General News of Wednesday, 22 December 2004
We don't want any more loans - MP
The Members of Parliament (MP) for Ho East, Steve Akorli, has advocated what he terms "a more realistic way of providing vehicles for MPs in the future."
?MPs? car loans should be a thing of the past. The new Parliament must discuss a more appropriate measure. There should be a pool of cars that MPs can use so that when you retire, like it is done for ministers, it is devalued for the MPs to buy?, the NDC MP said.
However, some MPs have condemned public outcry on the repayment of their car loans saying they have not declined to pay back the monies.
As parliament begins preparations to wind up, the MP?s have been discussing the controversial $20,000 car loans they took four years ago.
The issue came up on Tuesday as members made statements on the floor of the house about their conditions of service and other challenges facing Parliament.
Three MPs in their contributions on the statement decided to respond to questions raised over the loan.
The MPs were contributing to a statement made on the floor of the House by the NDC MP for Hohoe South who is retiring this year.
Mr. Kosi Kedem in his farewell statement listed a number of challenges he says had worked against the independence of the House.
When the Speaker, Peter Ala Adjetey opened the floor for comments on the statement, the MPs for Brekum, Ho East and Ho West decided to comment on the car loan saga.
The members expressed concern about the public outcry whether they would repay the car loan or not.
The NDC Member for Ho Central, Kofi Attor, who is retiring from the House this year, said the public outcry was unwarranted because the MPs have not declined to pay back the loans.
He said evidence exists that the MPs have done so in the past.
?Now we are been harassed over car loans we have not said we won?t pay. In 1996 we paid. I remember they deducted it from our ex-gratia. We have not said we won?t pay so I don?t understand the public outcry?, he said.
The NPP member for Brekum, Captain Nkrabea Effah-Dartey, argued that as a member of the three arms of state, it is unfair to give loans to MPs for vehicles.
?The state takes charge of the mobility of the executive and the judiciary but when it comes to the legislature then we are given loans. The state must take charge of us as well so that the public do not make interesting comments about MPs car loans?, he said.
As the Presidential committee set to determine their emoluments wraps up its work, the honourable members, especially, those retiring would be counting the amounts they would be losing from their Ex-Gratia to the luxurious four runners they have been driving the past four years.