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General News of Wednesday, 23 February 2022


Joe Wise overturns major decision by Alban Bagbin again

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu

The First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, yesterday, February 22, 2022, threw out a motion by the minority for a bi-partisan committee to look into the government’s COVID-19 expenditure.

This is after the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, had admitted the motion before leaving his chair for the First Deputy Speaker to continue with proceedings in the chamber on the day.

It is not the first time that the First Deputy Speaker has overturned a decision by the Speaker of Parliament.

Motion by Minority to probe COVID-19 expenditure

On February 22, the Minority in Parliament presented a memo to the House, seeking to probe the government’s expenditure on COVID-19 from 2020 to date.

The motion, which is being championed by three members of the minority, reads, "That this house constitutes a bi-partisan parliamentary committee chaired by a member of the minority caucus, to enquire into the expenditures made by the Ghana Government in relation to COVID-19 since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020."

The members are Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu; Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka; and Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament.

The motion was presented and read by Dr Cassiel Ato Forson as he outlined the need for the house to probe the expenditure.


Ato Forson stated that an amount of 1.2billion Ghana cedis was approved by parliament to support the Coronavirus alleviation program but the government is yet to account for their expenditure even though they exceeded the approved amount to 8.2 billion Ghana cedis.

Seconding the motion, the Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, added that the health ministry, per the budget review of 2021, were only able to account for an amount of 600miliion Ghana cedis.

Before the debate continued, however, Speaker Alban Bagbin called on the Deputy First Speaker to take his chair, leaving the actual debates under the supervision of Joseph Osei Owusu.

After the motion was seconded, the Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, raised a preliminary objection to the motion.

He described the motion as baseless, and urged the sit-in Speaker to reject the motion.

Making reference to Article 187 of the constitution, he indicated that the Auditor General is the best person to investigate the matter and not any other committee.

Afenyo-Markin explained further that after the Auditor General's investigation, the report will become the property of parliament and for that matter, the Public Accounts Committee can do a thorough probe into it.

Ruling on the motion, Joe Wise said the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, should not have admitted the motion.

“My view is that the motion ought not to have been admitted and it is improperly before the house. I so rule,” he said.

But concerns have been raised about the conduct of Joe Wise after he dismissed the motion which was initially admitted by the Speaker, making this not the first time he has done such a thing.

In December 2021, Joe Wise overturned Alban Bagbin’s ruling on the approval of the 2022 budget.

He justified his decision by insisting that it was in accordance with the law and Standing Orders of Parliament.

This latest development on his ruling raises concerns as to whether or not Joe Wise is impugning the authority of the Speaker, or undermining the mandate of the head of the legislature.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, is however yet to speak on this development.