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General News of Thursday, 9 January 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Minority accuses Speaker of bias in Merbank ruling

The Minority in Parliament has accused the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho of predetermining the outcome of the motion it filed for an enquiry into the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz Equity Fund Limited.

The Speaker on Monday dismissed a motion by the Minority led by its deputy leader Dominic Nitiwul seeking parliamentary investigation into the sale.

Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu claimed the ruling of Right Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho was prepared even before the House sat to deliberate on the matter.

The New Patriotic Party MPs also described the ruling as one-sided Addressing the media in Accra Thursday, Mr. Mensah-Bonsu said it took the Speaker less than 15 minutes to produce and deliver a ruling that would ordinarily have taken him not less than an hour to prepare.

"It took the Right Honourable Speaker 15 minutes to read a ruling in which he cited many authorities and which he alleges to have researched and written in less than one hour.

"A ruling will usually take into consideration the views expressed by parties in a matter...All the arguments that were raised by myself and by the honourable Papa Owusu Ankomah were not factored into that so-called ruling.

Clearly, that ruling had been prepared before Parliament sat that fateful Monday," the minority leader said.

He further accused the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) of having a manifest interest in the sale of the bank; the leaders of the party descended on the House on the day Parliament reconvened to deliberate on the matter.

"The majority NDC finds nothing wrong with the Merchant Bank-Fortiz transaction. They indeed praised the deal to high heavens in their press conference [soon after the Speaker's ruling]...The national officers of the NDC by descending on Parliament on that day of the abortive motion and participating in a subsequent press conference organised by the NDC majority caucus after the day's sitting appeared to be showing the hand of the NDC in this transaction".

The minority MPs said they would launch their own investigations into the matter to ensure there is value for money in the transaction.

"We want to assure the good people of this country...that we the minority in this parliament are not perturbed by the gymnastic of the black Monday.

"In this regard, the NPP minority caucus assures all and sundry that even though the majority group have used their numbers to stifle official parliamentary investigation into this deal, we are purposed to conduct our own enquiry into this debacle," Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.

He called on those who have "any material evidence" relating to the Merchant Bank deal, to make assist the minority in its quest to ensure the state was not shortchanged in the deal."

A leading member of the Majority side of the House, Mr. Dominic Azumah, told Joy News he was not surprised by the accusations of the Minority.

According to him, accusing the Speaker of impropriety when a ruling doesn't favour a side of the House had become a culture in Parliament because the now Majority did same when it in the Minority.

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