinancial Tribunal, which was envisagedunder the Constitution, to begin to dealwith merits of the recommendations ofPAC on individual basis and on institutionbasis. Mr Speaker, I expect that when we arefurther approving the Report of the PAC,we would carry strongly the recom-mendations for the Financial Tribunal. Mr Speaker, I am happy to note thatpart of the argument in the past has beenthat, the Chief Justice has not set up theFinancial Tribunal. That is not true. Thereis now a dedicated court structure withinthe court system, directed by HerLadyship the Chief Justice, to handlerecommendations of PAC and I believethat we should submit same. Mr Speaker, in the United States ofAmerica, there is a popular joke that thereare two things which are certain; deathand taxation. Taxation because of theimportance they attach to it. I cannotunderstand why we must allow DistrictAssemblies not to report tax irregularities.If I refer to page 15 of the Committee'sReport and with your permission, I begto quote: “The Committee observed that in theyears 2010, 2011 and 2012, fifty-two(52) Assemblies failed to deduct taxestotalling GH¢140,888.00.”
Yes, HonChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I justwant to draw my Hon Colleague'sattention to the fact that he is debating aMotion and a Report that have not beenpresented. We have not moved thatMotion yet.
HonMinister, we were dealing with Motion-- item number 7 on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, thatis what Hon Alhaji Muntaka gave to mewhen I asked for the DAFC Report. I am sorry. Mr Speaker, I now have the correctReport. But since the problems are aboutthe same, my comments are still relevantin terms of the Report; unrecoveredrevenue, irregularities of tax -- Refer topage 13 --
They looklike twins, do they not?
Absolutely, Mr Speaker,so, I am guided. Mr Speaker, I just want to conclude bysaying that, spending DACF money onrecurrent expenditure should not betolerated at all. We need to take a majorpolicy position on it as a Parliament. It isnormally dedicated to projects and so whatwould be the justification that, allocationis done and it goes to recurrentexpenditure sometimes with imprest thatis not accounted for? Mr Speaker, with these few comments,I associate myself with the Report of thePAC on the accounts of DACF for thefinancial years ending 31st December2010, 2011 and 2012 and to insist that wemake far reaching recommendations tothe Chief Justice, and for that matter, thecourt system and stop the argument thatthe Financial Tribunals envisaged underthe Constitution are not established. Theyare established. The Chief Justice has a dedicatedfinancial court system which would lookinto these matters and ensure that thereare speedy trials.
HonMembers, I would now put the Question.After the Question has been put, I wouldlike to make a few comments by way ofdirectives. Question put and Motion agreed to.
HonMembers, I would like to look at the areawhere the Auditor-General's Departmentfinds it difficult to carry out its mandatebecause of financial problems. The recommendations made by theAuditor-General in the 2013 Report, whichwas referred by the Hon Member forAbuakwa South, I believe, we need to take a very serious look at it and possiblygive a directive that, that portion of theReport be referred to the Ministry ofFinance, for them to take the necessarysteps to make them feel more comfortablein carrying out their responsibilities. Ibelieve that is very important. It is unfortunate that neither the HonMinister nor his Deputy is here. I believeit is something that we need to carry out.So, I would direct that, that portion of theAuditor-General's Report, together withthe comments made thereon by HonMembers of this august House today, besent to the Ministry of Finance for thenecessary action. With regard to the Audit Report andImplementation Committee (ARIC) notfunctioning and so on and so forth, if mymemory serves me right, Mr Speaker ata point in time, had to make somerecommendations for the leadership ofPAC to meet with him and discuss theway forward. The issue of the Financial Tribunalcame up, but fortunately, it is in existencenow. So, would it be possible for thisHouse to task the Public AccountsCommittee to look into that area andpossibly come out with recommendationsthe way forward, so, we get beyond thisquagmire? This is because, it keepsrepeating itself and it is as if we cannot doanything about it. We should find a way out. If it shouldbe possible, the Public AccountsCommittee should look at this, makerecommendations to the Leadership ofthis House for it to come to the Chamberfor consideration.
Mr Speaker, beforethe Hon Chairman comes in, I would saythat most of these issues are not criminal.Most of them are administrative andpolicy in nature. If we read the Report,only a few of them are criminal and shouldtherefore go to the Attorney-General'sDepartment; those are what we should beconcerned about. But the administrative ones can leadto loss of money; for example, items notpassing through the stores, unsub-stantiated expenditure, et cetera. Theseare normally documentation issues whichlead to corruption. Mr Speaker, I think we should tacklemost of these issues that are failures inadministration and policy making, and thefew that are normally criminal, should beisolated and referred to the Attorney-General --
That couldconstitute part of your recommendationsto us. We are just directing that you lookat it and come up with recommendationswhich we can now consider and try toimplement.
Mr Speaker,members of the Committee have beentrying to be a little innovative to come upwith things that would make therecommendations of the Committee getimplemented. Mr Speaker, in collaboration withDeutsche Gesellschaft für InternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ), several thingshave been discussed and some of themare in the pipeline. Mr Speaker, but we will take counselfrom you and try and package some ofthese innovative ideas and recom-mendations to you or Leadership of theHouse, as you have directed, forconsideration and I believe things wouldbe a bit forthcoming when we do so.
HonMembers, we need to take a look at theRight to Information Bill, 2013 before wemove to commensurate with the family ofthe deceased Hon Member of Parliament.
Very well. Hon Members, item numbered 13 —Right to Information Bill, 2013 at theConsideration Stage — [Pause.] BILLS — CONSIDERATIONSTAGE Right to Information Bill, 2013
Very well. Hon Chairman of the Committee, canyou assist us? I believe we got to clause10. Am I right?
Mr Speaker, rightly so. Clause — Economic and any otherinterests
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, add the following newsubclause: “(1) A person is entitled toinformation on economic interestor any other related interest.” Mr Speaker, the idea is that, we mustmake provision for the right andsubsequently, we could —
HonChairman, please, hold your breath abit. Hon Members, did I not put theQuestion with regard to the Report of thePublic Accounts Committee?
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
And theAyes had it?
Mr Speaker, yes.
Then Iadded the rider. That was what happened — Let usmove on.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, add a new subclause 1 to clause10, to read: “A person is entitled to informationon economic interest or any otherrelated interest.” Mr Speaker, the rationale is that theCommittee thinks it is necessary to makethe general provision for the right of aperson to information relating to economicinterest. Thereafter, we may talksubsequently about exemptions.
HonMembers, I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker,the principle behind the introduction ofthat new clause is understandable andmust be acceptable. I am not too sure, because we havecompartmentalised the various aspects ofinformation, including social interest,public safety and national security,information from the Office of thePresident, as we said, whether maybe, thePresidency, as we were debating the othertime, et cetera. Information relating toCabinet and now; even internationalrelations and then the security of thecountry. Mr Speaker, if we are adopting this,then it would appear that it ought toprecede all others. It should not be limitedto economic interest only. That omnibusprovision should then precede all theothers which we have not done.
Are you talking about the“related interest”?
No! I amtalking about “economic and otherinterest”.
“A person is entitled to informationon economic interest or any otherrelated interest.” Where “related interest” meansrelated to the economy.
Much as Iagree with the principle involved — Thenwe came here — “Information affectinginternational relations” — Informationthat affects the defence and security ofthe country, we should have had thatpreamble — That opening clause in allothers, not limited only to “economic andother interest”. That is the principle that Iwould want to suggest.
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond to that?
Mr Speaker, in line withthe rationale I gave prior to introducingthe amendment, I think the Hon MinorityLeader is right in making that proposition.I think we could flag it and examine it andsee if we could adopt it in the clauses wehad earlier adopted, during the SecondConsideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, I agreewith the Hon Minority Leader and the HonChairman of the Committee that when wetalk about security and internationalaffairs, related matters may also beincluded, as has been provided for undersubclause 10. However, we would have to capture itin such a way that it may not be repeatedat every clause. So, I thought that wecould even add it to the interpretationclause so that the interpretation of thosewould include ‘related matters”. But I agree that we may flag that andthink about how we would capture it toreflect all other interests that we havealready covered.
Very well. I believe that leaving it as “relatedmatters” is rather too wide and tooambiguous. If we could be specific whatwe exactly mean by ‘related matters”;which parameters are we looking at? I agree with the Hon Osei-Owusu thatwe flag this one and consider it at theinterpretation stage, for example, and thensee how best it can be couched. Yes, Hon Minister for Environment,Science, Technology and Innovation?
Mr Speaker, Iwas just trying to draw your attention tothe need to have an interpretation of“information on economic and otherrelated interests” just as you have rightlyalluded to. This is because, I have not seenthat defined anywhere; it is not in theinterpretation clauses of the Bill and it isnot in the Constitution. I have not seen it in any legislationwhere “economic interest or any otherrelated interest” is defined. If we are goingto quit a right entitling one to it, then weneed to know what it is. So, it would beimportant that the Committee looks at itand give us some definition of what thatmeans.
Mr Speaker,while we are at it, I think it is important toalso draw the attention of the Chairmanto the opening clause of this Bill. Right of access to official information,that is clause 1. Clause 1 (1) provides in anew construction that: “... a person has right of access toinformation or part of an informationin the custody or under the controlof a government agency.” Mr Speaker, I thought that isexpressive enough, and that it capturesthe service. But if the Chairman has tointroduce it the way he is going about it --Then in that case, we would have to goback for it to affect all the other segments. Indeed, in that construction, he maynot have to limit himself to the globalpicture of the information but he must alsoallude to a portion of it because it providesfor accessing information that is in totalityor part of an information. So, we then haveto adopt that construct in clause 1 if wehave to go that way. Mr Speaker, other than that, theChairman could, maybe, have a betterconstruction for clause 1 which wouldencompass every other thing and we maynot need in the various segments tocapture it the way he would want us to doit.
Yes,Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, taking a cuefrom my Hon Colleagues and from you, Iwould want to stand by my earlierproposition that, we flag it and consider itduring the Second Consideration Stage. Therefore, Mr Speaker may put theQuestion on the amendment as we havejust proposed, that clause 10, add thefollowing new subclause: “(1) A person is entitled toinformation on economic interestor any other related interest”.
So that wedeal with the rest after that? Why do wenot hold on with that as well, so that weclear it together with whatever we wouldput down later? I believe that would makeit neater. [Pause.] Hon Members, if we are in agreement,then I direct that we defer theconsideration of this particularamendment to a future date. Yes, Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, clearly, it isimportant for the Chairman of theCommittee to appreciate the concernsexpressed here. That when the Committeegoes back, they would be able to meet theconcerns that we have raised. The general concern is that, there is ageneral omnibus clause 1 provision thatentitles one to a right to informationhowever couched. The rest of the clausesor categories provide exceptions to thatgeneral right. So, if he is asking for anamendment, including subclause 1 as theChairman is proposing now, it means thatwe would have to go to all the othercategories and re-enact a conferment ofright. So, the proposal is that we just takethat out and rely on clause 1 which confersthe right and then we focus on the rest ofthe sections which just state theexceptions. I think that is the under-standing that I have. If he insists onhaving that put to a vote, then it meansthat he probably does not get the drift.So, he would probably want to reconsiderthat.
Yes, HonW. O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, the positionhas been rightly stated by the HonMinister for Environment, Science,Technology and Innovation. I do not see how this particularamendment should be brought under clause 10 which deals with exemptions.We are dealing with exemptions and thenwe are asking that the person should beentitled to -- it is completely misplaced. Mr Speaker, secondly, we fall on theissue raised by the Hon Minority Leaderand we advise the Chairman of theCommittee to withdraw the proposedamendment in its entirety. This is becauseit is already taken care of by the generalprovision under clause 1. [Pause.] It is entirely misplaced. This is the partof the Bill which deals with exemptionsand you then bring in that -- “the person is entitled to...” It is quite misplaced.
Yes,Chairman of the Committee, I believe youhave followed the point that has beenraised that under clause 1, we have ageneral provision that a person has thatright of access and then you come withthe exceptions. In the same vein, underclause 10, we are dealing with theexceptions. So, why would you want tointroduce this one under clause 10? Does it mean that under every clause,we would have to make a generalprovision before we come up with theexceptions? What is your take on that?
Mr Speaker, I now followthe trend of the argument of the HonMinority Leader and my Colleague HonMembers. Mr Speaker, I think the trend is that,clause 1 has made the provision already,therefore, under the circumstances, I seekto withdraw the amendment proposed.
Leavegranted. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
HonMembers, since that proposed amend-ment has been withdrawn, we would haveto move on to item (ii) under clause 10 inthe Order Paper. Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I seek yourleave to amend clause 10 (2). Clause 10, Opening phrase, before“Information”, insert “Despite subsection(1)” and in line 2, at end, add “if” anddelete “if” at beginning of paragraphs (a)to (f). Mr Speaker, in view of the amendmentmade in (i), the amendment proposed in(ii) may no longer be necessary becauseit is linked to (i). Mr Speaker, I therefore seek your leaveto withdraw that amendment as well.
Very well. Leave granted. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, paragraph (a), line 2,after “Government” insert “or publicinstitution”. So, Mr Speaker, the new rendition forparagraph (a) would read: “(a) if it contains trade secrets orfinancial, commercial, scientificor technical information thatbelongs to the Government orpublic institution and theinformation has monetary or apotential monetary value.”
Yes, HonMinority Leader? You appear to bewincing your face; you do not appear tobe satisfied.
Mr Speaker,the problem that I have is how to capturethe various arms of government.Parliament by this definition is notGovernment but Parliament and theJudiciary are included. But are they,strictly speaking, public institutions? Parliament may not be a publicinstitution properly defined in thecontext. So, that is the issue that I have.Otherwise, the principle is understood.
Yes,Chairman of the Committee, would it bebetter to use the words, “StateInstitutions” rather than “Government”?
Mr Speaker, you wouldobserve that all along in the Bill and theamendments proposed, the term“Government” more or else has beensubstituted for ‘public institution'. It isour understanding that, ‘Parliament' and“the Judiciary” are all public institutions.That is why we have that concept in mind.
What aboutthe Judiciary, for example? Mr Osei-Owusu -- rose --
Yes, let ushear from the Hon Member for Bekwai.
Mr Speaker, I believethe challenge we are trying to overcomehere is to cover every institution that holdsinformation which is of public nature. It appears that a distinction is beingdrawn between public office and publicinstitution. There has been a suggestion that we should use State institution.However, would that appropriatelycapture the kind of information which wemay want to exempt? That is the challenge. Otherwise, I would have thought that“public institution” is wide enough tocover every agency which may holdinformation; it can claim that thedisclosure of it may be detrimental tothe State, so, it may be exempted. I believe that we may use the phrase asproposed in the amendment.
So, yourproposal is that we maintain the use ofthe expression, ‘public institution”? Mr W. O. Boafo -- rose --
Yes, HonW. O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, I would agreewith them in the sense that generally,Parliament or Government may not qualifyas a public institution, but for the purposeof this Bill or Act, it is considered as apublic institution. We have the right todo anything that we want. The only thingis that we cannot turn a man into a woman.[Laughter.]
But in thatcase, how do we get it captured, that inthese circumstances, Parliament is apublic institution? Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I believe thatif we are in doubt, then we may, underthe interpretation clause, give aninterpretation of public institution to coverParliament as well.
Would thatbe all right for you?
Mr Speaker, I thinkthe suggestion by the Hon Chairman isall right, that we provide the definition forthe purposes of this Act -- the publicinstitution would include “A”, “B”, “C”,“D” and we would be fine.
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,in the interpretation, hitherto, we had used“government agency” which we haddefined to include the Ministries,Departments, District Assemblies orLocal Authority, a statutory or any otherbody corporate or unincorporated or apublic office funded in whole or in partfrom public funds, on which Governmenthas an interest or holds shares. I thought we could have perhapswritten there, ‘in which the State has aninterest” and not “government has aninterest”. Mr Speaker, I would propose thatif we would want to use publicinstitutions, we rather use “public office”. The Constitution itself recognises“public officers” and not ‘Stateinstitution officers” or whatever.[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, so, I would want tosuggest that in line with the originalconstruction, we rather use ‘public office'and not ‘State institution” and then, wegive a definition to that. I guess that wouldbe better.
Yes,Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, except thatif we adopt the trend of argument the HonMinority Leader is proposing, it may affectearlier clauses we have dealt with. This isbecause, basically, we have adopted thedefinition of public institution in the
We wouldgo by what has been proposed and thenlater at the definitions column, we candefine what we mean by publicinstitutions, so that we do not end upcreating problems for the portions thathave been dealt with already under theuse of the expression “public insti-tutions”.
Mr Speaker,I do not really worry much, except toindulge the Chair. If really he finds meritin the new proposal, nothing prevents usfrom retracing our steps backwards to dowhat is right -- [Laughter.] If indeed,there is merit in the argument; but I wouldleave it to him and maybe the drafts-persons as we go along to see which isbest. This is because we would want todo what is best.
Well, Ibelieve, the Committee would have to takea second look at it and take a decision,one way or the other. Otherwise, we wouldlet this go. Is that all right? [Interruption.] Please,take note that you would have to look atthe definitions column to deal with thematter. So, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,also to remind the Chairman of theCommittee that this drafting style is mostunhelpful -- [Interruption] -- The useof the word, “if”.
“(b) Information is exempt fromdisclosure prior to officialpublication where the disclosureof the information can reasona-bly…” It is not “if'. That is how to deal withit. The use of the construction “if” isunacceptable in drafting and in lawmaking. Earlier, we had spoken about that.He should just take a cue for the correctthing to be done as we move on.
Mr Speaker, thesuggestion of the Hon Minority Leaderwas adopted earlier and therefore, youmay direct the draftspersons to take a lookat it so that it conforms with the earlieramendment carried.
Very well. I so direct that the draftspersonsshould use the appropriate expression totake care of the situation.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, paragraph (b), line 2,after “Government” insert “or publicinstitution”.
Very well. I believe it is consequential. I wouldput the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, paragraph (c), line 2,delete “create undue disturbance in theordinary course” and insert “cause adisruption”. Mr Speaker, therefore, with the newdirection you just gave, the new renditionwould read: “(c) where the disclosure of theinformation can reasonably beexpected to cause a disruptionof business or trade in thecountry”, Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, paragraph (e), line 2, after“negotiations” insert “being”.
“(e) where it contains criteria,procedures, positions or instruc-tions that relate to negotiationsbeing carried on or to be carriedon by or on behalf of theGovernment, or”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10 paragraph (f), lines 1 and2, delete “examination or test foreducational purposes” and insert“examination, recruitment or selectionprocess and the release is likely tojeopardise the integrity of thatexamination, recruitment or selectionprocess”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, I would put the Question withregard to clause 10 as variously amendedstanding part of the Bill. Mr Kyei-Mensaha-Bonsu -- rose --
Mr Speaker,there is no amendment proposed forclause 10 (d). But I see the use of the word“advance” in line 2 of clause 10 (d), andwith your permission, I beg to quote: “(d) where the disclosure ofinformation can unduly benefitor be injurious to a personbecause it provides advanceinformation about futureeconomic of financial measuresto be introduced by theGovernment”. Since we are not only dealing with“Government”, but we are now dealingwith “public institutions”, we should haveamended that to reflect it. So, they shouldplease, look at that. That is the first thing. Mr Speaker, the second one relates towhat is meant by “advance information”in the context. The entirety of what we aredealing with is futuristic. Now, they aresaying that the information transmittedshould be “advance”. I do not understandit in that context.
Mr Speaker, I noticethe challenge the Hon Minority Leader isdrawing our attention to. I believe it isthe choice of the word “advance”. Mr Speaker, but I see the subparagraph as discussing a situation wheresomebody gets undue advantage becausethey have prior knowledge of somethingthe Government intends to do; or
HonChairman of the Committee, how do youreact?
Mr Speaker, I believe myHon Colleague, the Hon Ranking Member,has substituted “prior” for “advance”. Itgives the same interpretation. But I thinkthe idea contemplated in the clause isinformation that is awaiting publication,for instance. Mr Speaker, I do not think that “prior”would change it, so, we could adopt”“prior” instead of “advance”.
Very well. In that case, I would have to go back.Before putting the Question with regardto clause 10 as variously amended, let uslook at clause 10 (d). Hon Chairman, can you now give usthe new rendition?
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 10, paragraph (d), line 2,delete “advance” and insert “prior”. “(d) where the disclosure of theinformation can unduly benefitor be injurious to a personbecause it provides priorinformation about futureeconomic or future measures to be introduced by the Governmentor public institution,” Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu -- rose --
Mr Speaker,the Hon Chairman proffered anamendment to clause 10 (e). I believe bythe principle and the words that we haveadopted; we say “public institutions”should also come after the use of“government” in clause 10 (e). Mr Speaker, even though you have putthe Question, if you would, please, relaxthe rules and go back for furtherconsequential amendment to clause 10(e).
Mr Speaker, I believe theamendment should be consequential fromthe earlier one adopted. Therefore, weaccept it.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 10 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 11 -- Economic information ofthird parties. Alhaji Muntaka -- rose --
HonMajority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, there wasthis understanding in the morning, that at1.00 p.m., we would leave to visit the familyof our late Hon Colleague. So, I was just reminding you of whatwe agreed on in the morning.
Very well. In that case, we would have to skipclause 11. It is 1.00 p.m. already. Hon Members, accordingly, this bringsus to the end of the Consideration Stagefor the Right to Information Bill, 2013, fortoday. Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Thank you very much. Mr Speaker, there are Committeemeetings advertised but because of thedemise of our Hon Colleague, the House,led by Mr Speaker, is going to visit thefamily to commiserate with them. I would want to thank Hon Membersfor the endurance. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that thisHouse should stand adjourned untiltomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker,I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. [Interruptions.]
Sorry, Mr Speaker.Tomorrow is a public holiday.
Sorry.Thank you for your correction. So, reframeyour Motion.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Houseshould stand adjourned until Thursday,at 10.00 o'clock in the morning. Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker,I beg to second the amended Motion. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu-- rose --
Yes, HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker,a Motion was tabled, seconded and youhave put the Question and it has beenagreed on. Mr Speaker, that Motion hasnot been withdrawn, it has not beenrescinded and you are putting anotherQuestion and indeed, you are admittinganother Motion to the same effect. I donot know the circumstance of the firstone; the proper thing must be done first.
Very well. But I believe that it has beenoverreached. Hon Majority Chief Whip,could you withdraw the earlier Motion andmove the new one?
Mr Speaker, I thoughtwe are masters of our rules and havingtaken the second Motion, it overrides thefirst one. But for the avoidance of doubtand confusion, I beg to move to rescindthe earlier Motion for us to convenetomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
I did notfollow what you said. I thought you wouldgo step by step.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this House should move andtake the necessary steps to rescind theearlier Motion that was moved for us tomeet tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in theforenoon.
Mr Speaker, Isecond the Motion for rescission.[Laughter.]
Very well. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this House should rescind --
You havemoved that one and it has been rescinded.So, now, move a new Motion.
Mr Speaker, are we repeatingthe Motion that has been carried forThursday -- All right. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that thisHouse should stand adjourned untilThursday, at 10.00 o'clock in theforenoon.
Mr Speaker,I beg to second the Motion.
Mr Speaker,there are so many Thursdays.
We aretalking about this week. [Laughter.] Question put and Motion agreed to.