General News of Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Source: The Chronicle Newspaper

Outcry against appointment of Barton-Odro as Deputy Speaker

Even before President John Dramani Mahama names his cabinet, the government has come under sharp criticism for two appointments sponsored by his administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Parliament House.

A number of people who talked to The Chronicle are disappointed in the appointment of Dr Benjamin Kunbour, the immediate past Attorney-General, who heads government business in the House as Majority Leader, and particularly, the elevation of Mr Ebo Barton-Odro from Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to First Deputy Speaker, who automatically becomes Chairman of the Parliamentary Appointments Committee.

In Accra, Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative, the local chapter of Transparency International, expressed shock at Mr Barton-Odro whose pronouncement that “the State has no case” dominated discussions on the infamous GHc51 million dole-outs to Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, touted in political circles as financier of the ruling party.

“The appointment raises eye-brows,” Mr Azeem stated. “Many people thought after the drama of the Woyome scandal, Mr Barton-Odro would not have been considered for any appointment in the Mahama regime. Now, not only has he been given a higher responsibility, “Mr Azeem companied.

“Snag is Parliament has already given approval to his appointment. But I suppose that cannot stop people from wondering,” the anti-corruption campaigner added.

At Cape Coast, where Mr Barton-Odro narrowly beat Dr. Mrs Henrietta Abane by 21,189 to 19,558 to claim the Cape Coast North Constituency seat, a lawyer who pleaded anonymity expressed shock at the elevation of the former Deputy Attorney-General.

“I thought Mahama would make a clean departure from the events that begat the infamous Woyome scandal by dumping all those whose actions and inactions caused the Ghana taxpayer to lose the huge GHc51 million which was wrongly paid to Woyome.

“By the appointment of Barton-Odro, the only message out there is that nothing has changed. It is welcome to the free for all corrupt practices of the main players in the John Evans Atta Mills’ regime. I am slowly getting the impression that in the NDC, corruption is rather rewarded,” he said.