Debates of 20 Jun 2006




Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. [No corrections were made in the Votes and Proceedings.]
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Hon. Members, we have two Official Reports -- Tuesday, 13th June 2006 and Wednesday, 14th June 2006.
Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Official Report for Tuesday, 13th June has a number of corrections in them. Column 902, paragraph 1, line 4 - it reads as follows: ‘So the question does not arise at all; that we legally implicate ourselves to add “at all levels” when it is assumed that the people . . . -- It should include “with disability fundamentally also have parents”. Then under column 912, paragraph 3, line 1, where you have the word “article” it should be‘clause'.
Column 918, paragraph 4, line 8, it reads as follows: insert ‘ we are making' and not ‘we making; column 923 - paragraph 3, line 1 - it should be Mr. Kusi and not Mrs. Kusi. Then column 925, paragraph 3, lines 4 and 6 - we were talking about clause 22 and not clause 21 and so it should reflect accordingly.
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Item 3 - Questions. Is the hon. Minister for Energy in the House?

Minister for Energy (Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda) 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, connection of electricity to schools, residencies and other areas would depend on a number of factors. The most important one, in the interest of the community, is for the community to provide low voltage poles; and indeed that has been one of our biggest problems in the area. Therefore, as soon the community is able to come out with low voltage poles, we will work it out within the SHEP-4, Phase-2 programme.
Mr. Sofo 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it looks as if he has not attempted a vital point of the Question, that is from Damongo to Settlement so I wish to ask him again when electricity would be extended to Settlement.
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, one of our biggest constraints is the low voltage poles. The Damongo- Settlement area is part of the SHEP- 4 but not within the Phase-1 of the SHEP -4 programme. Therefore, as soon as we have indications that we have sufficient low voltage poles,
we will try and factor it into Phase-2 of the SHEP-4 programme.
Mr. A. w. G. Abayateye 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the course of the hon. Minister's Answer, he made mention of the communities providing the low voltage poles. Again, I would like to ask the hon. Minister for Energy the fate of the communities because already they are poor. In the urban areas they do not contribute towards the provision of poles and they are given the power. What is the fate of the rural areas?
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not sure of those communities for which the Ministry has provided low voltage poles, the poor communities that he is referring to. So if I have evidence of that and know how we can go around that policy, we will be able to assist the poor communities.
Mr. Abayateye 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question is in the urban areas when there is provision of electricity, they do not contribute to the poles. In the rural communities, in his own Answer, he says they should provide for the low voltage poles - and that is what is going on; that is the matter on the ground. And I am saying that already the rural communities are not of good standing and they are supposed to contribute. But in the urban areas they do not contribute towards the poles.
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I sympathize with the hon. Colleague's sentiments, as I come from a poor area myself. I would love to get electricity to all communities in my area too. But Mr. Speaker, we have a policy, and I am not so sure if we have been able to modify that policy to be able to provide low voltage poles to the urban areas -- areas of course, which are supposed to be richer than the poorer areas he is referring to. As I indicated earlier, if
Mr. Kofi Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Energy, under the rural electrification programme, is extending power supply to a number of communities in the Gomoa District of the Central Region. We wish to note that electrification projects have been substantially completed at Gomoa Abasa and Gomoa Mpota while installation works are in progress at Kyirem, Adam, Ngyresi, Manso No. 1, Antseadze, Brofo, Kyiren Nkwanta, Ohua, Sampa, Odumase and Adaa.
The outstanding works in these communities are the testing of the network by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and customer service connections. The electrification project in these communities would be fully completed during the course of the year.
We have recently awarded a contract for the extension of power supply to Gomoa Mampong. The works in this community are scheduled for completion by the end of the year.
As regards Gomoa Okwahu, this community has been earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid under the SHEP-4 Project. The community however does not form part of the on- going SHEP-4, Phase-1 project, which is of limited scope. The community will therefore be connected to the national
electricity grid in the subsequent phases of the SHEP-4.
Mr. Hackman 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask the hon. Minister about the 29 communities which have already erected their own electricity poles and were promised to be included in SHEP-4. They are eagerly waiting. We have communities like Gomoa Akropong, Gomoa Fomena, Gomoa Dabiso, Gomoa Berekum, Gomoa Otuam, et cetera -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, these communities have already erected their own poles and I would like the hon. Minister to explain how these communities came to be informed that when they erect their own electricity poles they would be provided with electricity, yet they do not appear in SHEP-4.
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am gratified to know that 29 communities in the Gomoa area have provided their own poles awaiting assistance from the Ministry of Energy to connect them to the national grid. Mr. Speaker, we are constrained in terms of the quantity of existing materials that we have and funding and most of these have already been earmarked. With the good gesture from the communities, I would take this up as a special case and see how to quickly get them onto the grid.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me give a brief background to my question to the hon. Minister. At the last People's Assembly at the Lawra District, a question was asked as to why a particular Area Council Centre was the only one that was not connected to the national grid. The answer was that evidence at the Ministry of Energy showed that - I asked the question -- the hon. Member of Parliament has never gone to see a particular director at the Ministry to lobby for electricity. The question I want ask is
whether it is part of the policy that hon. Members of Parliament lobby particular directors at the Ministry of Energy for electricity.
Mr. Adda 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is nowhere in the Ministry's policy where it is stated that you have to lobby any of the bureaucrats or the politicians at the Ministry of Energy to get electricity. Mr. Speaker, what happens is that the Ministry often gets requests from the District Chief Executives, Members of Parliament and many other concerned citizens of respective communities. They take these on board, review and assess them and find a way to ensure that there is equity in the distribution.
In conclusion, I wish to emphasize that there is no policy that says that you have to lobby anybody to get electricity to your area.
Extension of Electricity to Nadowli East Constituency
Q. 301. Mr. Mathias Asoma Puozaa asked the Minister for Energy when electricity from the national grid will be extended to the following communities in the Nadowli East constituency:
(i) Busie;
(ii) Fian;
(iii) Wogu;
(iv) Issa;
(v) Tabiesi; and
(vi) Kojokpere.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Busie, Fian, Wogu, Issa, Tabiesi and Kojokpere communities form part of the SHEP-3,
Mr. Puozaa 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, after having been in this state for the past six years, where high tension poles have been done, and transformers have been put in place but there is no electricity, what is the guarantee that this year Busie might get light, as stated by the hon. Minister?
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, for the information of my hon. Colleague, the District Chief Executives were in my office just last week to discuss this matter, and they have assured us that they would take up the matter seriously at the local

level and we also gave them the assurance that by the end of this year, there would be electricity in those areas.
Mr. Puozaa 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for that assurance. But with reference to paragraph 3 of the written Answer, it is really true that with lots of electricity materials lying in Nadowli East, in the event of the community failing to provide the low tension poles, does it imply that all those billions of cedis would be allowed to go waste as is happening at the moment?
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the answer to my hon. Colleague's question is, no. Nobody in the Ministry or in Government is consciously permitting any materials to go to waste. There is a policy in place that we are implementing and that policy calls for specific things. One of them is the provision of low voltage poles by the communities and until that policy is modified, we are constrained in the Ministry to be able to go to areas where there are no low voltage poles to connect electricity to those areas. So Mr. Speaker, we would ensure that those materials do not go to waste.
Mr. Puozaa 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there are a few low tension poles available in all these communities. Is it not possible that at least, these could be used in extending electricity to certain vital areas like the Health Centre in Issa and the Youth Training Institute that really need electricity while we wait for more poles to extend it to the communities at large?
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is possible for us to extend electricity to certain areas if they have the poles and indeed the poles of a health centre is one very vital area that should have electricity. But as I speak some of the poles that were procured in the area are substandard. Some of them are basically teak poles that have been painted
and not been adequately treated. Therefore it is not possible to do that. We would be lowering our standards and jeopardizing critical national resources.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the light of the fact that there are a number of communities that are depressingly poor, is it not about time for the Ministry to consider its policy of making the provision of low voltage poles a precondition for connectivity?
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is indeed true that many of our communities are poor and it is important for us to revisit the policy to see how we can get electricity to areas where they are not able to afford the low voltage poles. Indeed, just last Saturday, Heads of Sector Agencies met and discussed the policy for the sector and this is one of the issues that we are considering. It may well be possible that we may take it on board but I cannot guarantee that.
But Mr. Speaker, I also want to call on my hon. Colleagues and the District Chief Executives to find other creative means by which they can provide poles to make it possible for us to send electricity to those areas, considering the huge cost that the Government has to go through in getting all the materials there.
SHEP works i n some Communities in Kintampo South (Status)
Q. 302. Mr. Yaw Effah-Baafi asked the Minister for Energy what was the status of the Self-Help Electrification Project (SHEP) works in the following communities and what measures the Ministry is taking to ensure that they are connected to the National Electricity Grid.
(i) Jema-Nkwanta;
(ii) Ntankoro;
(iii) Anyima;
(iv) Weila;
(v) Ayorya; and
(vi) Chingakrom.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
The Jema-Nkwanta community forms part of the SHEP- 4, Phase-1 project. The works in this community have been completed.
The Ayorya and Ch ingakrom communities were earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid under the SHEP-3, Phase-3 project. High Voltage (HV), Low Voltage (LV) Poles and transformer substation works have been completed in these communities. Customer service connections are currently going on in these communities.
As regards the works in the Anyima community, high voltage (HV) pole erection is currently ongoing. The project is scheduled for completion before the end of the year 2006.
The Ntankoro community has been earmarked for connection to the national electricity grid under the SHEP-4 but does not form part of the ongoing SHEP- 4, Phase-1 project, which is of limited scope. The Natankoro community would therefore be connected to the national grid in the subsequent phases of SHEP-4 in line with the implementation schedule and the availability of funding.
The Weila community has not been listed under any of the ongoing electrifi- cation projects currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Energy. The community may therefore apply to join the SHEP if it meets the eligibility requirement.
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, with regard to the electrification project at Anyima, I want to know which of the
surrounding communities would provide the source of power.
Mr. Adda 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I will crave your indulgence in asking my hon. Colleague to contact me for the details that have been developed to implement this project. I cannot say offhand which community will form the source of the electricity.
Mr. Effah-Baafi 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the current status of the project at Ayorya and Chingakrom were reached more than one and a half years ago. May I know from the hon. Minister the reasons for the break in the execution of the project.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the answer is simple. It was for financial constraints that is why we were not able to move on rapidly with it. But as I speak, about 30 per cent of the houses have been wired and we would try to see how to quickly get electricity there.
Alhaji Sumani Abukari 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
I would like to know from the hon. Minister when the communities that were listed to be connected under SHEP III and have still not been connected and some of which have high tension poles and transformers, would be connected to the national grid.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, we have considered these communities to be of high priority to us. As we speak, we have sourced funding from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to ensure that we do this as quickly as possible. If we are fortunate to get the funding, we would be able to get them implemented by the end of the year but that will depend on the feedback we get from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.
Mr. A. w. G. Abayateye 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the course of the Minister's Answer, the statement runs through almost all the Answers - “availability of funding”, “availability of funding”. In November last year, this House approved a loan of $60 million, $30 million for rural electrification and $30 million for the construction of the Presidential mansion at Flag Staff House. I would like to know the state of that $30 million approved for rural electrification. [Hear! Hear!]
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Sege, I think you must come properly, this is not supplementary.
Mr. Abayateye 10:30 a.m.
No, Mr. Speaker, my question is - [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
You asked a question about the other $30 million.
Mr. Abayateye 10:30 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is, in the Answer of the Minister, he says “availability of funding”, “availability of funding” and I am saying that this House approved a $30 million loan from India for rural electrification. So what is the fate of that money since availability of funding is the problem.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Sege, that is why I say please, come properly.
Mr. A. K. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Minister, in his Answer to this House, at page 5, the last sentence in the second paragraph of the Answer to Question 299 said “. . . and the availability of funding”. The same page 5, getting to the end of the page in the Answer to Question number 300, the Minister has written also that “the electrification project to these communities would be fully completed during the course of the year”. Mr. Speaker, at page 6, ending of the first paragraph, the same Minister had written
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ashaiman -
Mr. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to put all together.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ashaiman, ask a question in relation to Question number 302.
Mr. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in the Answer provided by the Minister, there is a common phrase - “availability of funding” and then “by the end of the year”, “in the course of the year”, I would want the Minister to explain to some of us - [An hon. Member: All of us] - particularly as these Questions relate to rural communities which are anxiously waiting for electricity. When he says “availability of funding” and “the end of the year”, “in the course of the year”, “by the close of the year”, is he giving any assurance to these communities that by the end of the year, what he says here that they are going to get the electricity is true?
What steps is the Ministry taking to make funds available for the completion of these projects for our various local communities to enjoy electricity?
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, the question is rather too long. [Laughter.] Minister for Energy, you may answer what you want to answer.
Mr. Agbesi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, if I may be allowed, may I break it down for the Minister.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. Colleague has succeeded in confusing this House. I thought he was making a statement. The matter is very clear. If we have inadequate funding, we cannot go ahead and implement projects; if the funding is not there, we cannot perform. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, executing contracts such as those we have under electrification programmes is a technical exercise; they would be at different stages of implementation in the course of the year.
There are some that we can certainly implement before the end of the year; there are others that would happen by the end of the year. I think this is very simple, Mr. Speaker, I do not see the issue with it.
Mr. Stephen Kunsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if any budgetary allocation has been made for this project this year.
Mr. Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Hon. Member for Kintampo North, which project are you referring to?
Mr. Kunsu 10:30 a.m.
All the projects. In his Answers, he said the work would be accomplished depending upon the availability of funds, and I am asking whether there has been any budgetary allocation for those projects in question this year.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is common knowledge that the Ministry of Finance is constrained even in its own operation and what we often do is compete with others for the funds. We had some budgetary allocations this year and those funds were earmarked for certain projects. And that is why in my response to some of the Questions, I made it clear that some would be completed definitely before the end of the year. With regard to the specific communities mentioned here, I would need some time to be able to respond.
Electricity for Zenu, Kubekro, et cetera
Q. 303. Mr. Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey- Agbo asked the Minister for Energy when the following communities would benefit from the National Electrification Programme:
(i) Zenu;
(ii) Kubekro;
(iii) Katamansu;
(iv) Appolonia
(v) Adigon; and
(vi) Okushibi.
Mr. Adda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Zenu and Kubekro communities of the Kpone- Katamanso constituency of the Greater Accra Region form part of the SHEP- 4, Phase-1 project. Currently, work is in progress on the High Voltage (HV) and Low Voltage (LV) networks. It is planned that these Communities would be connected to the national electricity grid by the end of the year.
The Katamanso, Appolonia, Adigon and Okushibi communities form part of the SHEP-4. These communities, however, do not form part of the ongoing SHEP-4
Phase-1 project, which is of limited scope. The Katamanso, Appolonia, Adigon and Okushibi communities would therefore be connected to the national electricity grid in line with the implementation schedule.
Mr. Afotey-Agbo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want to ask the hon. Minister why the community at Katamanso is not included in the communities which would be connected to the national grid by the end of the year. This is because after Zenu, you go to Katamanso before Kubekro.
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, this is a technical exercise that the technicians undertake to determine where to pass through to deliver electricity to the communities. I need some more time to find out exactly why Katamanso has not been included.
Mr. Afotey-Agbo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would want the hon. Minister to explain to the House whether Answer 303, paragraph 1, where he says “would be connected” means completion.
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes, “would be connected” means completion.
Mr. Afotey-Agbo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, from the hon. Minister's Answer, he is saying that work is in progress. I would want to ask him if he is aware that the contractor is currently not on the ground.
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am not aware and I will look into it.
Nii Amasah Namoale: Mr. Speaker, we all know that from Zenu, you go to Katamanso before you go to Kubekro and one cannot connect Kubekro with electricity without the high-tension poles passing through Katamanso. May I know from the hon. Minister whether they deliberately removed Katamanso because the Member of Parliament comes from Katamanso?
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Government is an all-inclusive Government and we do not discriminate politically. Therefore, we did not deliberately exclude that community because the Member of Parliament does not come from our party.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to know from the hon. Minister for Energy what criterion they are using to select the communities that will form part of the phasing within a particular SHEP project. For example, within SHEP-4, what is the criterion for selecting those communities that will be in SHEP-4, Phase I, et cetera?
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is a very simply set of criteria. Once the community, through the District Chief Executive (DCE) requests, we include all the communities in a pool and try to equitably distribute the allocation of the communities. Mr. Speaker, it is as simple as that.
Dr. Ampofo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am aware that existence of certain infrastructure such as the provision of the low-tension poles and all that form actually the criterion, the basic ones. And Appolonia in particular has not only the low-tension poles, but in addition, it has its own mini-grid; within the township, there is a network of the grid. Therefore, cost-wise, Appolonia ought to qualify. Can the hon. Minister explain to the House why Appolonia in particular, because this town is a special town, considering the work that has been done in Appolonia and the existence of the mini-grid, is not included in SHEP-4, Phase I?
Mr. Adda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in paragraph 2, my response was that Appolonia would be connected as part of the subsequent phase
of SHEP-4. Well, Mr. Speaker, when I got into the office, this was not part of SHEP- 4, Phase I. So now we are considering it.
Mr. John Dramani Mahama 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister whether he is aware that with the division of the Bole/Bamboi District into two to form Sawla/Kalba and Bole Districts, Bole, the district capital is the only community at present with electricity in the Bole District.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Hon. Member for Bole/ Bamboi, this is not a supplementary question at all.
Hon. Minister for Energy, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
Statement by the hon. Member for Kintampo North.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Mr. Stephen Kunsu (NDC - Kintampo North) 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a Statement on cultural adulteration in Ghana.
Culture, Mr. Speaker, is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular time. Every country under the sun is distinguishable from other countries by its culture and therefore a country which has no culture but thrives on borrowed or imported cultures is completely lost and has no sense of direction.
Culture is so important in the social advancement of a country that decrying one's own culture and appropriating foreign culture is tantamount to self- induced cultural subjugation; and this is exactly what Ghana is epitomizing. Globalization and its concomitants are
denigrating our culture to the extent that most Ghanaians have lost confidence in themselves and as such look down upon anything Ghanaian.
This sort of cultural inferiority that has engulfed the once culturally proud Ghana is a very disturbing phenomenon and should be halted aggressively before it grows into an insurmountable canker. It is against this background that I call upon all well-meaning Ghanaians to harmonise and synchronise their efforts in a campaign against mediocrities and inferiority complexes in order to distil our adulterated culture and consequently redeem the dented image and identity of Ghana from further degeneration.

Mr. Speaker, cultural adulteration manifests in our dressing, language, eating habits, names, social ceremonies such as funerals, marriages, music and dancing, to mention a few.


Dress ing i s one o f the mos t conspicuous manifestations of the so- called civilization and globalisation. Our dressing, particularly the dressing of some of our ladies leaves much to be desired. The wearing of almost transparent and romantic mini-skirts with one-armed blouses extending from the shoulders to the navel, long ear rings dangling under heavy wigs, assorted necklaces, bleached skins, sharp pointed toe and finger nails, coloured eyelashes and lips are some of the characteristic features of some of our ladies' dressing.

Mr. Speaker, permit me to remark that when viewed from a distance some of these ill-dressed ladies appear like some

animated puppets and scarecrows from a different planet.

What is more, Mr. Speaker, such ladies pride themselves in the display of their voluptuous bodies in the full glare of their male counterparts with what they call “I am aware” which signifies an intentional exposure of their femininity. This sort of dressing and ignominious posture is provocative enough to get a man readily hypnotized and this is surely a recipe for acts of social turpitude expressible in rapes, juvenile delinquency, teenage pregnancies, prostitution and other deviant behaviours.


The infiltration of English words into the vernacular, especially in Akan, is a commonplace in our society and this bizarre situation corrupts our local dialects as they tend to lose their originality. Hardly do scholars including radio presenters vocalize a sentence in Akan without English words taking over ninety per cent of the sentence.

Mr. Speaker, this makes them sound ridiculous and unintelligible. Some scholars might argue that this blend of English and Akan is to enable them reach out to a wider audience but this is porous, myopic and untenable since practically this ultimate aim is defeated because the conversation eventually turns into English while Akan sinks into oblivion.


The negative response by some Ghanaian scholars when addressed by their traditional surnames raises very serious concerns about our cultural integrity, as they shamelessly prefer to be called by adopted English names. In situations where these local names are accepted they are Europeanised by allowing the English people to determine
Mr. S. K. B. Manu (NPP - Ahafo Ano South) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made by the hon. Member for Kintampo North (Mr. Stephen Kunsu). Mr. Speaker, it is very true that culture is the way of life of a people, and when we try to look at the element of culture we shall find that the food we eat, what we wear, our attitudes and gamut of other films contribute to what culture is.
Mr. Speaker, I applaud culture as a way of lifting up people. However, culture must be discerned to know what should be practised at a given time and what should give way at a given time. Mr. Speaker, charity, they say, begins at home; the hon. Member who just made the Statement eloquently canvassed for Ghanaians to wear made-in-Ghana goods.
Mr. Speaker, I shudder to observe that yesterday, the hon. Member was in a tailcoat; today, as he is making this Statement, he is in a full British-made suit - [Laughter.] Mr. Speaker, if we learn to preach virtues, we must also learn to practise virtues and stop preaching virtues while we go out to practise vice.
Mr. J. K. Gidisu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I am surprised that the Chairman of the Committee on Education whose Government champions patronage of made-in-Ghana items and whose President himself has never ever worn Ghanaian attire officially - [Interruptions] -- let alone an hon. Member on this side of the House --
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Order! Order! Hon. Member for Central Tongu, you have no point of order.
Mr. Manu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member perhaps just wants to be heard. Even on Friday, as the President swore in the newly appointed Ministers, he was in an African dress. And on the day that he was enthroned -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member, we are
not debating; you may comment on the Statement.
Mr. Manu 11 a.m.
All right. Mr. Speaker, I want to observe that the initiators of made- in-Ghana goods have been wearing made- in-Ghana goods like I am wearing today; and I belong to the party which initiated it. I also want to observe that even on the day of the inauguration of the President he was in kente cloth from Bonwire.
Mr. Kojo Armah 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, in making these statements we need to be a little bit factual, the dress he is wearing was not initiated by the party to which he belongs -- [Hear! Hear!] Everybody knows in this country that the fugu was made popular and dignified by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah -- [Hear! Hear!]
Mr. Manu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is only carrying coal to Newcastle. Telling me where the fugu comes from means he does not know who I am. If Dr. Kwame Nkrumah popularised fugu, he took it from the north where I come from -- [Interruptions.] I repeat, if Dr. Kwame Nkrumah popularised the smock -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member, you maybe winding up.
Mr. Manu 11 a.m.
Yes, in winding up, let me
inform the hon. Member that the smock, which was popularised by Dr. Kwame
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo (NDC -- wa Central) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support my hon. Colleague who made the Statement and to say that culture definitely is the identity of a people; it is the soul of every society, and any society that does not recognise its culture would lose its value in the face of other societies.
Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is timely that the hon. Colleague made this Statement because Ghana is at the forefront of leading Africa in most of the things that we see today; in development strides, in our democracy and in our outlook for getting Africa to be united, Ghana is always found at the forefront. But Mr. Speaker, it is sad that in Ghana, we are beginning to lose this very important value which gives us the identity and the forward movement and the strides we are making in leading Africa.
Mr. Speaker, if you take Japan, for example, it is a country that has accepted western cultural practices, their way of life in terms of their ingenuity in developments and inventions. But Mr. Speaker, they have indigenized all these things; they have domesticated them. They take them as they are, and bring them to Japan. And they make sure that by the time the thing becomes something made-in-Japan it is completely “Japanesed” and not westernised at all.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who
made the Statement bemoaned the personality of the Ghanaian youth now -- the way they dress, the way they talk -- everything. I want to say that it is because the Ghanaian adult is not reflecting what the youth should reflect. We do not teach our children at school to love Ghana. The Ghanaian flag, for example, is no longer as much regarded as we should; somebody can wave it and we will not be satisfied.
Mr. Speaker, it is important that we start it all from our schools and ensure that we teach our young people the Ghanaian culture, how to love the language we teach and how to use it wherever we go.
Mr. Speaker, the sad thing about development is when we cannot recognise development policy or when we cannot recognise our culture in our development policy; but that is exactly what is happening now. Every development policy, if you look at it completely, is devoid of what will make Ghanaians better. What it does is to ensure that we make others feel better so we can gain from them. But that is not all about development; development is to indigenise your culture.
The development we see outside, wherever we are bringing it from, when it comes to Ghana, it must come out or go out into the world with a Ghanaian identity and a Ghanaian tag on it. Anytime it does not reflect that sense, Mr. Speaker, we would be losing exactly what we represent by culture.
Culture does not only mean the food we eat, the dresses we wear and how we speak, but the identity in the things we produce, the commitment we have to development and the fact that we respect the moral values that were inculcated in us when we were growing. Anytime we find young people beginning to respect America, Britain or France more than they will respect Ghana, or in file trying to leave the country, it is a message to us that we have to do something about teaching our culture.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I would urge the National Commission on Culture -- they have come out with a cultural policy -- to ensure that we streamline it more carefully and ensure that it is sent to all Departments, Ministries, and Agencies so that any time they do their budgets -- budgets today also include policies -- they include aspects of our culture that will make what we do more authentic, more Ghanaian, and be identified with a tag on it that will make it Ghanaian.
In this way we would be respecting ourselves, we would be sending out messages to our young people that there is the need for us to reflect Ghanaian culture and the Ghanaian identity.
Alhaji M. M. Mubarak (NDC --
Asawase): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made on our culture.
Mr. Speaker, it is very, very important that we as Ghanaians begin to reflect Ghana. So much has been said about dressing already; I would want to emphasise on the pride of being a Ghanaian, the food and what we show on our television and radio.
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the pride, it is definitely something that everyone here would agree that the youth of today, including myself, most of us find it very difficult to be proud of our country. It is something we have to work on and make sure that we are surely very, very proud of our country.
Mr. Speaker, you ride on the streets of our major cities and you will see the elderly and vibrant youth flagging the flag of America, France or Britain in their vehicles, and we think this does not have effect on the children that they are giving birth to and those who see them passing
by? Someone will build a whole house and he will hang the flag of America on it because he had stayed in America; and the message that he gives to the youth and the children is that there is a country that they must be proud of and not the one they are living in.

It is very, very important that we in our own small way should try as much as possible, with all our weaknesses to be very proud of our country. It is the only way that we can sustain our country, our economy and to be also recognized one day as a leading country in our own respect.

Mr. Speaker, I would want to look at the kind of food that we eat and its effect on our culture and the economy. Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of being in Nigeria and I stayed in a five-star hotel. When we came down to eat, almost every local dish that you could think of in Nigeria was found in the five-star hotel. You go to our hotels, five-star hotels in this country, and ask of fufu and they will tell you, “No, we do not serve that here”.

Mr. Speaker, we cannot be proud of ourselves when we cannot even manifest our food in such institutions. And when you go, all you do is to eat rice; you eat things that you do not truly grow.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for Abuakwa, do you have any point of order?
Mr. J. B. D. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
What is your point of order?
Mr. J. B. D. Adu 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend on the other side is misleading the House by saying that our five-star hotels do not have local dishes. I think that if you go to my hotel, the La Beach Hotel -- the only five-star hotel, we serve local dishes.
Alhaji Mubarak 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, there is one particular crop in this country that can be used for so many things, and that is soya beans. Soya beans can be used for bread; soya beans can be used for alcohol; soya beans can be used for so many things. So many research institu-tions have proved beyond reasonable doubt that soya beans can replace wheat perfectly, yet we continue to insist on taking wheat products.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot continue to do this and expect to grow the culture that we have and we cherish. We will have to patronize our products; that is the only way we can strengthen them and be able to enrich our culture.
Mr. Speaker, if you look at the television programmes that we have today, you will wonder whether we are not really at a loss because as young as I am, I remember the kind of stories our parents told us in the evenings. We used to have a programme by 31st December Women's Movement -- By the Fire Side. Most of these programmes that will portray our culture are no longer there. What we have are “Promise”, interesting programmes from elsewhere, that at the end of the day do not really manifest our true culture.
Minister for the Interior (Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, today the 20th June marks World Refugee Day. A day which has been set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the world's refugees.
Mr. Speaker, it is a day for sober reflection on the refugee situation of the world and affords all of us, especially we as Parliamentarians and legislators the opportunity to look at ways of mapping out strategies to alleviate the plight of refugees as well as eliminate the scourge completely.
Mr. Speaker, refugees are persons who are forced to leave their homeland in a state of anxiety from some imminent danger to their lives and liberty and owing to the circumstances leading to their flight they leave with nothing to start afresh in new environments.
On the occasion of this year's World Refugee Day, we in Ghana join the international community to honour
refugees and displaced persons all over the world who through no fault of theirs have been forced to flee their homelands.
Mr. Speaker, the refugee situation is a struggle for survival and for acceptance by those on whose doors they knock.
Mr. Speaker, Ghana as a committed member of the international community will leave no stone unturned in striving to honour all her obligations under the 1951 United Nations Commission relating to the status of refugees and its 1967 Protocol as well as the 1969 OAU Convention governing the specific aspects of refugees' problems in Africa. Indeed, the commitment of our Government to providing as well as seeking the welfare of our brothers and sisters is widely known and acknowledged.
We shall continue to so take notice of our security concerns to ensure that we all live in peace and security.
Mr. Speaker, it is the desire of all of us to ensure that maintenance and sustenance of peace around the world is upheld, yet it continues to elude us, resulting in the many conflict that we see and encounter today.
Mr. Speaker, we in Ghana associate ourselves with all subregional, regional and international efforts at finding peace on the continent and in the world as a whole. We also take pride in the untiring efforts of Ghana under His Excellency President J. A. Kufuor to put together with his colleague Heads of State and Government to chalk successes at solving the conflicts on the continent.
Mr. Speaker, this state of affairs has led to an improvement of the refugee situation in Ghana and on the continent as a whole.
Mr. Speaker, the refugee population in Ghana has dropped from over 60,000 last year to just over 50,000 refugees due to the favourable conditions negotiated in the countries of origin which has facilitated the spontaneous and voluntary return of some of our unfortunate brothers and sisters who had to flee their countries in the face of extreme danger. On the continental front a number of successes have been achieved and today, democratically- elected governments are in place in Liberia and Sierra Leone and there are peace Agreements signed in southern Sudan as well as the Dafur Region of Sudan.

Mr. Speaker, Ghana has also signed the Tripartite Agreement with the Government of Liberia and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the voluntary return of Liberian refugees in Ghana, which is currently ongoing. And let me acknowledge, Mr. Speaker, the efforts of all refugees in trying to rebuild their lives and to ask them to keep hope alive, for the day will come when the situation which forced them to flee their countries will be resolved to enable them return home.

In the meantime, Mr. Speaker, I pray that hon. Members of the House, and indeed, all Ghanaians should spare a thought for the refugees and displaced persons wherever they are in the world on this special day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to reflect on the refugee situation in the world.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC -- Lawra/Nandom) 11:20 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to add my humble voice to what the hon. Minister for the Interior has said in actually registering and acknowledging a very
Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP -- Evalue- Gwira) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to add my voice to the Statement so ably made by the hon. Minister for the Interior on this important Day of Refugees.
Mr. Speaker, I happen to come from a district where we have one of the active refugee camps in this country, the Christian Refugee Camp in the Nzema East District. Mr. Speaker, this camp is the abode for refugees from Sudan, la Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and even Somalia; and in this case that area is a hot-bed of several cross-cultural conflicts that arise.
If one went to the Christian Refugee Camp, one would see the type of programmes that have been put in place by the Catholic Relief Services and by the Ghana Refugee Board to try to make the lives of these refugees a little less arduous than they would normally have been. One would also see the high incidence of indiscipline that sometimes erupt as a result of frustrations, as a result of demand for more care, and sometimes as a result of the inadequate supply of rations to the refugees. All this boils down to the fact that people who are dislocated against their will are people who are generally in distress and can easily become frustrated and angry over trivial issues.
But again, at this same camp we see the inadequate security arrangements that are in place to contain such conflicts. The District Police Post had posted two policemen to man the refugee camp, but at the peak, about two years ago, when we had over 1,200 people, two policemen
were certainly inadequate and once a while the trouble tripped over to the town.
The point I am trying to make is that while we are trying to provide accommodation for these people who are temporarily dislocated from their countries, in our own country, we also need to look at the security implications of having to have so many people with various degrees of distress and various degrees of frustration coming together.
It is an enormous task on the hands of the UNHCR, but as hon. Dr. Kunbuor has said, we also have to look at the fact that possibly in their own countries many of them were people of substance who have been forced to come and live like ordinary people in our country. It is important on this day, Mr. Speaker, that we as a people take a second look at the management of refugees at our various centres.
When one passes through Buduburam on the way out, one would see the number of Liberians who are still there. The question is: how long are they going to stay there despite the fact that calm has returned to Liberia and voluntary repatriation is going on? Some of them have become landlords and are trying to have citizenship stay and things like that. It appears that the Ministry will have to do more to evacuate a lot of them back to their countries.
The drop in figures that the hon. Minister talked about -- from 60,000 to 50,000 -- I believe can go further down so that we would reduce these tensions in our country.
Mr. Speaker, we need certainly to spare a thought for the refugees but we also need to look at the security implications of having so many of them in our country. On this important day, it is important that all of us remind ourselves that countries in Africa and the subregion ought not to
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the hon. Minister for the Interior (Mr. Kan-Dapaah). Many years ago, I used to view refugees as products of lawless societies and as people who did not want to make life for themselves in their own environment, until I became one with a few hon. Colleagues from the other side of the House.
Mr. Speaker, a refugee is a refugee;
no matter their social standing in their country, no matter their circumstances and no matter their background they lead a life of deprivation, desperation and contempt sometimes in the community in which they reside. We are very lucky that these days, coups d'etat are no more fashionable, otherwise all of us sitting here would have been potential candidates for refugee status at one time or the other.

Chairman of the Committee) 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I crave your indulgence to present the Report of the Committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the Whistleblower Bill. 1.0 Introduction
Parliament was seized with the Whistleblower Bill on Tuesday, 14th June 2005 when it was presented and read the First time in the House. The Bill was subsequently referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report pursuant to article 106 (4), (5) and (6) of the Constitution and Standing order 179 of Parliament.
2.0 Methodology
The Committee in accordance with article 106 (4) of the Constitution held public hearings in all the ten (10) regions of the country to solicit public input into the Bill. The Committee also consulted with relevant stakeholders on the subject matter of the Bill and further examined memoranda presented by some Non-
Governmental Organisations, Civil Society Groups and individuals on it.
3.0 Reference Documents
The Committee had recourse to the underlisted documents during discus-sions on the Bill:
a) The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
b) The State Secrets Act 1962 (Act 101)
c) The Oath Act 1960 (C.A. 12)
d) The Oaths Decree 1972 (NRCD
4.0 Deliberations
The Committee in addition to the regional public hearings held discussions with:
1. Ministry of Justice
2. The Police Service
3. Centre for Democratic Develop- ment
4. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
5. The Serious Fraud Office
6. The Anti-Corruption Coalition
7. Legal Resources Centre.
5.0 Memoranda Received
The underlisted institutions also submitted memoranda on the Bill to the Committee:
Centre for Democratic Development
Dr. Philip Ekwow Bondzie Simpson, a Legal Practitioner
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
Legal Resources Centre.
6.0 Background
It is public knowledge that criminal, corrupt and illegal conducts and practices including acts of impropriety generally within and outside the Organs of State do not only undermine transparency and good corporate governance but also affect efficiency and prudent utilisation of scarce state resources. The need for disclosure of reliable information about the occurrence of such corrupt, illegal acts and practices, in the public and private sector, and the society as a whole has been recognised as one of the effective ways of combating such vices and promoting good governance generally in the society.
A number of jurisdictions including the United Kingdom, some states in the United States of America and South Africa are noted among countries which have specifically created necessary legal framework for combating impropriety.
Ghana, like the above-mentioned Countries amongst others, notes with concern the sheer apprehension frequently expressed by “potential whistleblowers” about threat of possible victimisation by perpetrators of impropriety in the event of disclosure of such acts. It is against this background and also in furtherance of the need to combat corruption in the country that consideration of the Bill has become imperative.
7.0 Object of the Bill
The Bill seeks to provide for the manner in which individuals may in the public interest disclose information that relates to unlawful or other illegal conducts or practices, protection against victimisation of persons who make these disclosures and a Fund to compensate individuals who make the disclosures, and for related matters.
8.0 Provisions of the Bill
The Committee in its deliberations examined the Bill in detail and observed that it consists of five main parts. Part one makes provision for disclosure of impropriety and specifically provides for:
a) Disclosure of impropriety
b) Pe r sons who qua l i fy to make disclosure of impropriety, and
c) Persons to whom disclosure of impropriety may be made.
Part two of the Bill provides procedures for disclosure of impropriety and related actions as follows:
a) Procedures for making a disclosure
b) Reduction of disclosure into writing
c) Action by persons who receive disclosure of impropriety
d) Submission of copy of written disclosure to the Attorney-General
e) Investigation
f) Application to Court for assistance
g) Submission of report of inves- tigation to the Attorney-General, and
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu (NDC -- Tamale South) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the Whistleblower Bill.
Mr. Speaker, undoubtedly, like the
hon. Attorney-General and Minister for Justice stated, this Bill, when passed into law, would become part of our collective strategy and mechanisms to reduce the incidence of corruption in our country. There is no doubt that all governments -- and I emphasize that -- all governments are susceptible to corruption and there is no one strategy for dealing with the pandemic of corruption. Mr. Speaker, our Constitution of 1992 is already replete with provisions in combating corruption but as Larry Diamond states, “human beings are not angels”. Constitutional provisions and legislations are not adequate mechanisms to want to combat corruption because human beings, by their nature, motivated by greed and need and the existence of opportunity, would always engage in conducts that are corrupt.
Mr. Speaker, if you read article 94
of the Constitution, it does provide that a person who is adjudged corrupt is not even allowed to hold public office for a period of ten years. Article 218 of the Constitution empowers the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to investigate allegations of corruption. Mr. Speaker, article 286 of the same Constitution deals with what we call the assets declaration regime. And Mr. Speaker, permit me to make a comment on it, since the Bill is about protecting people who make official report of wrongdoing.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is about time
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
Speaker, my hon. Colleague is a young man so I think that he should watch the language that he employs in this House. I think the language that he used is unacceptable; that we have a self-serving Office of Accountability. Mr. Speaker, with respect to him, I do not think that such language is acceptable here. Please, honourable.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
Harder? All right,
Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence [Interruptions] -- I can justify it and I may do so for the respect of Mr. Speaker but
not my hon. Colleague -- [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that the Office of Accountability was included in the list of those who can receive official disclosures -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I
withdraw self-serving.
Mr. Speaker 11:40 a.m.
All right, go ahead.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:40 a.m.
But Mr. Speaker, in
withdrawing it, I believe that if we indeed are committed to fighting corruption, people should learn to accept some of these comments. Mr. Speaker, if we have an Office of Accountability, which is resourced from the public purse, yet nobody except the Office of the President knows what that office does, I do not think that is good enough as a measure in combating corruption.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:40 a.m.
Speaker, my hon. Colleague used words which we thought were unparliamentary. He has withdrawn the words; he has said so. But he moved on to say that if we want to fight corruption then people should be prepared to accept such language. Mr. Speaker, so he has withdrawn through the front door and he wants to inject same through a window and I do not think that is acceptable.
Mr. Speaker, if he is withdrawing, he should withdraw it completely rather than come back to it. I do not think it is justifiable, under any circumstances. I believe he would take a cue and withdraw the entirety of that construction; I do not think it is acceptable. If he is withdrawing, he should please withdraw unconditionally and not inject it through the window.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, maybe, for purposes of emphasis let me assure hon. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu that I have withdrawn the words “self-serving Office of Accountability”, but I maintain my position that I am not personally satisfied with the performance of the Office of Accountability and that its reportage only to the Office of the President -- Indeed, Mr. Speaker, experts in the subject area of corruption have maintained that the only thing corruption fears is exposure and that we should make it a high-risk activity.
As I said, all governments are susceptible to corruption; its incidence and character vary from regime to regime. In some regimes it may be fraud, in other regimes it may be misappropriation and embezzlement; in other regimes it may be nepotism -- we have several of these. But Mr. Speaker, the essential issue is that corruption destroys families; it destroys things because resources which ought to be used for national development are often diverted into private personal pockets.
It is in this vein that I am commending the Executive for initiating a worthy legislation; there is no doubt about it that the Whistleblower Bill is a giant step in our collective quest to minimize corruption in this country. But I insist that it may not be enough when we do not have information disclosure legislation to back it; so it is important that we deal with it. But Mr. Speaker, I may want to refer to your Committee's report and wind up on this issue.
Mr. Speaker, for the Bill to be effective, at least even in jurisdictions where it has been tested, we must have a courageous and fearless cadre of citizen who would want to report official wrongdoing. But Mr. Speaker, the greatest fear of whistleblowers is fear of reprisals, unfair dismissals, transfers and even sometimes wrongful termination of employment.
Mr. Kojo Armah 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is saying that he has not seen anywhere in the legislation that there are precautions against wrongful termination and things of that nature. I want to advise that it is there; he should go and read it.
Mr. H. Iddrisu 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, rightly
so. I was just saying that the greatest fears of whistleblowers are those things. Essentially, if we say we have a legislation of whistleblowing, it has one essence; it is to protect public employees against those reprisals in the event of a report. I do recognize that. But Mr. Speaker, I was making reference to your Committee's report and there is an attempt by the Committee -- If you look at paragraph 9.1.1 of the Committee's report, it talks about the appropriateness or otherwise of the title of the Bill; and there is an attempt or a proposal by the Committee that the Short Title of the Bill be amended.
Mr. Speaker, I think that would not be too useful because “whistleblower” is a very familiar word and throughout every jurisdiction they use “whistleblower”. I do not see why somebody should suggest that we should say protection of persons of impropriety. Mr. Speaker, you know that in Ghana there is a popular expression, “alarm blow”. Everybody
knows that when somebody within a public entity blows an alarm about the conduct of a public official, it may lead to an investigation. The alarm is a whistle so “whistleblower”, in my view, can stand.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I think that
we are clothing the Attorney-General's office with too much powers as far as this Bill is concerned. Mr. Speaker, the Attorney-General is a human being like any other person and may himself be cut off. But if we report everything to the Attorney-General's office, we will not be strengthening and giving the other anti-corruption agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and even the Auditor-General's Office more powers. I think it is important that we reduce some of the powers that are being imposed on the Office of the Attorney-General.
But I think, finally, that there is no doubt that it is a worthy piece of legislation and that it would unite us in our collective efforts to minimize corruption and deepen the culture of accountability in our country because it is said that no matter how clandestine a corrupt action is, at least, one person would know of it and if that person is encouraged to report it, we may be able to deal with it.
With these comments, Mr. Speaker, I support the motion. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity.
Mr. Yaw Baah (NPP -- Kumawu) 11:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for offering me the opportunity to contribute to the motion before us.
We would all admit, and there is a general perception, that corruption is endemic; it has been institutionalized in our civil/ public services and whatnot and that for the past years, among the Acts that
have been passed to somehow eliminate, if not minimize this issue of corruption has been the Financial Administration Act, Internal Audit Act and that of Public Procurement Act. However, there appear to be some missing links and that there is the need -- Therefore, the passage or the consideration of this Bill with it being passed will also add weight to fighting this problem of corruption.
Mr. K. T. Hammond 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member is misleading the House. This whole aphorism of obiara nnye obiara, as he puts it, is wrong. Mr. Speaker, how can it be said that he is not he? What does that mean? I am I am, so what does he mean? So obiara ye obiara; you are you, so obiara ye obiara -- [Laughter.]
Mr. Yaw Baah noon
Mr. Speaker, if my
hon. learned Colleague had waited he would have had the import of my message rather than putting the cart before the horse. All that I am saying is that in this very society, depending on the size, the positions of people, it is not easy to make an effort where a wrongdoing is going on in any other area; one is not armed to tackle or confront the situation. Therefore, this is one of the Bills before us, just go
give weight, and the necessary protection for the poor and the vulnerable in the society to play the role expected of them. That is the meaning of what I am saying.

Mr. Speaker, the essence of this Bill before us is to once again inculcate in the Ghanaian that public-spiritness needed of us to move. Because if one of them took place, especially the period after independence where Ghanaian nation- alism was the order of the day, what do we see today? We have become so apathetic to issues that border on nationalism and therefore about anything that goes on that many a time we are less concerned.

When you compare us to the advanced countries where in a situation where there is something little going on -- like in a situation of outbreak of fire or anything of that sort where people are prepared -- you see about four, five people prepared to die to save a single person. What do we see among ourselves? We pay lip- service where the national spirit should be seen to be playing a role in our lives. The passage of this Bill, so far as I am concerned, would be giving the necessary protection to the various people who are very committed to the cause of being a Ghanaian.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at your Committee's report, there is one area which I would like to draw hon. Members' attention to, especially 9.1.3, that is the stakeholders, which this information could be passed on to. I think, as members of the Committee, majority of us, especially having listened to the various stakeholders, felt that the list is not exhaustive and that there was the need for us to capture non- governmental organizations (NGOs). But I beg to differ in this area because NGOs by the nature of their job, have been sniffing around everywhere and taking
Mr. Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo noon
Mr. Speaker, I just want to set the records straight because his reference to NGOs is to include giving the impression that they do not perform any meaningful role and it may not be necessary to include them.
This is very dangerous if this Bill is to pass through because civil society represented by non-governmental organizations and other development agencies are very critical in accepting this Bill; and this is in getting them informed as stakeholders so that we can have a collective approach to how the whistle can be blown where there is a problem. So definitely, they are very critical and we should not give the impression that this House does not see their importance as crucial to the passage of this Bill.
Mr. Yaw Baah noon
Mr. Speaker, if my
hon. Colleague heard me right, I said “some”, I did not say all NGOs. We all do appreciate their pivotal role in championing the cause before us but what I did admit was that some NGOs had become so militant and that there was the need for them to readdress themselves.
Mr. Speaker, on the issue as to some whistleblowers not doing so for their own personal gains or otherwise, I think there is an Akan saying that Obia oyan ahwan hwanea mpopa nensa kwa, that is, anyone that drinks, at least, take something out of it. What it seeks to do is to motivate the public so that nationalism will be given a real meaning, as we expect of every Ghanaian.
Mr. Speaker, the last area that I would like to touch on is the real heading, although much could be done during the Consideration Stage. But I believe I need to bring it to my hon. Colleagues' attention by making a fitting remark on it that many others, especially at the committee level agreed that there was the need to change the title “Whistleblower”. But remembering what took place when we went to Tamale in July last year, my good friend, one Ayuba, who came to me at Gariba Lodge told me, “Honourable, if this law had come into being I would not have lost my job”.
I asked him why and he asked “Oh, what can you do to help me so that the law takes retrospective effect so that I will be reinstated?” Because he had the evidence and everything. He told me just then he had gone for a whistle -- and to the layman it is the whistle that is of relevance to him. It is not necessary to try to use any other words; I think the word “Whistleblower” is quite captivating and universal that any ordinary person, once he blows the whistle, at least, or he has the opportunity of giving the slightest information rather than going about to make it “reporting of” -- as the Committee recommended, the disclosure of impropriety or any other
thing of that sort.
I think that as we say that the law does not lie in the bosom of the judge -- But after all, what is the law? The law is meant for public consumption and if we brought it to a level which is understandable to the ordinary man who may be in conflict with the law -- I feel that the term “Whistleblower” is very catchy and that should be the right title for this very Bill before us.
On this note, Mr. Speaker, I encourage my hon. Colleagues to vote massively for the adoption of this Bill.
Mr. Alfred K. Agbesi (NDC -- Ashaiman) noon
Mr. Speaker, when this Bill was laid before this House, I was wondering what translation, what name I should give to my people when I go to explain this Bill to them. Whistleblower, I thought about the meaning of whistleblower in my language. For instance, is it konkonsa? In Ewe I am tempted to say “amegorme ku la. That means somebody who digs behind something and blows it up.
This had occupied my mind because I had to explain this Bill to my people -- “Whistleblower” -- the only word that comes near to it, the popular one, Mr. Speaker, will be Konkonsa but that will be Akan or something. This is a Konkonsa Bill in a sense that we are giving legitimacy to konkonsa so that the Konkonsa cannot be punished, konkonsa cannot be victimized; you may be rewarded if you go to do konkonsa.
Mr. J. A. Ndebugre 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise
on a point of order. I sincerely believe that the hon. Member is misleading this House. Konkonsa has a negative connotation; that is passing information wilfully to
undermine the integrity of another person. Whistleblowing is a positive thing. So for him to say that the Whistleblower Bill is the same as Konkonsa Bill is totally out of place. I think that he is misleading the House and he ought to be stopped.
Mr. Agbesi 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thank him
for the correction. I am not a Twi man but I am trying to understand this Bill so that when I go to my constituency and my village I can explain it to them. The nearest thought that came to me is that word but I am told that is not the meaning. In Ewe I understand it to mean amegorme ku la and that is the word I will take to my constituency.
Mr. Speaker, I am so happy that this Bill
is going to be passed into law in the sense that, when I look at clauses 12 and 17 of the Bill, they give so much protection to the whistleblower. Mr. Speaker, we are living in a system where when you are about to do something which is good you would be thinking of the consequences, whether what you are going to do will warrant your victimization.
When this Bill is passed into law, it is going to protect the whistleblower, in the sense that he will not be victimized, in the sense that he will not be dismissed, in the sense that he will not be suspended or his employer will not take any action against him. I think that we should support this Bill because when the whistleblower is protected, then the corruption that we are thinking of eradicating from the system will be given meaning.
Mr. Speaker, if we go beyond the
workplace where the employer cannot victimize or punish the whistleblower, he is also protected under section 17 in which case the police and other authorities can protect him. These are the good aspects that I see, in the sense that the worker or the whistleblower now has protection and
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
on a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I think my hon. Colleague is misleading the House as to the exact mandate in the particular institution he was working. This is because no investigation leads to an apportionment of guilt. So I want to be sure whether immediately after investigation the person was guilty; and if he was guilty, why was he to be sent to court? So I would want him to correct the record, just in case he used the word “guilty” lightly.
Capt. Effah-Dartey (retd): Mr.
Speaker, I will not cross swords with my learned friend, my hon. Colleague on this particular expression. All I am saying is that we were doing investigations and our assignment was that if we investigated a matter and we realized that there was basis for going to court then we would send the person to court. If I used the word “guilty”
and he wants to interpret it in a legal sense, then Mr. Speaker, I want to withdraw it so that I do not cause controversy and deflect the purpose of my contribution to the debate.
Mr. Speaker, I am very happy about
the Whistleblower Bill and I would want to recommend it to my hon. Colleagues. There are people in our society who just want to destroy other people. They will get up and imagine all sorts of things and create a huge smoke as if there is chaos, as if the building is about to collapse but when you patiently go through the matter and you investigate, you will come to the conclusion that, in fact, there is nothing at all.
Meanwhile, somebody may have suffered terrible consequences; somebody may have been suspended or interdicted or his name would have been in the media, both print and electronic; and all over the world, people will be talking about him, but when you go into the matter, there will be nothing against him.
The purpose of this Bill, as I have understood it, is that if there is anybody in our country who has solid, reliable and cogent information about some misdoings, about certain wrong things going on in an organization, he should come out boldly and say it and then the law will protect him. In fact, if I may stretch it, it is even -- For those of us who are lawyers, we say truth is a defence to any charge of libel or defamation. If you come out and say that somebody has taken money when he is not supposed to take it and it is found out to be true, that blowing of the whistle in that organization will be protected by this Bill and that is what we want to do.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is a very good
Bill and I really call on my hon. Colleagues to support it. If we push this Bill and we make it work in our country, I believe that before anybody starts blowing the whistle
he will ask himself, “This whistle I am going to blow, is it a correct whistle or it is a phony whistle?” This is because if it turns out that it is a phony whistle, the person would be in big trouble; but if it is a good whistle, then the law protects the person and he will even get some reward.
So Mr. Speaker, I would not talk much.
I will just urge my hon. Colleagues to see that this Bill is a good and correct Bill and must support it massively. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor (NDC --
Lawra/Nandom): Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee, we have had the opportunity of looking at this Bill in some detail and I think that beyond the amendments and areas of concern that have been raised in the report, there are still a number of areas that need a lot of cross-checking and unpacking to be sure it is consistent with existing law. I would just draw attention to about one or two of those areas.
When you see the entire tenet of the Bill, when the whistle is blown on a subject matter we define as impropriety, the first thing that comes to mind is that the person is about committing a crime or is likely to commit a crime. That clearly shows that when you investigate such a matter, the investigation is focusing on the crime and when that is established the charge can properly be preferred.
Beyond tha t , the re a re o the r improprieties that I have tried to find out whether there is a criminal equivalent of them in our Criminal Code and I do not find -- Yes, one can see that if you are not too careful about the choice of words you might focus your investigations on a matter only to finish and find out that you cannot base a charge on it because there is
no essential ingredient of a cognate crime under which you can charge someone. And I think that clause 1 should be reworked. If we want to deal with corruption, bribery and other things, then we should use those words that are known in our criminal law so that the basis of the investigation is more informed.

The second concern that I have is the purport of trying to treat any finding from the Commission on Human Rights arising from this Bill as a judgment of a court. I doubt very much, Mr. Speaker, whether by this, the Human Rights Commission's powers and functions that are in the Constitution and amplified in the Act, we are actually not confirming non-existent constitutional powers on the Human Rights Commission which can open us to a lot of constitutional questions.

So we mus t c ros s -check ou r constitutional provisions and find out whether by this additional power or statutes of the ruling of the Human Rights Commission and lifting it up to the level of judgment of a court is constitutionally sound.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the issue as to

the very notion of a whistleblower was introduced by the hon. Member for Ashaiman (Mr. Agbesi), and it seems to have been presented only on a lighter side.

My view basically is that any law that you pass, regardless of how many jurisdictions have a similar law, that law will have to be implemented in a completely different social context. And the social context in Ghana, our familiar relationships, the context and how we view people who blow whistles possibly on their own relatives and social ostracisation -- We need to be very careful about the social milieu into which we are locating
Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.

this law, so that a whistleblower in the United States of America who is seen as a patriotic citizen and perhaps in the United Kingdom might even be knighted in the future; in Ghana our society would condemn that person for the rest of his life and he might be ostracised.

It is actually in this context, Mr. Speaker, that I thought a public education clause is very, very important in a Bill of this nature and as one of the functions of some of the institutions that would be involved in implementing it so that we distance the pejorative possible meaning of whistleblower, given the Ghanaian social reality. I think that we need to look at this thing and not just say that the idea that it is being referred to as Konkonsa Bill automatically is one that is not pejorative. I can say that until recently there has been a very popular radio programme called konkonsa; the very notion of konkonsa was very pejorative, at least even for those of us who do not understand its Akan import.

So Mr. Speaker, we need a lot of unpacking and I think that there are a number of more fundamental issues that were raised at the committee level and at the appropriate stage we would see what amendments we can bring in to try and straighten this Bill, given its own importance.

I want to underscore the import that, we initially had themes and seminars on the Freedom of Information Bill even before the Whistleblower Bill. Now that the Whistleblower Bill has taken the lead to Parliament, the Attorney-General's Department must, as a matter of urgency, make it possible for these two Bills to follow each other closely because as the hon. Member for Tamale Central (Mr. Haruna Iddrisu) said, we are unlikely to get any pay-off from a whistleblower legislation devoid of a Freedom of Information Bill, particularly when
Mr. John Ndebugre (PNC -- Zebilla) 12:20 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I just want to raise two points.
As a member of the Committee, some matters came up but they could not have all been contained in the report. But one important matter that came up was the role assigned to the Attorney-General in the Bill. There are too many powers given to the Attorney-General in the Bill. Clause 3 mentioned the Attorney-General as one of the persons to whom disclosure of impropriety may be made. Then clause 7 says that where a disclosure is made to a person specified under section 3 other
than the Attorney-General the person shall submit a copy of the written disclosure to the Attorney-General within five days of receipt of the disclosure.
Then clause 8 enjoins a person to whom a disclosure has been made to refer the recorded disclosure to the Attorney- General or another body as directed by the Attorney-General for investigation. It also empowers the Attorney-General to, on receipt of a copy of a written disclosure, cause an investigation to be conducted, not even in compulsive terms, but the Attorney-General may on receipt of the copy of a written disclosure cause investigation to be conducted into the disclosure.
Clause 10 also enjoins a report to be
submitted to the Attorney-General for directive immediately the investigation is completed. Clause 11 gives wide powers to the Attorney-General on receipt of a report of a disclosure. He can take one of the following steps: He can accept the recommendation contained in the report and act on it or he can ask for further investigation by the same person or institution that conducted the investigation or some other person or institution, or he may reject the report and the recommendation for stated reasons and so on.
Mr. Speaker, I am raising this issue
because the Attorney-General also, by article 88 of our Constitution, is the principle legal advisor to the Government. So imagine all the departments that are operating under the Executive and members of which may be involved in impropriety and we give all these powers to the Attorney-General in our situation where the position of the Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice are fused, then it appears to me that in implementing the
Bill, when it has become law, we may run into some problems.
In some jurisdictions there is separation between the Minister for Justice and the Attorney-General. In those jurisdictions these problems may not be so accentuated. Also, in some other jurisdictions there is a special authority created for this kind of investigation. But in our case, article 88 has given all powers connected with legal matters -- criminal and civil -- connected with the Republic to the Attorney-General and one wonders whether when the Attorney-General is sympathetic with a person upon whom a whistle has been blown he may not undermine the efficacy of this law when it has become law. That is one point.
The other point I would want to raise is the dichotomy between the Bill being seen in altruistic terms as opposed to terms of reward. In one breath the Bill is trying to depend on the public spiritedness of the citizens of the country and in another breath it is trying to reward people who blow the whistle. There is some dichotomy there and that is reflected in the report of the Committee and it requires us to give a deeper thought to it and see how we can sort out these matters.
With these few comments, Mr. Speaker, I recommend the Bill for the support of my hon. Colleagues.
Mr. Raymond A. Tawiah (NDC
-- Yilo Krobo): Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the motion. I support this Bill and I believe it is going to help us to stem corruption which is very, very endemic and systemic in our society. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that despite what the critics are saying that there is corruption in this country, there are facts available by the Transparency International and other
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
On a point
of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague has made two statements which I find very incongruous. He talks about the existence of corruption. He says: “Regardless of what the critics say, there is corruption”. Mr. Speaker, nobody in this country has said that there is no corruption; nobody has said that. So that is misleading.
The second thing is the example that
he cited -- potholes on the roads. Mr. Speaker, I fail to see the link between the existence of potholes on the streets and corruption. He must establish that link for him to make the point that he is making. But merely saying that there are potholes on our roads and streets and so there is corruption, I do not think the point is well made. Maybe, he wants to establish something. I appreciate where he is coming from, but he must make the point.
As it is, it is hanging and anybody who reads the Official Report will not capture the sense in what he has in mind. So let him come out forthrightly.
Mr. Tawiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, let me
explain this to my hon. Colleague opposite. If I say “potholes on our roads”, what I am trying to say is that monies are given to
contractors to build the roads and some percentages are taken and then the money left is not enough to make good roads, so within a short period, we see potholes. That is exactly what I am trying to say. So we need the whistleblower to blow the whistle.
Mr. Speaker, the academicians have
Mr. K. T. Hammond 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
this is a point of information which I think he will be very interested in, so maybe he will grant me the floor.
Mr. Speaker, he is right about that, on the potholes and on the culverts that are done on the road. Mr. Speaker, you go to Adansi district, New Edubiase to be very specific, and the hon. Member for New Edubiase will testify to that. Mr. Speaker, about four culverts in the town, apparently what they did was that instead of putting cement and all the concrete and all that in there, they decided to use this metal thing and put in cement, and then they collected the money -- [Interruption] -- Of course, an NDC contractor -- [Interrup-tion] -- I do not know about NDC contractor, but it was during the time of the NDC.
Mr. Speaker, so if he talks about people collecting money and all that, then there is a relationship between that and the corruption. That is what happened in their regime and that is what happened in my district. Mr. Speaker, so he is right, he has got a point.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
So hon. Member, then you have no point of order. Let him continue.
Mr. Tawiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I mentioned
the petite corruption and the grand corruption which my lecturer referred to as conspicuous and cathartic and which is found in high places --
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
Speaker, as I indicated earlier, I appreciate the point that my hon. Colleague is making, but he makes certain unsubstantiated allegations. He says that contracts are awarded and percentages are collected from the contractors, and that explains why they do not do a good job on the roads. Mr. Speaker, would the hon. Member be kind enough to prove the allegation that he has made? Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious allegation. If my hon. Colleague had said that it is a perception, that will be something else; but he says that we all know that percentages are collected from contractors. Mr. Speaker, that is a very serious statement and he must provide evidence.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Majority Chief
Whip, he has not accused anybody, he is just making a general allegation. He has not accused anybody so let him continue.
Mr. Tawiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, to help my
hon. Colleague opposite, just recently a chairman of a political party admitted that some kickbacks are sent to some high places.
Mr. Speaker, just this morning, I heard
on radio that a presidential aspirant took a plane to the Northern Region to go -- [Interruption] -- and campaign for his presidential primaries. If it is true, Mr. Speaker, this is serious. It is corruption at the highest level and it must not be encouraged.
Mr. Opare-Hammond 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. In fact, my hon.
Colleague on the other side is making some wild allegations on this floor -- very serious allegations.
Mr. Speaker, if he cannot substantiate this -- we do not use media speculations as facts on the floor of this House and so I want to ask that he withdraws and comes back with evidence. Mr. Speaker, this is my point. More so, the person he is talking about is not in this House to be able to defend himself.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to ask that you ask him to withdraw that aspect of his statement and apologise to this House.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Hon. Member for Yilo
Krobo (Mr. Tawiah), please refrain from making allegations at this stage, please.
Mr. Tawiah 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, these are allegations and some of them were reported in the papers.
Mr. Speaker, in supporting the Bill, I will also add my voice to that of my hon. Colleague who contributed earlier, that we must be very cautious with the Whistleblower Bill because if we are not careful some people may abuse it and then make false and unnecessary allegations against others. So we should be cautious and add some clauses to make people who have something against perceived enemies not to make false allegations against them.
Mr. Speaker, on this note, I support the motion.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu (NPP -- Ahafo Ano South) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, at long last, the Whistleblower Bill is home with us.
Mr. Speaker, I have gone through the Bill and much as I appreciate the efforts of this regime to fight corruption, and pragmatically coming up with this Bill to prove it, I have some reservations.
Mr. Osei-Prempeh 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is talking from a wrong premise. Mr. Speaker, the law protects the whistleblower and his identity from being revealed by the one who receives the information. Anyone who does that will be punished. That is the essence of it and that is the departure from the present system where somebody reports and his identity is revealed and he gets the backlash. In this law, if someone makes a report, his identity can be kept and anybody who reveals it faces the law.
Mr. Manu 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have read that much in the law; it is on paper. Even as we speak today, it is known that the name of anybody who reports a criminal should not be disclosed but it happens and people have died; people have been maimed for these things. The fact that it is in the law does not mean it cannot be done.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Hon. Member for Lawra/
Dr. Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that
my hon. Colleague is not only making very alarming statements but he is addressing issues to very sensitive institutions in this country. Unless he can give just one instance of somebody who has reported a criminal conduct to the police and the police have in turn leaked his identity, I think he should be more general on finger- pointing to particular institutions; this is a very, very important matter.
Mr. Manu 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, what I said and what is being played to the gallery is this, that it is alleged that the reason for which people do not report criminals -- then I went on. It is “alleged”, and I hope that is understood. Mr. Speaker, what I am saying is that if we are not careful this Bill will come out and people will in their ecstasy of exposing criminals, crime and corruption leak names to certain sources, and these sources may leak back their names to the perpetrators or the potential perpetrators of crime and before they can be apprehended and prosecuted, as provided in the law, the person would have been killed.
So my fear is that we must ensure practically that the whistleblower is seriously protected not only on paper as we have seen. It can be on paper but practically it may not work.; this is where my fear is. And with this I support the passage of the Bill into law.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga (NDC -- Bawku Central) 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, it is important to note that the Whistleblower Bill is not only about corruption. There is the tendency to overemphasize the role that it could play in fighting corruption. Clearly, by some stretch of definition we can include everything under the ambit of corruption. But the whistleblowers legislation clearly is to address issues beyond corruption -- improprieties, mismanagement and almost every official conduct that endangers public safety, that endangers the public purse and that will

endanger the resources of this country. So inasmuch as corruption is an issue that we believe the whistleblower legislation can address, this particular legislation goes beyond corruption, to all acts of impropriety.

Mr. Speaker, in that regard we must say that it is commendable that we now have the Whistleblower Bill before the House so that we can play our role in fast tracking it so that we have a legislation. I think it is important for us to have had a freedom of information legislation before a whistleblower legislation. But be that as it may, we now have a whistleblower legislation and hopefully we will have a freedom of information legislation.

The Bill broadly seeks to do something that previous legislations have not done in relation to information. First of all, it is to protect those who disclose information, and secondly, to incentivize those who disclose information. In the area of incentivization it does two things. Firstly, it provides incentives, through providing some potential remuneration, to whoever discloses information. But secondly, and more importantly in my opinion, is the fact that it provides a guarantee that when one discloses information, that information would be acted upon; for me that is more important because many people lose sight of that.

There are many citizens who are willing to disclose information about acts of impropriety but there is no guarantee that when they disclose that information it will be acted upon. We may depend on the good faith of public officers but that is not enough. We now have a legislation that will provide people with a guarantee that the information that they have disclosed will be acted upon; and if it is not acted upon then they will be provided with reasons why it has not been acted upon; and an institutional framework is

being provided for them to compel public officers to act upon the information that they have provided.

This is important because there is no doubt -- and excuse me to say this -- that there is a tendency -- The very nature of our society is such that among public officers they know each other; there are all these relationships -- school mates, old boys, tribal, religious -- So sometimes people provide information and for one of these reasons some public officers may sit on the information and prevent it from being acted upon.

But when we have a legislation that guarantees that that information is acted upon, I think that it will help us move a step forward in our fight against corruption, impropriety and mismanage-ment. Mr. Speaker, I believe that at the appropriate time we will deal with the specific provisions of the Bill and how some of them might need to be re-fashioned to address the issues.

But on a broader and general note, let me indicate that we realize that society is divided broadly into two sections -- the public and the private sector; and we know that the government machinery or what we call the public sector is the largest in this country in terms of offices, et cetera. The private sector is also emerging as a major actor but this is a legislation that seeks to deal with corruption, mismanagement and all acts of malfeasance across board; and the question is, which institution is the most effective in dealing with the issues? Should it be the Office of the Attorney-General or should it be the Office of the Human Rights Commission or should it be some other independent institution that will be in a better position to act upon information and guarantee that the provisions of this legislation are implemented?

I ask this because we all know that under our constitutional arrangement the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is the principal Government Adviser and Legal Officer; and so there are issues about whether or not he will be the best person to implement this legislation as it applies to public officers in the public sector.

There are some who hold the view that it will be more effective if some of the responsibilities here are shared between the Office of the Attorney- General and the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, because looking at the constitutional arrangement the Human Rights Commissioner is in a more independent position to implement some of these legislative provisions, irrespective of whether or not the person is a public officer or the person is in the private sector.

So Mr. Speaker, I believe that at the appropriate time specific provisions of this legislation will be addressed at the Consideration Stage, but these are the broad institutional issues that we, as a House, must consider. There is no doubt that having this legislation is a step in the right direction and that it will be very effective in assisting us to fight corruption.

But let us also admit that this is not the end and that until we have a legislation that guarantees people access to information, having a legislation that protects people when they have that information will not be as effective as it ought to have been. We must have a legislation that guarantees people access to information.

What we are proposing now is a legislation that protects people if they manage to have access to the information, and I do not think that that is effective enough and shows enough good faith in the fight against corruption, malfeasance and mismanagement in this country.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Member for Bole
Bamboi, and then the hon. Attorney- General may wind up.
Mr. John D. Mahama (NDC -- Bole/
Bamboi): Mr. Speaker, like the hon. Member for Ahafo Ano South (Mr. Balado Manu) said, I also want to say that we are all happy that this piece of legislation has finally arrived in this House. Work on the Whistleblower Bill started as far back as 1997 when the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) started holding roundtable conferences to discuss a Whistleblower Bill.
Mr. Speaker, essentially, by the year 2000 work on this Bill had come almost to a close and we had the beginnings of a draft Bill. Mr. Speaker, why it has taken six whole years after 2000 for that draft Bill to arrive in this House, I find it very difficult to fathom. But be that as it may, we are pleased that finally this Bill has arrived.
Mr. Speaker, I have gone on record
to have said that laws in themselves are not enough to stem corruption. If we pass the appropriate legislation, we require the political will and leadership to implement that legislation in order to achieve the objective for which we passed the legislation.
Mr. Speaker, this House has passed
various Bills and Acts that are meant to stem corruption and malfeasance. It is this very House that passed the Financial Administration Regulations; it is this very House that passed the Public Procurement Bill. But I can say that as we stand here today, there are documented instances where these Acts have been flouted without any sanctions being imposed on the persons who have flouted these Acts.
If the political will to root out corruption
does not exist, these laws are going to be meaningless statutes on our books that are useless in being implemented to achieve the objectives for which we passed the Bills. Therefore, in addition to the fact that we would pass this Bill, I want to call on the Government to develop the political will to actually implement these laws, and that anybody who goes against these laws is appropriately punished so that it serves as a deterrent for others who would wish to take the country for a ride.
Mr. Speaker, so far I do not see that
that kind of political will has been demonstrated. “Zero tolerance” is becoming an increasingly empty concept and until Government sits up, it would just be a cliché that we will continue to use without any real meaning.
Mr. Speaker, I think that these laws
that we are passing, including the Whistleblower Bill, should be done in the context of a comprehensive reform and strengthening of certain institutions in order that we can get the full benefit of these laws.
Mr. Speaker, I think that as we pass
the Whistleblower Bill, we must also at the same time look at issues that would strengthen institutions like the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). At the time that the SFO Bill was introduced in this House, there was so much consternation on the side of the political opposition that that Act or that office was going to be used as a tool for persecuting the opposition. But Mr. Speaker, several years on, I think that the time has come for us to look at the SFO law again.
As a result of the fear of political
persecution, the law governing the SFO was so watered down as to erode most of its powers. It can hardly do anything
without the dictates of the Attorney- General and I think that the time has come for us to look at that law again and see if we cannot give some teeth -- [Interrup-tions.] Mr. Speaker, we are not afraid that it would be used as a tool against us. We are strong in the fight against corruption and we believe that if the SFO is strengthened it will help that fight against corruption.
Mr. Speaker, I suggest -- and I am happy the Attorney-General is here -- that we look at the SFO and see if we can give that organisation some more teeth in the fight against corruption. I also think that rather than paying lip-service to the strengthening of the CHRAJ we must also look at that institution again and see how we can strengthen that institution, especially in the role that it can play in terms of protecting people who take advantage of the Whistleblower Bill, and also in the sense of carrying out investigations against public officers who are seen to have abused their office.
Mr. Speaker, lastly and finally, I
also wish to say that we must look at the Whistleblower Bill and all the laws that we are passing in the fight against corruption, against the issue of our assets declaration regime. Mr. Speaker, the assets declaration regime has become meaningless. Every end-of-term, we are asked to file assets declaration forms; every beginning of the term of office of Parliament or the Executive we are asked to file assets declaration forms. We fill these assets declaration forms, they are lodged in the vaults of the Auditor-General and there is no access to it by the public; and so nobody can verify whether the information we have indicated in these assets declaration documents are verifiable or not -- whether they are authentic, true or not.
I think that the time has come, several
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, these are some of the few

suggestions I wish to make and I hope that my hon. Colleagues are not uncomfortable with these suggestions; the way the hon. Majority Chief Whip is staring at me, he does not seem to be too comfortable with what I am saying. But Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I want to thank you for the opportunity.

Majority Chief whip (Mr. Osei

Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu): Mr. Speaker, what my hon. Colleague just said, I know it has gone into our records -- that I am staring at him and that I am not feeling very comfortable. Mr. Speaker, I feel very comfortable. My hon. Colleague will remember that when we were dealing with the Assets Declaration Bill when we came to reconsider it, I proposed an amendment that apart from the assets that he is talking about we include spouses and children but the regime at the time refused; it was vehemently opposed on this floor.
Mr. Speaker 12:50 p.m.
Hon. Majority Chief
Whip, whatever it is, there is no point of order here.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, with respect, it is very important because tomorrow somebody may pick up the Hansard and it may suggest that I was uncomfortable, as my hon. Colleague just said. I am very comfortable, we made suggestions and they rather refused to accept them.
Mr. Joe Ghartey 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that I will start off from where the last hon. Member who just spoke (Mr. John Mahama), ended; on the question of comfort.
I wish to assure him that as a Government, we are very comfortable in our fight against corruption and that the principles and dictates of “zero tolerance for corruption” have not changed; and that as the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, I will exercise my powers under article 88 (3) of the Constitution without fear or favour or ill-will towards any person. I will not hesitate to initiate criminal proceedings when the need arises -- [Interruptions] -- unfortunately even against my very dear friend, hon. John Mahama. But I know by God's grace, the need will not arise [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to
thank my hon. Colleagues for their very useful comments and I am sure that the Committee and this House will take all of them into consideration when it comes to the Consideration Stage. But I would just like to touch on a few matters.

First of all I would like to come out briefly on the part of the Attorney-General. Under this Bill, the Attorney-General wields more power than he is given under article 88 of the Constitution. Mr. Speaker, article 88 of the Constitution is an entrenched clause. I am saying this not because today I occupy the position
Dr. Kunbuor 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Good Friend, the Attorney-General is misleading the House on this point. The essence of the argument on the powers of the Attorney- General under this Bill is that it is first and foremost the recipient of a complaint; it is the investigator of a complaint, and it is the one that decides to prosecute in the complaint based on one piece of legislation.
It is not about the general powers of the Attorney-General but the fact that he is one of those who receive it, he is the one that initiates the investigation, and he is the one that decides whether he should prosecute. We think that they should try and separate some of these and let other institutions deal with it. That is the import of the argument but not to say that there are exceptionally very extreme powers that are unconstitutional.
Mr. Ghartey 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, indeed, as
my hon. Colleague who just spoke made clear -- He is my very good friend; most of the time I agree with him and most of the time what he says is correct. But in fact, Mr. Speaker, today my hon. Friend, Dr. Benjamin Kunbuor has completely failed. [Laughter.] He has not looked at clause 3 of the Bill because clause 3 of the Bill does not make it only the Attorney-General's preserve to receive the complaints. In fact, he can also receive the complaints, as a Member of Parliament -- [Interruption] -- Mr. Speaker, so as I was saying -- Unfortunately, my opinion
Mr. Yieleh Chireh 1 p.m.
On a point of
order. Mr. Speaker, the Attorney-General is saying that article 88 of the Constitution is an entrenched clause. I have looked at the provision and it is not one of them.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Attorney-General, please continue.
Mr. Ghartey 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, the point was also made that the powers of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) should be enhanced. Mr. Speaker, I have no objection to the powers of the CHRAJ being enhanced but I just want to point out to those who made that comment that indeed this Bill seeks to enhance the powers of CHRAJ.
Indeed, unlike the decisions that CHRAJ gives under its enabling Act now, which has to go to court to be enforced, it said that decisions given by CHRAJ under the Whistleblower Act has the force and effect of a judgment; and it is said that this is in addition to the powers it has under its enabling enactment. Therefore, this Bill enhances the powers of CHRAJ more than what is provided for under the enabling Act.
Mr. Speaker, there has also been some talk and concern about the Freedom of Information Bill and people have said that to pass this Bill without the Freedom of Information Bill gives it no effect at all. I beg to differ that this Bill cannot exist unless the Freedom of Information Bill is a necessary precondition. Suffice it to say that the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill is very consistent with the legislative agenda of this Government to ensure an effective and efficient anti- corruption legal framework for Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] I have talked about ecstasy
Mr. Ayariga 1 p.m.
On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister for Justice and Attorney-General is misleading this House. Mr. Speaker, nobody said that a freedom of information legislation is a necessary precondition.
We simply made the point that indeed a real commitment to fighting corruption will start with putting in place a legislation that will enable you access the information and then subsequently you have a legislation that protects the information that you have accessed; but to jump to protecting the information when you do not have the right to access that information does not show a real commitment to fighting corruption. Mr. Speaker, that is the point that we have been making.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Attorney-
General and Minister for Justice, you may continue.
Mr. Ghartey 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, with respect I will prefer not to comment on that; but I think that my understanding of “pre-condition” is a little different from his. Mr. Speaker, I will come to ecstasy. The concern was also raised that -- Somewhat it started with “Konkonsa Bill” and so on; that the very nature of this Bill would let a lot of people joyously line up to report other people for reasons other than genuine reasons. It is a concern that I think is well made, but I wish to use this opportunity to advise all those who are gleefully looking to say things that are not true about other people, without basis, to exercise some caution because this Bill does not protect them unless their information is not based on malice. It does not protect them when their information is based on falsehoods; so I advise those who are waiting for Parliament to pass this Bill so that they can line up and say untruths, to restrain themselves.
Mr. Speaker, a point was also made about the social context; that point is well noted and I believe that at the appropriate time there should be education on this Bill.
I end by saying that my hon. Colleague who said that article 88 is not an entrenched clause -- I believe he is in the Law School now and I have no hesitation to learn from my juniors or people who have not even passed as lawyers, but I wonder whether in the Law School he uses the same Constitution that I use -- [Laughter] -- Because article 290 of the Constitution says that these articles are entrenched provisions; and it talks about the Executive -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Hon. Attorney-
General, you are only winding up, so you do not need to refer to that.
Mr. Ghartey 1 p.m.
He is wrong. He is totally and completely wrong. Mr. Speaker, I have been advised to ignore him because he is not yet a lawyer.
With these few words, I urge hon. Members to vote for the Bill.
Question put and motion agreed to.
The Whistleblower Bill was accordingly
read a Second time.
Mr. Speaker 1 p.m.
Item 6 -- Committee Sittings. Leadership --
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 1 p.m.
Speaker, we have gone through the transaction of Business slated for the day and there are two committees slated for meeting today. In the circumstance may I move that this House do now adjourn until tomorrow at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr. Lee Ocran 1 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.