Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, has vehemently denied allegations that his side is shielding the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, from answering questions posed by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, about the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign travels.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has filed an urgent question requesting the Finance Minister to brief members on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips to some four countries using a private jet.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa says the President spent over 2 million cedis on the trips.
He accused the Majority side of the house of protecting the Finance Minister from giving details of the cost of the trips.
But speaking in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo Markin stated that the Speaker of Parliament has the final say on the matter.
“On the issue of his question to the Finance Minister, I disagree with the aspect of his submission that the Afenyo Markin-Kyei Mensah Bonsu-led committee is acting abysmally. That is unacceptable. The Honorable member must not go that path because last week he did a similar thing when you tried to change a question a member from your side posed and it was not admitted. You want to have the course to blame the business committee and that is not right.”
“The question has not been answered not because the Minister is asking for more time, but it has been directed by the Speaker that he will schedule an appropriate time and for the records, that is the Speaker’s decision, not the business committee’.”
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa filed two urgent questions on the use of a private jet for President Akufo-Addo’s trips to Europe and South Africa instead of the presidential jet.
The first question, admitted by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin on June 1, 2021, dealt with the airworthiness of the presidential jet and was answered by the Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul.
On the day Ken Ofori-Atta was expected to answer his part of the question, Ablakwa claimed that the Minister had requested for more time to furnish the House with the answers.
The question was subsequently taken off the Business Statement of Parliament, although the Minister had about two weeks earlier to prepare his response.
Raising the concern once again on the floor of the House, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the House must not be seen to be giving the Minister preferential treatment when his colleagues have been hauled before the chamber.
This is the second time Mr. Ablakwa has raised concerns about the Finance Minister’s failure to appear before the House to account for President Akufo-Addo’s use of a private jet for his recent trips to Europe and South Africa.
‘I haven’t rejected the question on the cost of Nana Addo’s travels’ – Bagbin
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had earlier denied any complicity in the re-scheduling of the question on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa.
Speaking on the floor of the house, Alban Bagbin said the Finance Minister will definitely provide answers to the said question.
“Let me disagree with what has been put on social media that the honourable speaker rejected the questions. There is no iota of truth in that publication. The questions were admitted and forwarded to the ministers and the ministers have indicated to me their readiness to come and answer the questions, so it will be no problem. The business committee should do the right thing and get them programmed for the minister to come and answer.”