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General News of Friday, 12 April 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Ablakwa raises questions with Annual Report on Presidential Office Staff

The MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has raised questions over the 2018 Annual Report on Presidential Office Staff which was submitted to the House on Thursday.

He was surprised after careful observation that the “belatedly submitted” report was signed by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, a departure from practice.

Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs is asking the Speaker to direct government to withdraw the report because the document is illegal.

Describing it as an inconsistent practice with Section 11 of Act 463, he said it remains to be seen what view the Speaker would take on this matter.

“No explanation provided for the blatant violation of Act 463 occasioned by the President's inability to submit the report within the January to March obligation imposed by the law,” he said.

He also claims at least three names are missing from the list, and accuses the Presidency of seeking to downplay the figures.

Below is his earlier write up on the issue:

I have been poring over the 2018 Annual Report on Presidential Office Staff belatedly submitted to Parliament yesterday.

Very interesting preliminary observations:

1) No explanation provided for the blatant violation of Act 463 occasioned by the President's inability to submit the report within the January to March obligation imposed by the law.

2) The report was submitted and signed by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. A departure from the practice where the President submits under his signature consistent with section 11 of Act 463. It remains to be seen what view the Right Honourable Speaker would take on this matter.

3) The report claims the number of political appointees is 292 out of a total staff of 957. This 292 figure is the same number presented to Parliament for the 2017 Annual Report.

That acknowledged, however, there are clear and obvious omissions. Appendix C and Appendix D3 are strikingly incompatible. The list of Ministers of State presented in Appendix C does not include the Minister of Inner City and Zongo Development, Hon. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid and the Minister of Aviation, Hon. Kofi Adda considering that Appendix D3 states that the Ministries of Inner City and Zongo Development and the Ministry of Aviation operate under the Presidency.

Also, conspicuously missing from the list is the name of the Deputy Minister of Regional Reorganization and Development, my good friend Hon. Martin Adjei-Mensah Korsah.

The number of Ministers given as 10 and for that matter, the total number of Political Appointees provided as 292 in Appendix C is therefore inaccurate and undoubtedly understated.

It is troubling that the Vice President would seek to mislead Parliament in the manner he has done.

4) Item 20 of Appendix D1 reveals rather surprised that Mr. Charles Bissue is still a Presidential Staffer contrary to the impression created earlier following his indictment in the Anas Galamsey exposé.

5) Appendix D2 portrays a worrying tendency to engage hordes of persons described as Special Assistants, Personal Assistants and Special Advisors to numerous Ministers who do not come under the Office of the President. This emerging conduct which is not in the contemplation of Act 463 highlights a gross abuse and wastage of scarce national resources that must not be encouraged.

6) May I reiterate my consistent position over the years that Act 463 ought to be amended to place a cap on the number of persons any President can engage, address the emerging abuses now assuming frightening proportions and make provisions for sanctions when Presidents default or refuse to present the annual report to Parliament.