From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi
The Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF), Madam Irene Naa Torshie Addo, has been petitioned to consider abrogating the Common Fund share of Members of Parliament (MPs), with the explanation that it is an illegality.
The petitioner, Nana Kofi Senyah, a former Presiding Member of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), has also raised concerns with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, and the Ashanti Regional Minister in a letter dated September 3, 2019 and headed “PETITION AGAINST MP’S SHARE OF THE DISTRICT ASSEMBLY COMMON FUND.”
The petition for the abrogation is premised on the fact that the MP’s share of the Common Fund is unconstitutional, as there is no provision in the 1992 Constitution Article 252 and relevant Clauses that regulates the DACF to allocate part of the fund to the Members of Parliament, their assigns or agents.
Nana Senyah said upon a thorough scrutiny and study of the District Assembly Common Fund, under which funds shall be set aside mainly and purposely for the District Assemblies to undertake development projects, it came to his realisation that the District Assembly Common Fund allocated to Members of Parliament was null and void, and must subsequently be expunged from the statutory books.
According to the former Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Presiding Members Association, the allocation of a percentage of the Common Fund to MPs is a serious breach of the Constitution and a disturbing phenomenon, as some of the Members of Parliament, according to most of the Auditors’ Reports, are found wanting in the judicious utilisation of the funds.
He said, per his investigations, developmental projects, for which funds were allocated to MPs under the Common Fund, were not factored into the Action Plans of the various assemblies, and worse still, were not executed.
Expressing concern from the point of view for having once served as the Chairperson of the Auditors Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) over some years, the New Suame Assembly Member suggested that all such Members of Parliament found culpable of abusing the funds be made to refund the amounts.
Nana Senyah supported his claim of illegality with the admission of Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Local Government and Rural Development Minister who led the piloting of the Common Fund in the 1990s, while addressing a workshop on the District Assembly Common Fund in 2012 in Accra, that the MPs’ share of the District Assemblies Fund “is most likely unconstitutional,” which claim has not been disputed.
As a result, Nana Senyah has indicated that the allocation of whatever percentage of the Common Fund to MPs is a waste of the nation’s scarce resources.
He accused Parliament, Members of Parliament and the various Regional Coordinating Councils (RCCs) and stakeholders of overseeing an illegality, stressing that the RCCs had failed in their mandate to adequately supervise, monitor, evaluate and judiciously administer the Fund, in line with the spirit and letter of the DACF Formula so approved by Parliament, hence, the abuse and mess.