Sunday, 10 March 2019

Ofori-Atta summoned to parliament

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye has ordered the  Finance Minister to appear before the house this week to respond to issues regarding the collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank.

Mr Ofori-Atta was scheduled to be in parliament on Thursday, 7 March 2019, but could not make it due to an international engagement.

Parliamentarians have complained about the attitude of the Ken Ofori-Atta for continuous refusing to appear before the honorable House to provide answers or clarification to lawmakers on matters of national interest. This has make the parliamentarians to also ignore his plea to the House for emergency passage of an Acts of law to back his work as Finance Minister.

The minister only appears in parliament to present budgets but “always finds excuses to escape from answering questions posed by legislators on pertinent issues”, Deputy Minority Leader, James Klutse Avedzi, told the house when Ofori-Atta failed to appear before parliament on Thursday, 7 March 2019.

Prof Oquaye, therefore, ruled that: “The Honourable Minister of Finance himself should come and answer the questions in accordance with the date by his good self”.

However, Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo, explained to the house that the Finance Minister communicated his apologies to the house and proposed honouring the invitation on 13 March 2019.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) withdrew the licences of Capital Bank and UT Bank for being illiquid and deficient in capital.

GCB Bank subsequently took over the two struggling banks.

The action was part of moves by the government through the central bank to restructure the banking sector.

Apparently, the actions of the BoG which is under supervision of Ministry of Finance generated a lot of controversies from some key stakeholders and the general public.

In the heat of the matter, the Finance Committee of parliament instituted a probe to ascertain the role the Bank of Ghana played in the collapse of the banks, and determine the extent of culpability of central bank officials.

Some two Ghanaians petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, to allow for a public hearing of the legislature’s probe into the crisis.

The two, Nana Adofo Ofori and Anthony Mifetoo, argued that the decision by the finance committee to hold the hearings in-camera is counterproductive.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo, boycotted the legislature’s probe into the banking crisis.

Mr. Adongo, a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee, said the proceedings were a mere “rubber stamp process.”

“It will deliver no value. I am not willing to be part of it,” he told the media.

He complained that the committee did not have the best of documentation and records to assist members of the committee with the probe.

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