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Vote of Censure can’t compel President to sack Minister –Former MP

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Kwadwo Adjei-Darko

The former Member of Parliament (MP) for Sunyani West in the Bono Region, Kwadwo Adjei-Darko, has stated that the Minority in Parliament had realised that Censure for the removal of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, would not materialise.

Speaking on Sunyani-based Ark FM’s Issues, hosted by Kwasi Kyei Baffour, the former Legislator explained that “Article 85 states that the President ‘may’, unless the Minister resigns his office, revoke his appointment as a Minister.”

“So just passing a Vote of Censure by 2/3 majority does not automatically mean the President will sack the Finance Minister,” he said, and added that “the authority remains in the bosom of the President to decide whether to sack the Minister or not.”

Touching on  the absence of the Finance Minister in Parliament when the motion was laid before the House, the former Minister for Local Government and Rural Development under former President J.A. Kuffuor, said anyone who goes to Parliament without an invitation was regarded as a stranger.

He explained that “by Parliamentary practice, anyone who enters the House without an invitation is a stranger, with the exception of the Vice President, who has a seat in the House.”

According to him, the allegations raised against the Finance Minister were criminal offences, and the Minister was entitled to a lawyer, but the lawyer would be seen as a stranger.

AD HOC COMMITTEE

The former Minister said: “The Speaker did well by referring the issue to a Committee. The Minister will have the opportunity to respond to [the] allegations leveled against him at that level.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, referred the Censure Motion moved by the Minority to have Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, removed from office, to an eight-member Ad Hoc Committee for consideration.

He added that at the committee level, evidence at the Minority’s disposal would be presented for discussion.

According to Mr. Bagbin, the Finance Minister would be given ample opportunity to defend himself.

Meanwhile, Members of Parliament on the National Democratic Congress (NDC) side are questioning the credibility of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs, who had backtracked on their quest to have Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta sacked.

Some 98 NPP MPs had threatened to boycott yesterday’s budget reading if it was presented by the embattled Minister.

But, after a meeting with the party’s Council of Elders, the MPs bowed to the pressure.

This followed a meeting between the Majority and the NPP top officials on November 22 to find an amicable resolution to the impasse.

FRANCIS OWUSU-ANSAH

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