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Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has said there is need for lawmakers to improve on the conduct of doing business in the House.
This, he said, will cure some of the challenges that come along with the passage and approvals of some laws and agreements.
He noted that Members of Parliament are not experts in all fields, hence are susceptible to making errors especially when there are not consultants readily available to give them advice on technical issues.
His comments come after the flak the legislature is receiving for the Agyapa Mineral Royalties agreement, which the president has ordered to be resent to the House for a second look at it following the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu’s conclusions in his investigations into the deal.
Parliament has been criticized by a cross-section of the Ghanaian public for what they believe was a poor job done on the agreement.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to return the agreement to Parliament.
Civil society organisations (CSOs) led by Dr Steve Manteaw claimed that the deal was rushed and is also not in the interest of Ghana.
Similarly, the Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, said he will not recognize the agreement should he win the elections this year to become the next president because in his view, the deal is bad.
Mr Amidu asked the Finance Ministry to pause on the scheduled Initial Public Offer (IPO) on the deal until after his investigations.
He said on Monday, November 2 that he has finished with his assessment of the transaction and has accordingly submitted his report to the president.
“The analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment was completed and signed by the Special Prosecutor on 15th October 2020.
“The Special Prosecutor in a letter with reference number OSP/SCR/20/12/20 dated 16th October 2020 conveyed the conclusions and observations of the anti-corruption assessment to H. E. the President and the Hon. Minister of Finance as a matter of courtesy before informing the public.”
“Two weeks is more than too long for this Office to continue withholding the announcement of the completion of its sixty-four (64) page report to the public. It is important that this Office has the freedom to discharge its anti-corruption mandate and keep the public informed. I have, therefore, decided to bring the facts of the conclusion of the anti-corruption assessment of the Agyapa Royalties Transactions by this Office to the attention of the public and to avoid the continued speculations on this matter,” he said.
Speaking in an interview with journalists on this matter on Tuesday, November 3, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Suame Constituency, said: “I don’t know the content of the bag that is coming to us. If we access it and we believe that we can work with it then we apply ourselves to it.
“Already, we have a tall order for us to process to transact. If adding to it and we believe it is possible, so be it. I don’t know what it entails so I cannot make a definite statement on it.”
Defending Parliament against the criticism, he said: “There is nowhere in the world that Parliament is beyond reproach especially given our own circumstances when we don’t have experts to independently consult to give us opinions about that.
“And we must be ready to improve on that in order to improve on the quality of our own positions on matters. All of us are not experts. It is important that we engage consultants and we don’t take whatever comes from government as a given. So we must work to improve the conduct of business in the House.
“That one, yeah, I agree but for anybody to say that we didn’t do a good work because we had four hours that is not true.”