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General News of Monday, 14 March 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Mahama’s GHC10m youth fund unconstitutional - Afenyo Markins

President John Mahama’s GHC10 million initiative to fund youth entrepreneurs has been described as unconstitutional and lacking Parliamentary approval.

Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Member of Parliament for Efutu constituency, Alexander Afenyo Markins told Joy News, the disbursement breaches Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.

"(1) Parliament may be a resolution supported by the votes of a majority of all the members of Parliament, authorise the Government to enter into an agreement for the granting of a loan out of any public fund or public account" a part of the law states.

But the lawyer explained that the President ignored the provision when he launched the initiative on August 12, 2014. A secretariat has also been created at the Presidency to begin disbursing funds.

Chief Executive Officer of Youth Enterprise Support (YES) Fund Ms Helga Boadi
According to the website, no single business plan can receive more than GHC50,000.00.

Any business that receives financial assistance from the YES Fund is expected to repay the financial assistance at no interest.

Mr Markins suspects the President may have used an Executive Order or a cabinet decision to take money out of the consolidated fund for the initiative.

“The President cannot implement this through an Executive Order or a cabinet directive. Who approved it? Is it Parliament? No. Parliament has never approved it,“ said Mr Markins.

Scanning through the 2015 and 2016 budgets, the lawmaker said there was no financial provision for the YES Fund.

Afenyo Markins warned that there are “consequences of any arm of government breaching the constitution”.

He wants government to “regularise” the YES Fund initiative by coming to Parliament to obtain consent for the programme.

Lack of parliamentary approval for financial transactions was enough a basis for the Supreme Court to declare the payment of €25 million to Waterville as illegal.

The Apex court ruled that two international Business Agreements of April 26, 2006, between the Republic of Ghana and Waterville Holdings (BVI) did not go through Parliament.

In 2015, the Minority in Parliament also accused the President of breaching the constitutions after it entered into a 3-year agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) without parliamentary approval.

Afenyo Markins warned that there are “consequences of any arm of government breaching the constitution”.

He wants government to “regularise” the YES Fund initiative by coming to parliament to obtain consent for the programme.

Afenyo Markins, a known defender of the provisions of the 1992 constitution usually goes to court to ensure that erring state institutions.

He got the Supreme Court to the processes of the district level election as unconstitutional. It forced the Electoral Commission to postpone local government elections at great loss to the state.