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General News of Monday, 1 October 2018


MPs on recess after emergency meeting

Members of Parliament (MPs) ended their five-day emergency meeting last Friday after conducting several important businesses in the House.

The House is expected to reconvene on October 30, 2018 for the Third Meeting of the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament.

During the emergency meeting, the MPs approved loans totalling $220 million to undertake infrastructural and social projects in the health, agriculture and tourism sectors.

The Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, laid the request papers for the loans.

One of the facilities is a financing agreement between the government and International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank Group for a Special Drawing Rights (SDR) equivalent to $40 million to finance the proposed Tourism Development Authority.

There is another agreement for a SDR equivalent to $50 million to finance the Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project (GCAP).

The House again approved a financing agreement with IDA for a SDR equivalent to $35 million to finance the proposed Public Sector Reform for Results Project (PSRRP).

There is also a supplier's credit agreement between the government and Brazil for $95.45 million to finance the establishment and strengthening of Agricultural Mechanisation Service Centres (AMSECs).

Supreme Court nominees

Another significant business conducted by Parliament during the emergency meeting was the approval of the nomination of four justices to the Supreme Court.

MPs from both sides of the House described the justices as knowledgeable and experienced individuals who would advance the administration of justice and the protection of civil liberties in the country.

The four justices are Mr Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Justice of Appeal; Ms Justice Agnes M. A. Dordzie, Justice of Appeal; Prof. Nii Ashie Kotey, former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, and Nene A. O. Amegatcher, a private legal practitioner and former President of the Ghana Bar Association.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo nominated the four justices, in accordance with Article 144 (2) of the Constitution, and after communicating same to Parliament, the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) vetted them.

Their approval by Parliament followed the presentation of the report of the ACP, which indicated that it was satisfied that the four justices exhibited character and possessed the requisite knowledge and experience in law to serve on the Supreme Court.

The House again passed the Minerals Income Investment Fund Bill, 2018 into law.

It is to regulate the use of revenue that will accrue to the nation from minerals.

Bust up

There was a bust up at a meeting of the Communications Committee of Parliament temporarily which halted deliberations on a petition submitted by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) against the award of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) contract to a Chinese company, StarTimes.

The heated argument pitted Mr Ken Ohene Agyapong, the Chairman of the committee, against Mr Samuel Nartey George, a member of the committee.

The exchanges are said to have resulted in a near physical confrontation.

Speaking to journalists, a member of the committee, Mr Ras Mubarak, expressed disappointment at what happened at the meeting but declined to give details.

The meeting was reconvened later, with both Mr Agyapong and Mr George in attendance, and after the meeting, the two MPs confirmed to journalists that there had been a misunderstanding between them but there had been no physical confrontation.

Mr Agyapong said the ‘fight’ happened because the committee had earlier agreed that it would meet GIBA and that members were not going to speak to any issue.

He said Mr George broke the rule and went on television last Wednesday speaking about the subject matter.

MPs' privileges

During the meeting, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, urged the police to stop invading the residences of Members of Parliament (MPs) to effect arrest.

He said the police should rather route their invitations of MPs through him to avoid breaching the privileges and immunities of MPs.
Prof. Oquaye made the call in reference to the reported invasion of the residences of the MP for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda.