Debates of 1 Jun 2007

PRAYERS 10 a.m.


Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
Order! Order! correction of Votes and Proceedings, Thursday, 31st May, 2007. Pages 1 . . . 11 [No correction was made in the “Votes and Proceedings”.]
Hon. Members, we have the Official Report for Thursday, 24th May, 2007 --
Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I thought yesterday there was Appointments Committee meeting and no record -- [Pause.]
Mr. Speaker 10 a.m.
We need to make the necessary correction.
Item 3 -- Business Statement for the Fourth Week; Chairman, Business

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs/ Majority Leader (Mr. F. K. Owusu- Adjapong) 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Business Committee met yesterday Thursday, 31st May, 2007 and arranged Business of the House for the Fourth Week ending Friday, 8th June, 2007.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10 a.m.
Arrangement of Business
Mr. Speaker, the Committee has scheduled five (5) Ministers to respond to various Questions and Urgent Questions.
The details are as follows:
No. of
i. Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment 6
ii. Minister for the Interior 5
iii. Minister for Transportation 5
iv. Minister for Energy 7
Total No. of Questions 23 Urgent Question(s)
Mr. Speaker, three (3) Urgent Questions have also been programmed for the week. The
Mr. Speaker, the Committee presents its report to this honourable House as follows 10 a.m.
Questioners and the respective Ministers are as follows:
Members to ask Questions -- Ministers to respond to Questions
i. Mr. Raymond A. Tawiah (Yilo Krobo) -- Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment
ii. Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan (Mion) -- Minister for Food and Agriculture
iii. Mr. George Kuntu-Blankson (Mfantseman East) -- Minister for Transportation Mr. Speaker, in all, twenty-three (23) Questions and three Urgent Questions have been
scheduled to be answered.
Mr. Speaker may allow Statements
which have been admitted to be made in the House.
Bills, Papers and Reports
Mr. Speaker, Bills, Papers and Reports may be presented to the House for consideration and other businesses which have already been presented to the House would also be considered.
Motions and Resolutions
Mr. Speaker, a half-hour Motion has been scheduled for Friday, 8th June 2007. Other Motions may be debated and the appropriate Resolutions taken where required.
Committee of the Whole
Mr. Speaker, a Committee of the Whole meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, 5th June 2007. The Business Committee therefore wishes to inform all committees that due to the said meeting, no other committee meetings should be programmed for that day.
Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 160 (2) and subject to Standing Order 53, the Committee submits to this honourable House the order in which the Business of the House shall be taken during the week.

Urgent Question --
Mr. Raymond A. Tawiah (Yilo Krobo) 10 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Environment what factors have prevented the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Yilo Krobo from releasing the 2005 HIPC fund to the hon. Member of Parliament to enable him undertake development projects in the area.
Questions --
Minister for Local Government, R u r a l D e v e l o p m e n t a n d Environment -- 759, 761, 762,
814, 821 and 822.
Laying of Papers --
Report of the Committee on Educa t ion on the Na t iona l Accreditation Board Bill.
Committee Sittings --
Committee of the Whole.

Urgent Question --
Dr. Ahmed Yakubu Alhassan (Mion) 10 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Food and Agriculture what steps the Ministry is taking to ensure that the outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) does not become a national pandemic following the discovery of the virus in Tema and Sunyani.
Questions --
Minister for the Interior -- 861, 932, 933, 934 and 951.
Consideration Stage of Bills --
Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill.
Committee Sittings.

Urgent Question --
Mr. George Kuntu-Blankson (Mfantseman East) 10 a.m.
To ask the Minister for Transportation when will a new bridge over River Ochie be constructed to replace the old one so as to link Ekumfi Emissam and Suprudo.
Questions --
Minister for Transportation -- 604, 645, 646, 647 and 648.

Second Reading of Bills --

National Accreditation Board Bill.

Committee Sittings.

Questions --

Minister for Energy -- 693, 694, 695, 696, 697, 723 and 724.

Motions --

Third Reading of Bills --

T r a n s f e r o f Convicted Persons Bill.

Half-hour Motion --

That this honourable House notes with concern the current energy crisis and urges Government to adopt an effective programme to address the problem urgently:

(Alhaji Amadu B. Sorogho)

(Mr. Haruna Iddrisu)

(Dr. Kwame Ampofo)

Committee Sittings.
Mr. Mahama Ayariga 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have looked closely at the Business Statement and what strikes me is the decision to schedule the half-hour motion for Friday, 8th June 2007. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that the current energy crisis -- a similar events which was described several years ago by a friend on the other side as “energy disaster” -- is
an important national issue and we seek to create an opportunity for this House to debate it. And if you look at Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, it does not seem to me that this House would be very engaged and so I do not appreciate why we need to move the debate on the half-hour motion to Friday.
Mr. Speaker, I urge that we amend this Business Statement so that the half-hour motion is moved either on Tuesday or Wednesday so that we can debate it at the earliest opportunity instead of shifting it to Friday. Mr. Speaker, this is a very important matter and as you are aware, this programme is clearly not loaded and so it is difficult to appreciate why it is going to Friday.
Mr. Speaker, I urge that we amend the Business Statement and move the half- hour motion to Tuesday or Wednesday.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Bawku Central, this is coming from your own Business Committee so why do you not take it up again with the Leadership? This is coming from the Business Committee of the House. Why do you not raise it with the Leadership?
Mr. Ayariga 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, this is the first opportunity I have to read this and that is why I am raising it here.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Please, take it up with the Leadership.
Mr. Ayariga 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I take a cue that Leadership should review this Business Statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Please, take it up with them. Hon. Member for Ashaiman?
Mr. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was going to refer you to the Official Report of 24th May in which there was an assurance from the Deputy Majority Leader that the matter raised by my hon. Colleague was going to be taken this week Wednesday yet for the whole of the week it never came up. Mr. Speaker, because some importance was attached to the matter that is why it was to be taken this week Wednesday -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Are you raising the
same matter raised by the hon. Member for Bawku Central?
Mr. Agbesi 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, yes.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Item 4 -- Questions -- Minister for Health. Majority Leader?
Mr. Owusu-Adjapong 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to crave your indulgence to allow the hon. Deputy Minister for Health and Member of Parliament for Efutu to stand in, on behalf of his hon. Minister who has to attend Cabinet meeting this morning.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Deputy Minister

Alhaj i Muntaka Mohammed
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Asawase, are you asking a Question on --
Alhaji Muntaka 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I am
on a point of order against the calling of the hon. Deputy Minister for Health to Answer the Question.
Mr. Speaker 10:10 a.m.
I have already granted him the permission.


Mr. Owusu-Mainu 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
in the hon. Minister's Answer, he has identified the need to provide a mortuary for Atebubu District Hospital as a priority. This means that they will be considered for inclusion in the Ministry's 2008/9 capital investments Budget. Will the Ministry consider providing the hospital with a container with a cooling system to be used temporarily?
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the question as to whether we can provide the container facility for a mortuary -- That is what the question is about. I would have to consult with our investment unit to see if it is possible to the provide the container. But apart from the container, the mortuary equipment itself is expensive and we have to have some in stock before we can even buy the container.
Techiman Holy Family Hospital (Nursing Training College)
Q. 897. Mr. Alex Kyeremeh asked the Minister for Health whether the Ministry has any plans to establish a Nursing Training College for the Techiman Holy Family Hospital.
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Techiman Holy Family Hospital is a mission hospital under Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG). The Ministry only collaborates with such hospitals for the running of health training institutions upon request by the hospital. Currently, the Ministry has no such proposal from the hospital for the establishment of a training school.
However, if the request is made by the hospital authorities, the Ministry will conduct a feasibility study for possible consideration.
Nonetheless, there are two (2) nursing training colleges and one (1) community health nursing training school as well as the Kintampo School Complex in the Brong Ahafo Region alone. The Ministry also has plans to begin the Health Assistants Training Programme in Sunyani in addition to these training institutions.
Mr. Emmanuel K. Bandua (on behalf of Mr. Wisdom Gidisu) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to withdraw Question 920 since an ambulance has been provided for the hospital.
Worawora Hospital (The Nursing Training School)
Q. 969. Mr. Emmanuel Kwasi Bandua asked the Minister for Health what plans the Ministry had to reopen the Nursing Training School of the Worawora hospital.
Mr. Owusu Agyei 10:20 a.m.
The Worawora Training School before its closure was an Enrolled Nursing School. It was closed down because the enrolled nursing programme phased out in the 1990s.
Beginning from year 2008, the Ministry will introduce the Health Assistants Programme, a lower level cadre professional programme to replace the enrolled nursing programme as a way of supporting the health professions in the hospitals.
Consequently, the Worawora Training School will be reopened as a Health Assistants Training School. This will begin with the training of tutors and refurbishment of the existing structures.
Mr. Bandua 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, since the new institution will use the facilities of the
Mr. Bandua 10:20 a.m.

defunct nursing training school, I want to find out from the hon. Minister if he can brief us about the state of the facility of the defunct nursing training school.
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have been to the school before, about two years ago. Currently, I do not think it is functioning, as I have already said. We will send our investment people there to see the state of affairs and how much it will take to revamp the school when the need arises.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
in the Deputy Minister's Answer, he indicated that within 2008, the Ministry will introduce the Health Assistants Programme. And he states again that consequently, the Worawora Training School will be reopened. When exactly in 2008 is the school going to be reopened?
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think he wants to find out what exactly will be done in the school in 2008. We are saying that they are going to introduce the Health Assistants Programme in 2008. Normally, the introduction of any academic programme begins from the beginning of the academic year, September -- October, 2008.
Mr. Bandua 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, since the Minister is now going to find out the state of the existing structures of the defunct school, I want to find out from him when exactly the structures will be refurbished and the tutors trained to enable them start the programme in 2008.
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, normally before any school is opened or reopened -- in this particular case there was a closure; we definitely have to go there, assess the state of infrastructure at the school before the reopening. And if we are talking about the situation where the reopening will be done by July or
September, next year, then any moment from now, that is, as part of this year's budget, we should see to revamping the school for reopening next year.
Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my question is, when setting up these health facilities including this Health Assistants training programme, what criteria serve as a guide in setting them up, taking into consideration the fact that there are about one hundred and thirty districts and that some of these districts do not have even one but others have one or two?
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon. Member, you may wish to submit a Question in due course.
Mr. Joseph Y. Chireh 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker,
the Minister in paragraph 2 of his Answer is talking about the Ministry of Health going to introduce Health Assistants Programme. Currently, we have the Minister for Manpower, Youth and Employment also commissioning some people they describe as Health Assistants. I want to know the difference between that one and this one and whether they are going to take over that aspect and do it professionally in the Ministry. Thank you.
Mr. Owusu-Agyei 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to explain that the programme being run by the Youth Employment Programme, we term the participants as Health Extension officers. Health Extension Officers are slightly different from the Health Assistants. Health Extension Officers' training is going to take six months and then immediately afterwards, they will be sent to facilities within the region or any other parts of the country wherever their services are required. Health Assistants' training is longer than the six months training; it is about one year. That is the difference between the case of the Health Extension Officers who are currently being trained by the Ministry under the Youth Employment Programme and the

Health Assistants Programme, which is longer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Deputy Minister for Health, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines?


Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines (Prof. Dominic K. Fobih) 10:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, following the official announce- ment of the relocation of Accra Zoo by the Government, the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines constituted a committee comprising representatives from various stakeholder groups and organizations to oversee the relocation of the old Accra Zoo and the construction of a new Zoo in the Achimota Forest.
The Government released an amount of ¢1,139,738,000 (One billion, one hundred and thirty-nine million, seven hundred and thirty-eight thousand cedis) to relocate the Accra Zoo exhibits to Kumasi Zoo.
The Committee liaised with the Kumasi Zoo Advisory Board and used the funds to prepare the zoo grounds, renovated and modified old cages, and also constructed new cages in the Kumasi Zoo. Additionally, parts of the funds were used for drugs, transport, and construction
of transfer cages and other operational expenses of the technical team that handled the evacuation exercise.
All the animals have successfully been moved to Kumasi Zoo and a ceremonial relaunch of Kumasi Zoo was done on 21st April 2007 to climax activities welcoming the animals to their new environment.
There are still some outstanding works such as the renovation of veterinary office and educational centre, acquisition of three deep freezers to improve food storage among others, in order to ensure that the animals at Kumasi Zoo are adequately and safely catered for.
While supervising the movement of the exhibits to Kumasi, the Committee also initiated the process for the development of a new zoo in Accra in the Achimota Forest. The Committee opted for a national competition for the design of the new zoo. This is to whip up interest and garner national support and awareness for a modern zoo that will befit the status of Accra as the national capital. Successful competitors are expected to be awarded accordingly.
In connection with this, terms of reference for the design of the new zoo at Achimota Forest, including design standards and guidelines have been prepared by the Committee. The pre- contract phase financial estimates have also been prepared.
Current estimates indicate that a total amount of ¢6,985,000,000 (Six billion, nine hundred and eighty-five million cedis) will be spent on the pre-contract phase. In all, the Committee estimated that an amount of ¢44,850,000,000 (Forty-four billion, eight hundred and fifty million cedis) would be required to put up a new zoo for Accra including stocking it with exhibits.
Dr. Matthew K. Antwi 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his Answer, mentioned that there are still some outstanding works to be done which include the acquisition of deep freezers. I would like to know when these deep freezers would be purchased and also currently how the animals' feed is stored.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, what we are saying is that we need this additional equipment to make the animals more comfortable but the basic things are there and we are working around the clock to get these things ready. I cannot place any time limit; it could be now or sooner.
Alhaji Collins Dauda 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Kumasi Zoo is located in one of the noisiest parts of Kumasi, near Kejetia, where the main lorry park of Kumasi is. I want to find out from the hon. Minister if the location is the most appropriate for this purpose.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
For the present purpose, it is the best location that we can get for the animals and we have improved the conditions that existed. So we think we have made satisfactory arrangement for the comfort of the animals, as at now.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister whether he can assure us that adequate resources would be made available for the feeding of the animals because there was a time when feeding had to depend on a non-
governmental organization (NGO) called Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ). May I know from him if this time round adequate resources would be made available for the feeding of the animals.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, some time ago, we realized this concern and we set up advisory committees for the two zoos then -- Accra and Kumasi. And since that time, as part of the terms of reference of the committees that we set up, they had been doing very well to resource the feeding fund for both places -- Kumasi and Accra.
I am sure that even though the Accra Zoo is no longer here, the Board or the Committee that was then existing is also assisting the Kumasi Board to source funds for that; and they have been doing well. So I am sure that it is going to be done. The Forestry Commission is also getting involved somehow.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I want to know from the hon. Minister why the Accra Zoo was closed down and when the construction of the new zoo will commence and where it will be located.
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think a question to that effect has been asked in this House but I would just recapitulate. We had to remove the animals to Kumasi Zoo because of the several options that were open to us and we thought Kumasi Zoo had the advantage of proximity. It also has the advantage of still maintaining the presence of a zoo in Ghana to service the many children who need that experience in their learning.
So we marshalled the necessary resources that were needed and with the assistance of His Excellency, I think the support came and we prepared the place to receive them. But the idea is not to
Prof. Fobih 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, compen- sation is paid by mining companies to farmers whose crops are affected by the mining operations. The compensation is paid prior to the destruction of the crops and after an assessment and valuation of the crops have taken place.
Section 74 of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) lays down the compensation principles aimed at ensuring prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to affected parties. Some of these principles include compensation for:
The deprivation of the use or a particular use of the natural surface of the land or part of the land;
Loss of or damage to immovable properties;
In the case of land under cultivation, loss of earnings or sustenance suffered by the owner or lawful
occupier having due regard to the nature of their interest in the land; and
Loss of expected income depending on the nature of the crops on the land and their life expectancy.
Section 73 (3) of Act 703 also provides for the amount of compensation to be determined by agreement between the parties (the mining company and the owner of the crops). If the parties are however unable to reach an agreement as to the amount of compensation, the matter should be referred by either party to the Minister. The Minister, in consultation with the Land Valuation Board then determines the compensation payable by the mining company.
The Ministry encourages the formation of committees composed of representatives of the farmers and representatives of the mining company to negotiate and arrive at appropriate compensation packages for the various types of crops to be affected by the mining operation.
For the identification and enumeration of crops in the field, the mining companies usually seek the assistance of the Land Valuation Board although the rate used for payment is the one determined by the committee referred to earlier.
This arrangement has offered the farmers the opportunity to negotiate with the mining companies for fair compensation for their crops.
Mr. Speaker, I am sure the current situation is that through that negotiation the farmers even get higher than the official rate for most crops. So they are fairly and adequately compensated.
Mr. E. P. Aidoo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the
Prof. Fobih 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, since as we have said, most of these things are by negotiation, it differs from group to group, and from farmer to farmer. So I cannot give a specific response. However, I can give instances of the official rates and sometimes some of the higher rates that we have obtained.
In the case of oil palm, for instance, the official rate per acre, if the palm tree is two years old, is six million, four hundred and eighty-four thousand, six hundred and seventy-three cedis. But in actual fact, they get through negotiations higher values than this. So that is a rough idea. And if the oil palm is three years old, it is even higher -- five years, six years and so on. So that is the idea -- the official rate that I can tell you. But they get higher than that through the negotiation.
Mr. E. P. Aidoo 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, is the Minister not aware that mining companies in the Western Region in particular, are still paying twenty-five thousand cedis per cocoa tree as compensation to farmers?
Prof. Fobih 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I have said that there is a two-stage process in deciding on the compensation that has to be paid. The first one is between the farmers and the mining company and the second level is, if they are not satisfied with the agreed sum, they have the right to appeal to the Minister as the law permits.
So I cannot know the pr ivate arrangement between the farmers and the companies, and what they have agreed upon in some specific cases, individual cases. But generally, I know that it is higher.
Mr. Charles S. Hodogbey 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the Question specifically asked is if compensations have been paid to farmers. But when you look at the Answer of the Minister, it is all about procedures that you have to pass through to pay compensation. My question is, how much compensation has been paid to these farmers to date and how many requests for compensation have been made?
Prof. Fobih 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think rather he is reading a different Question because with your permission, I can read the Question to him. The Question is “To ask the Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines if farmers have been well compensated” -- farmers, that is, all farmers who are affected by this -- “by mining companies for crops destroyed as a result of mining activities”. So it is not specific to any group but just a general policy.
Mr. Speaker 10:40 a.m.
Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, thank you very much for appearing to answer these Questions. You are discharged.
Item 5 -- Statements.
STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

Alhaji Collins Dauda 10:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to make a Statement on the establishment of local or village task forces to supervise spraying gangs in the cocoa-growing areas.
Mr. Speaker, June this month marks the beginning of yet another Cocoa Diseases and Pest Control (CODAPEC) programme against black pod. This programme is also known as the mass-spraying exercise.

It is therefore important to examine the exercise with the view to improving upon it for the maximum benefit of our hard- working cocoa farmers. Mr. Speaker, this exercise which was reintroduced in 2001 is intended to deal basically with the black pod disease and capsid.

The coverage of the black pod control exercise includes --

1. The entire Brong Ahafo Region

2. Parts of Ashanti Region

3 . N o r t h e r n p a r t o f t h e Western Region

4. Some parts of the southern part of the Western Region and

5. The Volta Region.

These are areas where the virulent black pod disease occur.

For capsid control, the areas covered are:

1. Central Region

2. Eastern Region 3. Parts of Ashanti Region

4. Parts of the southern part of the Western Region

Mr. Speaker, in the last cocoa season, 2005/2006, a total of ¢564.9 billion was spent in running this programme while in the current season 2006/2007, the Government has set aside ¢479.91 billion from the projected FOB value of cocoa for the programme. These are colossal sums of money spent by Government on behalf of cocoa farmers and therefore deserve a critical examination.

Mr. Speaker, this programme is being managed by a District Task Force which represents the project management team at the district level. It is headed by the District Chief Executive. This body receives and distributes inputs to spraying groups. It also has a duty to ensure the establishment of the village task forces and the spraying gangs.

Mr. Speaker, at a local level, a village task force is to be constituted to represent the project management team to supervise and monitor the spraying gang that carries out the fieldwork on daily basis.

The village task force, Mr. Speaker, is supposed to consist of --

1. the chief (Odikro) of the gang area

2. gang supervisor

3. local chief farmer

4. a representative of women in the gang area who is also called the “Yaa Asantewaa” of the area

5. a representative of the licensed- buying companies in the gang area.

Mr. Speaker, even though it is the gang supervisor who collects the inputs from the district task force, the storage of the inputs is the responsibility of the village task force.

The village vask force also ensures the release of the required input to the gang on daily basis.

The task force exercises supervisory and monitoring roles over the spraying gang and also serves as a check on abuses on the part of the gang.

Mr. Speaker, according to the structural
Alhaji Collins Dauda 10:40 a.m.

arrangements under the programme, wherever there is a spraying gang, there must be a village task force to monitor and supervise it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, while all the spraying gangs have been put in place, in some parts of the cocoa-growing areas not only are the task forces not established but also the farmers are not aware of this structural arrangement. The question that may be asked is, why are some District Chief Executives who are the political heads of the District Assemblies and also heads of the District Task Forces overlooking the establishment of this unit in the structure that serves as a check on the spraying gangs?

Mr. Speaker, when my attention was drawn to this arrangement, I tried to check in my constituency to find out if they exist. I was surprised to find that not even one task force exists. As a result, farmers raised concerns about abuses in the implementation of the programme. Indeed, some farmers showed to me bottles of insecticides which bore the inscription “property of CODAPEC Not for Sale” which they alleged were sold to them.

Clearly, Mr. Speaker, enough education has not gone into this programme.

Mr. Speaker, I therefore wish to call on COCOBOD and for that matter Government to step up its educational campaign on the subject.

With immediate effect, the village task forces should be established in all the areas where there are spraying gangs before the spraying begins this year.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to call on chiefs, opinion leaders, civil society groups, farmers and other stakeholders to insist that COCOBOD puts in place the village task forces. It has the potential of containing over-politicization of the mass-spraying exercise and can also prevent stealing,

corruption, favouritism and waste in the programme.
Mr. Sampson Ahi (NDC -- Juabeso) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by the hon. Member for Asutifi South.
Mr. Speaker, the mass-spraying exercise is a very important activity to support farmers increase their output or their yield at the end of the year. Mr. Speaker, formation of a village task force is very crucial to prevent the insecticides from being stolen by gang leaders and spraying gangs.
If you go to my constituency, for instance, there is no one -- they have not set in place any gang task force. The reason is that the mass-spraying exercise has been over-politicised to the extent that all gang leaders are the local New Patriotic Party (NPP) chairmen. If you do not belong to the NPP you are not selected.
Mr. S. M. E. K. Ackah 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, point of order. It seems the hon. Member is misleading the House. The gang leaders are not NPP chairmen. I have them in my constituency; they are taken from both sides of the divide. Mr. Speaker, he should withdraw that statement.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for
Juabeso, go on but do not provoke any debate. The hon. Member who made the Statement himself never referred to any political party.
Mr. Ahi 10:50 a.m.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker, but I was just trying to explain why the task forces are not in place. This is because the activities of the task force is to supervise the work of the gangs but because the gangs themselves are made up of NPP gurus, that is why it is very difficult
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Odotobri, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Gyamfi 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, it looks as if my hon. Colleague is still misleading the House. He has been called to order and you advised that he should not provoke debate, and he continued doing that.
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter
is that what he is saying is not true. Maybe, if he can cite specific examples from his constituency -- he is, at least, ‘nationalising' the whole issue. It is never true that gang leaders are NPP gurus. What is he talking about? Mr. Speaker, he is misleading the House and the whole country and he should be called to order.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Yes, hon. Member, I
have already given you advice. So go on.
Mr Ahi 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague did not listen to me. I can cite a lot of instances in my constituencies and mention communities. For instance, in Ntobia a letter was written by the NPP Chairman dismissing all the supposed NDC sympathisers. In Ayimenso -- a whole lot of communities in my constituency. But what I am trying to say is that this exercise is in the interest of cocoa farmers. When cocoa farmers load their cocoa, they deduct money from the number of bags that they -- [Interruptions.]
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Agona West, do you have a point of order?
Mr. Obodai 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I think that my hon. Colleague still continues to mislead us because if he is not providing
any evidence of such letter, he should not even say it here. Mr. Speaker, I think he should be called to order; otherwise, he would provoke this Statement to a debate.
Mr. Ahi 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish that you set a committee to go down to Juabeso and investigate what I am talking about. I am talking about what I have seen at Juabeso. I am not talking about what is happening in Central Region or Ashanti Region.
So Mr. Speaker, I am also adding my voice to the Ghana Cocoa Board to ensure that the village task forces are put in place so that they can monitor effectively the work of the gang leaders and the spraying gangs so that the objectives or reason for setting up this mass-spraying exercise can be achieved.
Mr. S. K. B. Manu (NPP -- Ahafo Ano South) 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement made. And in doing so, I would like to say that the cocoa mass- spraying exercise is a very good exercise which this Government has been applauded for introducing into this country. Why am I saying so, Mr. Speaker? Its inception has increased the tonnage of cocoa production in this country and it is earning this country a lot of foreign exchange, which is being used to carry out a lot developmental projects, road construction and other such facilities for the country.
Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the question of cocoa mass-spraying gangs, I do know that some of the people who are members of the cocoa spraying gangs, like in any other set-up -- it could even be in Parliament, it could be in the army, it could be in the police, or among lawyers, we cannot get all to be angels; there are a few black nuts that you will find.
So you will realise that people may

be tempted to sell these insecticides to people. My advice, however, to the people who buy such insecticides from those people -- where it is clearly written, as indicated by the hon. Member who made the Statement, that it is not meant for sale -- is that it is like buying something that is stolen; they are also culpable before the law.

When it comes to gang leaders, people claim that in their areas gang leaders are made up of NPP supporters only. In my constituency at Npatanso, Kwame Andrews is the gang leader and he is an ardent supporter of the NDC and he is a very good friend of mine. I have always been quarrelling with him as to why he does not vote for me. Yet he is a gang leader at Npatanso No. 2. He can go and find out.
Mr. Lee Ocran 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. When my hon. Friend from Juabeso mentioned NPP members, they were complaining, but now he is mentioning an NDC member who is a leader of a team. So it means that depending upon where one comes from there may be such things. So, we cannot write him off.
Mr. Speaker 10:50 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ahafo Ano South, forget about political parties in this matter.
Mr. Manu 10:50 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, the truth must be told. Truth, they say, is like pregnancy. If you suppress it, by all means it will come out. So it must be spoken particularly on the floor of the House.
Mr. Speaker, when people are claiming that NDC members in the gang were sacked -- Who will not sack them? If the Government to which they are opposed has brought up a programme and they
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Ahafo Ano South, please do not provoke debate; only comment.
Mr. Manu 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, having settled this matter, let me now go on to say that I agree if the gang task force can be formed. But what is the guarantee that those who will constitute the task force will also not condone and connive? Are they going to be angels sent from the heavens?
Mr. Speaker, what we need is proper education of the gang members and also the citizenry that they should not sell the insecticides because it is meant to help Ghana as a nation. We also need to educate the cocoa farmers that if those insecticides are brought to be sold to them, they should not buy but they should rather report them to either the police or the District Chief Executive or any opinion leader around. I think, in this way, we shall be solving the problem; but constituting gang supervisors and all those things -- In this country, I do not think there is anybody who can be so saintly that if he is put there and he has the opportunity, will not sell those things.
So I will say that we need education for both the farmers and the gang members, particularly the leaders.
Mr. Inusah A. B. Fuseini (NDC -- Tamale Central) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement made on the floor of the House by the hon. Member for Asutifi North.
Mr. Speaker, it is curious that I, as a Member of Parliament for Tamale in the Northern Region, am rising to contribute

to the Statement on the floor of this House dealing specifically with cocoa. It is because one appreciates the importance of that crop to the economy of this country. For a long time, we in the north have always said that cocoa and cocoa farmers have contributed immensely to the fortunes of this country.

This brings to mind, how do we get cocoa in the first place? It had to take the initiative of one man known in history as Tetteh Quarshie who, we are told, had to smuggle it from Fernando Po to Ghana for that crop to become the leading cash crop in Ghana.

Mr. Speaker, it is precisely because of the contribution that cocoa makes to the economy of Ghana that the country and government are willing and able to spend such huge and colossal amounts in maintaining the crop so that it continues to be of relevance to the economy of Ghana. I dare ask: do we not have similar crops with the potential of contributing to the economy of Ghana in the north?

Mr. Speaker, I think that the good Lord has blessed the southern sector of Ghana and particularly the cocoa-growing areas with that crop -- with an environment suitable for that crop, which no doubt is contributing immensely to the economy of this country.

Mr. Speaker, I think in the north as well, there is a crop of immense potential that can contribute, if developed, to the economy of this country. Mr. Speaker, I am saying that if Government turns its face towards the north and particularly to the shea tree, we can find an equivalent of a cash crop with the potential to contribute immensely to the economy of this country.

It is precisely because of this that I rise to contribute to this Statement, support my good Friend and pray Government that
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11 a.m.
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, my hon. Colleague clearly is making a very good point, but it has no relevance to the issue that has been raised. So if he can spare us and allow those of us who have issues to raise with the Statement made to contribute, I think it will serve this House a lot of good.
Mr. Speaker 11 a.m.
Hon. Member for Tamale Central, I note you want to make a Statement, but first of all you need my permission which you do not have at the moment.
Mr. Fuseini 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I was just winding up. I thought the relevance of the Statement was to impress on stakeholders to take prudent steps to ensure that the gangs that are supposed to be set up to ensure that the cocoa trees are sprayed and maintained, and that they produce satisfactorily are put in place to enable the crop continue to play a leading role in providing foreign exchange for Ghana.
So I was just by extension praying that there are other crops that can contribute to the economy of this country.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words I support my hon. Friend who made the Statement.
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 11 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement on the floor and in doing so, I want to thank my hon. Colleague for this very sensitive Statement. He has been very vocal on issues concerning cocoa, and this particular one looks at the right approach of confronting the many problems in the cocoa industry.
Mr. E. A. Gyamfi (NPP -- Odotobri) 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker, it has now been accepted and agreed, according to the Statement, that cocoa mass-spraying is one of the best policies which has come to support the cocoa industry. But there are some challenges which we need to confront, and the task force issue is one of them.

It is a fact that the introduction of the mass-spraying exercise has brought a lot of improvement to the cocoa industry. As has already been said, output has increased tremendously and we are gaining a lot from that.

Mr. Speaker, what I want to say is that, the task force is very, very important for the success of this particular exercise. I do not know why as Ghanaians, we try to do something good for ourselves and a few people amongst us try to draw away the benefits that we need to get from such a policy.

Most of the things that my hon. Colleague said are true, especially the selling of insecticides. But Mr. Speaker, I sometimes wonder; the farmers, who are supposed to benefit from this particular exercise, why should they go and buy the insecticides when they know that it is not for sale? And if somebody is selling the insecticide to them, why should they not report him to the appropriate quarters for sanctions and actions to be taken against them?

So Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform our hard-working farmers that the insecticides are not for sale; they are for free to support them. So when they see anybody trying to sell the insecticides, no matter what the situation is, that person is a thief and he must be reported to the appropriate quarters, even if it is to the police, for action to be taken against that particular person.

Mr. Speaker, I just want to end by saying that the exercise started about five to six years ago and it has chalked a lot of successes. I would want to plead with the Ministry and the implementers that some of the machines are very old now and this is giving the spraying gangs a lot of problems. You service the machine today and you are sure of taking it to the field tomorrow morning, but the next morning you start it and it would not work.

I would like to recommend that new machines be bought to support the good cause that is going on in support of our good farmers in the cocoa-growing areas.

Again, members of the spraying gangs use some protective items like the wellington boots, the overall and other items that support them in the course of their work, and I would also wish that the Ministry or the implementers should pay adequate attention to this particular issue and try to work on it.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this Statement.
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
At the Commencement of Public Business -- Item 6, Laying of Papers.
PAPERS 11:10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
Item 7 -- Motion, Cha i rman of the Commit tee -- [Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker 11:10 a.m.
We would take item 10 -- Chairman of the Committee on Roads and Transport.
MOTIONS 11:10 a.m.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Samuel K. Obodai) 11:10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Committee on Roads and Transport on the Annual Reports and Accounts of the Ghana Road Fund for the years 2003 and 2004.
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Section 18 (2) of the Road Fund Act, 1997 (Act 536) enjoins the Minister for Transportation to submit to Parliament an Annual Report and Accounts dealing with the activities of the Ghana Road Fund during the financial year to which the Report and Accounts relate.
Accordingly, the then Minister for
Transportation, hon. Richard W. Anane on Thursday, 27th July 2006 laid before the House, the years 2003 and 2004 Annual Reports and Accounts of the Ghana Road Fund. The two Reports and Accounts were subsequently referred to the Committee on Roads and Transport for consideration and report pursuant to article 103 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and Order 189 of the Standing Orders of the House.
1.2 The Committee, in considering the referral, met with the Deputy Minister for Transportation, hon. Magnus E. Opare- Asamoah and his officials, the Acting
Director and Deputy Director of the Ghana Road Fund Secretariat, a representative each from Messrs Deloitte and Touchè (Financial Auditors of the Ghana Road Fund) and Sterling Engineers (Technical Auditors of beneficiary agencies) and representatives from the underlisted agencies:
i . G h a n a H i g h w a y Authority (GHA)
i i . Depar tment of Feeder Roads (DFR)
i i i . Depa r tmen t o f Urban Roads (DUR) i v. N a t i o n a l R o a d S a f e t y
Commission (NRSC)
v. Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA)
The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei and his officials also attended the Committee's meeting to clarify issues on the year 2004 Annual Report and Accounts of the Ghana Road Fund.
The Committee is grateful to the above- mentioned officials for assisting in its deliberations.
2.0 Reference Documents
The Committee availed itself of the following documents in its deliberations:
a. The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
b. The Standing Orders of the House.
c. The Road Fund Act, 1997 (Act
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Samuel K. Obodai) 11:10 a.m.

shown in Table 3 below:

As explained to the Committee by the Technical Auditors, the low technical achievement in routine maintenance was due to the over-optimistic programmes drawn up by the Road Agencies. Cash inflow difficulties experienced by the Fund in the year under review and the failure of the Road Agencies to adequately cater for year 2002's arrears in the year
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Samuel K. Obodai) 11:10 a.m.
Considering the difficulties in cash inflow into the Road Fund, the Committee urges the Road Agencies to draw up realistic and achievable programmes in their subsequent programmes and budget proposals to the Ghana Road Fund Board.
v. Payment of Arrears
The Committee noted that an estimated amount of ¢170.6 billion owed to road contractors for works executed in year 2002 was settled in year 2003. Again, an amount of ¢269.63 billion owed to contractors in year 2003 was carried
forward for payment in year 2004.
This situation, in the Committee's opinion, tends to interrupt the programme of activities of beneficiary agencies since part of the revenue accruing to the Fund for the year under review is used to settle
debts in the preceding year.
The Committee takes cognisance of the cash inflow difficulties of the Fund but however urges the Ghana Road Fund Board to streamline its activities to ensure that much debt is not carried forward to succeeding years.


Technical staff strength to oversee the 94 projects:

i. Regional Engineer (10 years experience)

__ 1

ii. Maintenance Engineer (3 years experience) --


iii. Assistant Engineer (1 year experience)

-- 1

iv. Assistant Quantity Surveyor

-- 1

v. Area Engineers

-- 2

vi. Foremen

-- 3

Number of vehicles (pick- up)

-- 3

It is evident from the above that the technical staff and number of vehicles available to DFR were grossly inadequate for proper supervision if the ninety-four (94) projects were to be done effectively. According to the technical audit, because DFR could not cope with the workload, supervision of the 94 projects were carried out on an ad hoc basis.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Samuel K. Obodai) 11:10 a.m.
Deliberating on the issue of inadequate capacity, officials of the Road Agencies indicated to the Committee that MOT has put measures in place to recruit more staff to augment the technical staff strength of the Agencies. The unfortunate situation however is that, graduate engineers recruited from the Polytechnics are found to be trained in Building Engineering and not Civil Engineering. Thus, the Agencies have to retrain them into Civil Engineers and this takes a longer time for them to be qualified as technical supervisors.
The Committee considers the augmentation of technical supervisors as critical if the country is to have quality road network. To this end, the Committee urges the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports to review the engineering courses at the Polytechnics in order to produce the needed manpower for the road construction industry in Ghana. Alternatively, MOT should consider the possibility of engaging the private sector to supervise and certify the quality of road projects executed.
vii. Classification of Contractors
Report of the Technical Auditors further indicated that, the criteria used by MOT in classifying contractors include the staff strength of contractors and competence, financial capability, experience in road works and equipment holding. The ability to meet the
above criteria forms the basis for grouping contractors into various work categories and classes.
The practical situation however noted by the Committee indicates that some contractors who have equipment and
personnel that fall below the expected level stated in MOT classification criteria have been wrongly classified. Thus, contractors classified as A1 who are expected to execute quality road projects are found wanting in the execution of their projects.

The Committee therefore urges MOT to critically review its contractor classification by cross-checking information provided by contractors to ascertain its authenticity.

7.0 Year 2004 Road Fund Annual Report and Accounts

8.0 Observations and Recommendations

8.1 Revenue Generation

The Report and Accounts for year 2004 indicated that revenue generated into the Fund amounted to ¢765.4 billion as against the projected target of ¢719.3 billion. The Accounts therefore showed a positive variance of ¢46.1 billion.

This variance, the Committee noted, was due to higher fuel offtakes (volumes) in year 2004. The Fund budgeted for 1,600 million litres of fuel. However, actual fuel offtake was 1,775.9 -- a positive variance of 176.0 litres. Thus, fuel levy contributed about 93 per cent of revenue accrued to the Fund whilst the remaining sources contributed about 7 per cent.

It is evident from the foregoing that the revenue generation base of the Fund is very limited. In the event where fuel levy is not able to yield much into the Fund, the Ghana Road Fund's programme of activities for that year will be thrown into jeopardy.

To this end, the Committee again recommends that the Minister for Transportation should as a matter of urgency ensure that road use fee, vehicle registration fee, international transit

fee and road and bridge toll are revised upward. All roads which need to be tolled should also be done as early as possible through the appropriate channel.

8.2 Violation of Statutory Provisions

Part 1 of the Loans Act, 1970 (Act 335) deals with securing loans locally by the Government. Part 2 also gives the Government the authority to raise loan externally.

Section 7 of Part 2 also states that:

“The terms and conditions of any loans obtained by the Government under Parts 1 and 2 of this Act or under any other enactment shall not come into operation unless they have been laid before Parliament and approved by Parliament by resolution.”

Section 3 (e) of the Road Fund Act, 1997 (Act 536) again stipulates that:

“The monies for the Fund shall be derived from such monies as the Minister responsible for Finance in consultation with the Minister may determine with the approval of Parliament.”

Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution also provides among others that, no loan shall be raised by the Government on behalf of itself or any other public institution or authority unless the terms and conditions have been approved by a resolution of Parliament.

The Committee noted from the Financial Audit Report that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning

contracted a loan of ¢250 billion from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) in year 2004 for the Ghana Road Fund without Parliamentary approval. This, the Committee agrees with the Report of the Financial Auditors, was a clear violation of provisions of the Loans Act 1970 (Act 335), Section 3 (e) of the Road Fund Act, 1997 (Act 536) and article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.

Clarification from the Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, hon. Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei on the issue indicated that initial documents on the ¢250 billion facility was a loan contract. However, upon the Ghana Road Fund guaranteeing the facility with its revenue receivable, SSNIT changed the terms of the contract from a loan facility into a bridging loan facility. Thus, there was no need for Parliamentary approval as is the case for all bridging loan facilities.

8.3 Disbursement of Funds

Owing to the ¢250 billion loan facility the Fund contracted from SSNIT, the total amount that accrued to the Fund was ¢960.1 billion as against its total revenue receipts of ¢763.4 billion. The Fund therefore disbursed an amount of ¢960.1 billion to the beneficiary agencies based on the Annual Road Maintenance and Expenditure programmes approved by the Ghana Road Fund Board for year 2004. The breakdown is as follows:

8 . 4 P h y s i c a l P e r f o r m a n c e o f Road Agencies

It was noted by the Committee that the annual programmes set by the Road Agencies for year 2004 were not met. For periodic maintenance for instance, GHA was able to execute 484.0 km as against its planned programme of 866.0 km. The Table below shows the summary of physical performance of the Road Agencies in year 2004.

As was contained in the Technical Audit Report, the low achievements of the road agencies were caused by the following factors:

the inability of contractors to carry out the agreed number of cycles for grading, reshaping and pothole patching.

inappropriate classification of contractors.

delays in the payment of advance mobilization and certified works.

Contractors executing more than one project at a time.

late award of contracts.

The Committee noted that the above factors were issues that also recurred in the technical achievement (periodic and routine maintenance) by the Road Agencies during year 2003.

The Commit tee re inforces i t s recommendation that MOT should vigorously pursue the review of its contractor classification system to correctly classify contractors according to their capacity and capability. The Committee further urges the Road Agencies to ensure that contracts already awarded are completed before new ones are given out to the same contractors.

8.5 Review of Classif ication of Non- performing Contractors
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. Samuel K. Obodai) 11:10 a.m.

The Committee observed with concern, the number of road projects poorly executed in the country by some contractors. As was noted by the Committee in its deliberations, some contractors bid for

comprehend why a contractor who could not perform creditably on a project, win other contracts elsewhere.

Issues that came up during the Committee's deliberations indicated that some contractors are unable to perform in particular regions due to the unavailability of resources such as aggregates whereas in regions where aggregates are for instance available, the contractor may perform creditably. Thus, it becomes difficult to classify such a contractor as “non-performing” to culminate in his/her de-classification.

The Committee is however of the opinion that for Ghana to benefit from good roads commensurate with monies disbursed to the Road Agencies for the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of roads, MOT should put in place a stringent system whereby contractors can be de-classified when they are not performing according to contract specifications.

The Committee further urges the Road Agencies to compare notes on the performance of all road contractors to serve as a guide in the award of contracts. A contractor who has performed poorly with one Agency should not be accommodated by the other Road Agencies.

8.6 National Road Safety Commission

National Road Safety Commission's role in ensuring that the spate of road accidents in the country is curbed is very crucial. Through its educational programmes, the number of vehicles involved in accidents nationwide has reduced considerably. For instance, between January 2006 and September 2006, road accidents recorded was 12,868 as compared to 14,343 recorded between January 2005 and September 2005.
Mr. Lee Ocran (NDC -- Jomoro) 11:20 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion and in doing so, I want to raise a few issues. Already my hon. Colleague, the

Chairman of the Committee who is on the other side of the House has raised some of the issues that the Committee discussed.

Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend is not

hearing me well. I am saying that we need to put on the new roads more toll booths. However, Mr. Speaker, I think we should mechanise the toll booths to ensure that people pay the tolls and that the tolls that are paid go into the Ghana Road Fund coffers. This idea of employing people to sit there, give out tickets -- some people are able to slip through; others have friends so, they do not pay the tolls, they pass through; some people even bully their way through the toll booths, and these acts are not helping.

Therefore, we need to put in mechanized -- [Interruption]-- They are privatized already and still people are passing through. So we need to mechanise the toll booths, like it is done in Europe and other places. You reach there, you slot in and pay and you go. This will help us raise enough money to complement what is received from the petroleum levy. We all want to drive on good roads.

It seems the Ghana Road Fund is being taxed unduly and in fact sometimes even deviating from the purpose for which it was set up. It was set up to ensure that

our roads are periodically maintained. But these days we are even using funds from the Ghana Road Fund to construct new roads. That is putting a lot of pressure on the Fund and in so doing, sometimes the Fund is not even used to carry out the functions for which it was created.

So Mr. Speaker, I think it is time for us to learn how to pay more to drive on good roads. And I think when this issue comes to the floor of the House, hon. Members will support it. We are not trying to overburden drivers and commuters but we want to make sure that people drive on good roads. And that the moneys collected as tolls go to the Ghana Road Fund so that we ensure periodic maintenance of these roads.

With these few words, Mr. Speaker, I

propose that hon. Members approve the Report of the Committee on Roads.

Question proposed.
Mr. Kojo Armah (CPP 11:20 a.m.

Gwira): Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the Report and to ask hon. Members to approve it.

Mr. Speaker, during our discussion

at the committee level, we also realised that one essential area, which is not doing us much good in this country, is the weighing stations. Some stations have been constructed along the major roads where trucks are supposed to pass and have their axles weighed. Not much was received from these areas and we did not know -- In fact, we were not even told whether most of them have become operational. I believe this is an area we ought to look at if we want to increase the volume of revenue generation for the Ghana Road Fund Board.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the idea of

submission of reports to this House is
Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah (NDC -- South Tongu) 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to the motion on the floor and I would like to pass a few comments about what I consider the hen that lays the golden egg in terms of the source of revenue for the Road Fund.
Mr. Speaker, we are all familiar with what happens at the toll booths, the deplorable condition or state in which the booths are. Many of them have not witnessed any rehabilitation and they are not very safe because of the way they have been structured and the risk that the structure poses to those who are working in there, from vehicles that may run wayward or riot into the structures. Mr. Speaker, I have always stopped to advise, especially at Adomi Bridge, that the young men and women who sell the tickets should try and get some masks to cover their noses because of the extensive carbon monoxide that they inhale. It does appear that there is not much policy in terms of ensuring the health of the staff of the various companies that are running the toll booths.
Mr. Speaker, I also think that it is about time, in view of the electricity fluctuation,

to encourage the Road Fund to install solar-powered lamps at the tool booths. I am saying this because, first of all, it is the state money that is at risk there; and not only is security inadequate at such booths but they operate virtually in total darkness except for some small lamp that they carry.

Mr. Speaker, my next concern also has to do with the fact that there are some roads that are oversupplied with toll booths, the result being that drivers pay at various points. I will cite the example of a traveller leaving Accra for Ho; he has to stop at three toll booths. Mr. Speaker, I reckon that it is because that road is new and as a matter of policy Government would want to recoup the money. But there are also other roads that are of a similar nature that need to be tolled.

When it happens like this then vehicles that ply those roads think that they are being discriminated against. It is important that we toll our roads because we raise considerable revenue from doing so but we need to take care of the health of the people who manage the places for us.

Mr. Speaker, I support the motion.
Mr. David Oppon-Kusi (NPP -- Ofoase/Ayirebi-) 11:30 a.m.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to support the motion on the floor. Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to support the motion on the floor. Mr. Speaker, it has become obvious that the Road Fund has come to stay and that it is playing a very vital role in our road maintenance programme, and we must do everything possible to ensure its viability and sustenance.
Mr. Speaker, the initial policy or the initial objective of the Road Fund was to do routine and periodic maintenance, but we all do know that there is a vast backlog
Mr. D. A. Azumah (NDC -- Garu- Tempane) 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to support the motion. Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments, the first being the inability
of the Ministry to submit the Report to the Committee in good time.
Mr. Speaker, the Committee did not give us any help by not finding out what were the reasons, what were the justifications for this undue delay. Indeed, it would have helped us a lot if we had known what was the problem the Ministry and for that matter the Road Fund Board faced that they could not submit this Report at the appropriate time.
Number two, Mr. Speaker, ten years down the line after the establishment of the Road Fund in 1997 -- It started from a humble beginning of ¢38 billion and it is now running to about ¢682 billion, in 2004. Now, the idea basically was to help address most of the road concerns in the Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies.
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
Hon. Member, are you rising on a point of order?
Mr. Hodogbey 11:30 a.m.
Exactly so, Mr.
Speaker. The hon. Member is making very useful points but unfortunately if you look round the House the Minister for Transportation is not here; the Deputy or whoever is also not here. So it looks as if whatever points we are making -- Even though we are discussing the Report, the Report has to be implemented by the Ministry and the people who are at the top of the Ministry are not here. So what actually are we doing?
Mr. Speaker 11:30 a.m.
You have no point of order; hon. Member for Garu-Tempane, please continue.
Mr. Azumah 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, if you look at the Questions that are thrown to various Ministries from this House, most of them are on the road sector. And this is all because they are very dissatisfied with the nature of roads they find in their various constituencies and in their various districts.
I think it is high time we took a critical look at it. Is it not possible for a formula to be drafted to this House so that it is carefully looked at and approved by this House to allow the Ministry to implement its programmes in the various districts and the Municipal Assemblies?
Mr. Speaker, I am aware that the Road Fund has made tremendous improvements in the road sector. Indeed, if you look at the road condition mix of this country now, there is some slight improvement and I believe that with support from this House to the Road Fund we will make more strides in the coming years.
On this note, Mr. Speaker, I support the Report.
Mr. J. A. Ndebugre (PNC -- Zebilla) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I also rise to speak to this motion. I have some concerns. Quite a number of the hon. Members who have already contributed appear to belong to the Committee on Roads and Transport. There is this emphasis on the delay in submitting the report. But no reason has been given for the delay. The last contributor has made an attempt, but I have read the report and I see that the Committee, in its work, met a number of personalities.
They met the Deputy Minister for Transportation with his officials, the Acting Director and the Deputy Director of Ghana Road Fund Secretariat and a representative each from the financial auditors, representatives of Sterling Engineers who are the technical auditors. But the Committee has not told us in the report what reasons they gave for these delays and these delays are not limited to only the road sector which we are discussing now.
There is some inordinate attachment to delaying the presentation of the report. If in 2007, we are receiving and reviewing report on matters that took place in 2002, it is absolutely unacceptable and I think that this House ought to do something about it if we want to be seen to be actually performing our function as an oversight body. That is the first point I want to make.
The second one is the point about the low technical achievements in the road sector. Again, it seems to me that no good reason was given for this low technical achievement; what I can see are just excuses. The first excuse is that, the low technical achievements in routine maintenance were due to over-optimistic programme drawn up about the road agencies. This is a very lame excuse.
Why should you have such over optimistic programmes? These are Engineers and people who have been working on our roads for years on-end. So they have some experience and that is not a good reason, in my opinion.
The second point is about the quality
of work on the roads and again, no serious reasons have been given. But I can see that the quality of work is poor partly because the same contractors are the ones doing the work annually and so on, yet payments are always in arrears to these contractors. Therefore, the contractors would definitely do poor work.
If you do not pay them -- You are owing a contractor billions and millions of cedis for work he has already done and he is compelled to come for a new job with the hope that he would execute that job and cover up, and then he carries it in arrears again and again, it feeds into poor quality work; there is no doubt about that.
Another point is the classification problem. It has been stated in the report that they are not following the classification criteria and that contractors who do not have the manpower and the equipment to achieve a certain classification are still able to achieve that classification. The Committee on Roads and Transport must wake up and do some work on this so that they would give us a more concrete report and see how to go about it, because our oversight responsibility is heavy on us and we must discharge it. It is no use actually coming to recite to this august House a litany of problems without us finding solutions to them.
These are the few matters I noticed in the report and I wish that next time, the Committee should be more rigorous in their approach to the work so that we can achieve our objectives and get better roads to ply. That will help us to curtail
the number of road accidents that we have been experiencing leading to a lot of deaths and the destruction of properties.
With these few words, I nonetheless support the report, that it should be adopted.
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC -- Ningo- Prampram) 11:40 a.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion that this Report be accepted with few comments. I have heard comments about late presentation of the reports, technical output, et cetera. I think that we will need to be honest with ourselves: If you happen to work in any of the Ministries, you will know that there is low capacity; the capacity there is low. There are no Engineers because we do not pay them well; they are not attracted into the public services though they are very important.
So it is important that as a House we do something about that; that we put in a word for our engineers and other technical people to be well paid. As for the output of our contractors, many of our contractors do not even appoint engineers, not even Higher National Diploma (HND) technical men are appointed. The quality of the staff that most of them use is something that we need to be concerned about.
Mr. Speaker, on page seven, the Committee has also requested that we push through Parliament for approval the proposals for tolling of additional new roads. Mr. Speaker, I will join the hon. Member for Jomoro to appeal to whoever is responsible to ensure that the tolling is mechanized. I also request that the House encourages the District Assemblies to take over these roads.
In many, many developed countries outside our jurisdiction, the tolling is
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC -- Ningo- Prampram) 11:40 a.m.
So for me, I never like the privatization of tolling. When it is given to the District Assemblies, it will be a very important source of IGF and then you challenge them that the more money you bring we will also add matching funds to deal with the roads in your jurisdiction. So I believe strongly that we need to look again at the privatization and look again at the mechanization and farm out these to the District Assemblies. We cannot give them all the responsibilities and limit the source of whatever funds they have to bring in.
Mr. Speaker, another issue which is also very important is that the Road Fund advances money to the Road Safety Commission and the kind of road safety devices, the plastic road safety devices that you are seeing these days are so fragile that drivers are able to just open up by just driving through. So the purpose of making sure that they do not cross to the other side is not achieved.
I think that we need to look back and around us, at other parts of the world. Instead of these plastics let us use concrete pavements and raise them to the extent that no driver, no matter the size of the vehicle will be able to cut corners. That is all over the place. You go abroad and you see some as high as four feet, five feet and so you are physically prevented from creating havoc on the roads. That way you are really working on the safety of the people on the various roads.
Mr. Speaker, with these few words, I once again want to support the motion that

this report be accepted.
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu (NPP -- Suame) 11:50 a.m.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to also associate myself with this motion. First of all let me clear the air about the hon. Minister responsible for Transportation not being in the Chamber. Mr. Speaker, they all have to attend an emergency Cabinet meeting this morning. That explains why the Ministers are not here with us, especially, the Cabinet Ministers.
Mr. Speaker, the issue that has been
raised by my hon. Colleague who last spoke, the First Deputy Minority Whip, is the one I want to relate to. He raised an issue regarding the District Assemblies being allowed to collect the tolls. That is a matter that I believe we have to look at.
Indeed, I do know that in federal administration, the State and local governments are allowed to do that, except that they are also responsible for the maintenance of the roads. In Nigeria, for instance, when they did that, what became obvious was that with the maintenance of the highways, the States that are resourced -- the oil producing States, had their roads well paved, very neat and very beautiful.
But the States that were a bit distressed, they were unable to do that because what they collected from the tolls are unable to maintain the roads. So that is something that perhaps we may explore but we may have to look at the flip side as well, weigh the issues to see whether that is the best way to go.
Mr. Speaker, an issue has been raised
Mr. E. T. Mensah 11:50 a.m.
On a point of order.
What I am talking about is that there can
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
Speaker, this is a matter for debate. Let us have a look at it and see which is the best way to go.
Mr. Speaker, the other issue I want to
raise is the issue about the checking of the axle loads of vehicles that ply our roads. It is not for nothing that these lay-byes have been constructed to check the axle loads of vehicles. Unfortunately, we do not appear to attach any seriousness to this business of looking at the weights of the vehicles, the trucks in particular, which ply our roads.
I n a c o u n t r y w h e r e r a i l w a y transportation is almost non-existent -- of course, we do know that for bulky and heavy goods -- it is better to transport them by the rail networks. But in our own case, it is virtually non-existent -- I am talking about rail transport.
Water transportation is also non- existent and so it appears that almost anything at all that can be pushed into a truck definitely is pushed into it and we have scant regard to the weight of it. And it so happens that there is massive wear and tear to our roads and regardless of the specifications that a road is done to, over a few years, the roads start deteriorating.
So I think that it is one area that we have to look at critically to make sure that the transporters do not cheat the system.
A transport owner, a driver would want to ply once between Accra and Kumasi and make the maximum out of just going one trip from Kumasi to Accra with whatever load provided the vehicle can carry it. He does not really care about the damage that he does to the road. So I think it is one thing that we have to look at.
Mr. Speaker, a lot of people have talked about the application of the Road Fund. The law setting up the Fund is indeed clear that it is to be used for routine maintenance of our roads. But now we are using it for reconstruction and that really offends the law that we have enacted. If indeed we have spare money to go into these areas, what we have to do is to amend the law. Unfortunately, that has not been done and we are not drawing the attention of the Ministers or the Ministries to the fact that what they are doing offends the law; it is illegal. Maybe, they have to be told that if they have money to spare from the Road Fund on reconstruction, they have to come to Parliament to seek the necessary authority to do that.
An hon. Colleague has talked about the
safety at the booths. Mr. Speaker, one thing that is noticeable at some of these booths is that you may have on a very busy road, just one booth attending to the many vehicles that may be plying the route. When you get there, it is very inconveniencing waiting there, particularly when we have heavy traffic. Sometimes you have to wait there for two, three and sometimes five minutes in the queue to be served and that is not the best.
If indeed there has been a survey on the
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:50 a.m.
But Mr. Speaker, whilst we are addressing this, when we came to enact the law on the Road Fund and the use of the motorway, we decided not to exempt Members of Parliament. These days, with so many of our hon. Colleagues staying at Sakumono, Mannet and so on and with the traffic on the Spintex Road, many of them have to route their journeys to Parliament through the motorway and on daily basis they are paying twice or thrice and Mr. Speaker, I believe that we as a Parliament have to have a second look at it. We have so much been incon-veniencing our own hon. Colleagues. We thought that we wanted really to indicate to the world that we loved our country but I believe hon. Colleagues who are staying there presently are being greatly inconvenienced.
Mr. Speaker, another matter that I want
to talk about whilst we are on the booths issue is how we construct the roads at the booth areas. Mr. Speaker, it is obvious to any person with technical knowledge that where vehicles are stationery, they do considerable damage to those that are bitumen surfaced which is why concrete pavements are used at such places. When you have bitumen application at such places where vehicles are stationary, ridge and furrows develop at such places and why we are applying the technology of bitumen surfacing to such places beats one's imagination.
If one plies the Accra-Takoradi road

and gets to Shama Junction, concrete pavement blocks have been used and they are so durable. So I believe that we have to transport that technology to wherever we have booth construction and just make sure that we do not destroy the roads because a couple of years after doing the asphalted roads, we have to do the thing over and over again -- [Interruptions.] Mr. Speaker, the First Deputy Speaker, is seriously heckling me.

Well, I am taking a cue from him because I understand he has a report to present from the Appointments Committee and today being Friday, the Second Deputy Speaker, would also want to be in the mosque.

Mr. Speaker, on that note, I thank you for your indulgence.
Mr. Speaker noon
Chairman of the
Committee, you may wish to wind up.
Chairman of the Committee (Mr. S.
K. Obodai): Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. I think hon. Members spoke about the reasons for the delay of the Report. The Committee really found out but they had no apparent reason for that. We only urged them to present the next report on time and I believe that from the way they conducted themselves, they are going to comply with that.
On this note, I want to thank hon. Members for their various contributions and I would also communicate to the Minister, what should be told him.
Question put and motion agreed to.

Suspension of Standing Order 80 (1)
Mr. E. T. Mensah noon
Mr. Speaker, I beg
to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
Resolved accordingly.
Second Report of the Appointments Committee on Nomination for Appointment to the Position
of the Chief Justice
Chairman of the Committee (Mr.
F. W. A. Blay): Mr. Speaker, I beg to move, that this honourable House adopts the Second Report of the Appointments Committee on nomination for appointment as the Chief Justice of the Republic.
Mr. Speaker, the Report is a six-page report, a short one and I present it to the House.
1.0 Introduction
1.1 Pursuant to article 144 (2) of the Constitution, His Excellency the President communicated to Parliament his nomination of Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood for appointment as Chief Justice of the Republic.
1.2 In accordance with Order 172 (2) of the Standing Orders, Mr. Speaker referred the nomination to the Appointments Committee on 15th May, 2007 for consideration and report.
2.0 Procedure
The nomination was published in the mass media in accordance with Order 172 (3) and views in the form of written memoranda were invited on the suitability, experience and capability of the nominee for the position of the Chief Justice of the Republic.
The Committee held a public hearing in accordance with Order 172 (4) on Thursday, 31st May 2007 and considered the nominee. On appearing before the Committee, the nominee took and subscribed to the “oath of a witness before a Committee” and answered questions on a range of issues related to the appointment. 3.0 Reference Documents
i. Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992
ii. Standing Orders of the Parlia- ment of Ghana
4.0 Observations
4.1 Constitutional Requirements
The Commit tee rev iewed the relevant constitutional requirements for appointment as the Chief Justice, which are not different from those for appointment to the Supreme Court, namely; articles 128 (4) and 145 (2) (a).
In respect of article 128(4), the Committee found that the nominee has more than fifteen (15) years standing as a lawyer and therefore qualified. As regards the character and integrity of the nominee, the Committee did not make any adverse findings against her.
Checks conducted by the Committee confirmed that the nominee is sixty (60) years and therefore fully satisfies the requirements of the Constitution.
4.2 Resume
Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood is a Supreme Court Justice with thirty- seven (37) years standing at the Bar. She was born on 8th June 1947 at Bekwai, Ashanti and attended Wesley Girls' High School from 1960 to 1966. She obtained LL.B. (Hons) from the University of Ghana and passed the Ghana Bar Qualifying Examinations in 1970.
After a brief stint with the Ghana Police Service as a Public Prosecutor, she was appointed as a District Magistrate Grade II in the Judicial Service in September 1973. She then rose through the ranks to the Supreme Court in November 2002.
In response to a question about her experience, the nominee said she had spent almost her entire life on the Bench and indicated that her steady rise through the ranks to the Supreme Court had adequately prepared her for the position of Chief Justice of the Republic. She said her involvement in the administration of the Judicial Service, especially as the Chair of the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), has made an impact on the case loads before the courts.
4.3 Incidence of Mob Service
When asked if the increasing incidence of mob justice in the country is an indication of loss of confidence by the public in the criminal justice system, Mrs. Justice Wood expressed the view that the phenomenon should not be blamed on one institution but must be addressed collectively by all stakeholders in the society.
She, however, referred to the numerous reforms initiated by her predecessor in respect of the Fast Track Courts, Commercial Courts, new Court Rules,
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC -- Ningo/ Prampram) noon
Mr. Speaker, I rise to second the motion that this honourable House adopts the Report of the Appointments Committee. Also, I associate myself with all the sentiments expressed by the Chairman as to her eligibility, her not shying away from answering questions and that takes us to the need for us -- As members of the Appointments Committee, sometimes the way we heckle people when they are talking, as if they have something which should not be brought to the fore, does not help us quite often.
This morning the Committee was taken to the cleaners because of certain things which could have been addressed. The lady was prepared to address all questions but hon. Members were not allowed to ask the questions. Also the situation where we feel like finishing by all means on the same day does not help us because we are learning from other jurisdictions when people are nominated for such
Mr. E. T. Mensah (NDC -- Ningo/ Prampram) 12:10 p.m.

an important position. We have seen it several times on television.

In the United States of America sometimes it takes three days to grill the nominee. At the end of the day, we want to get the best out of the nominee because the nominee was going to be the fourth most important person in this country and we do not just push it through.

Mr. Speaker, my Chairman is here -- some of the issues which were raised on the radio this morning, I felt so sad because I had even put those questions down to put to her to clear herself. Sometimes the questions that we bring rather help whoever the nominee is to debunk whatever allegations there are and he or she goes out very clean.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that my Chairman in future and all of us will help nominees whenever they come before us.

With these short comments I once again invite the House to endorse the Report of the Committee that Lady Justice Theodora Wood be made the first lady Chief Justice of this country.

Ms. Christine Churcher (NPP --

Cape Coast): Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the motion on the floor. The list of achievements of Her Lordship is not in question. Mr. Speaker, she has spent all her working life on the Bench, and has gone through a steady rise through the ranks. Her competence, experience, vision, integrity and impartiality were not in question. She is very deeply religious and a chorister in her church.

Mr. Speaker, what struck me was her answer to the question about promotions in the Judiciary. She made it obvious

that nobody should take it for granted that because she is a woman, if a woman was not competent, for instance, she was going to recommend that the woman be promoted -- Very impartial.

Mr. Speaker, her admission of the weaknesses in the judicial system struck me most. But what again struck me was the fact that in admitting the difficulties, she was aware that what came up clearly was that difficulties mustered become opportunities won. She said she was prepared not only to come out with reforms but also continue with the reforms of the late Chief Justice to make sure that things improved in the Judiciary.

Mr. Speaker, her appeal to litigants to refrain from corrupting Judges is very significant indeed. Mr. Speaker, it reminded me of what Shakespeare says, “Who so firm that cannot be seduced”. She admitted that if litigants went on corrupting Judges and going to their houses and putting pressure on them, as human beings, they are bound to fail sometimes.

This open and frank admission, for me, was very significant. Mr. Speaker, there is something that Winston Churchill said which is very significant in my submission this morning. He said that the characteristic of a great man and by extension, a woman, is his power to leave a lasting impression on people he meets.

Mr. Speaker, I sat in not because I was a member of the Committee but I was most impressed and I believe that most of us were left stunned because she made a lasting impression on us. Therefore, by Winston Churchill's argument, the woman is a great woman.

Mr. Speaker, I am told that if the House

approves her nomination she becomes the only lady Chief Justice in Africa. [Hear! Hear!] But what surprised me was, the fact that she was a woman who did not bend the rules. Mr. Speaker, the world did not wait neither were any changes made because she was a woman. Why she was appointed was simply the fact that she is competent. She is experienced; she mustered the tide. Therefore, her appointment would send a signal to the girl-child that the girl-child has not only come of age but can get to the skies and that all women have no excuse to say that we cannot make it. Mr. Speaker, significantly, no adverse findings are made against her; the Committee unanimously accepted that she is worth the position that she has been nominated for -- a Christian par excellence.

Mr. Speaker, finally, let me say that

when this brilliant, impartial woman of substance mounts the chair as the first lady Chief Justice of this country, I believe as a woman that she would be able to add the heart to the mind. Mr. Speaker, she would be able to add some humanity to otherwise stiff ways of looking at justice.

I call on all my hon. Colleagues -- I know they are already in agreement -- to vote on a Friday like this, for this lady who is making history. Mr. Speaker, on her 50th anniversary, Ghana is making history because the first woman to mount the chair as Chief Justice has risen already and the sky is our limit.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am proud today that I am not a man but a woman, and a Member of Parliament for Cape Coast for three terms.
Mr. F. A. Agbotse (NDC -- Ho West) 12:10 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the motion on the floor and to say that I would plead with all hon. Members to vote for --
Mr. F. A. Agbotse (NDC -- Ho West) 12:20 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, we made a Statement in this House about the perception of corruption in the Judiciary. Because of that a committee was formed to go round the country to find out whether the perception was true or not. The committee of this House found out that it is not only a perception, corruption in the Judiciary is real. I heard her yesterday say that it is a perception. I want to remind her that the Committee's report which was sent to the previous Chief Justices says corruption is real and I am expecting her to continue the battle from where Justice Acquah ended.

Mr. Speaker, Justice Acquah initiated a relationship between the Judiciary and the Judicial Committee of this House which did not end only with budget hearings. He made it a point to invite members of the Judicial Committee to his office to discuss relevant issues concerning the Judiciary. I am hoping that when Theodora is finally approved by this House to become the Chief Justice of Ghana, she would not forget this House's Judicial Committee, but she will work with the Committee so that the relationship that exist now will continue.

Ms. Esther Dappah Obeng (NPP

-- Abirem): Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the motion on the floor. I think the nomination of Lady Justice Georgina Wood to the position of Chief Justice of the Republic is one of the best things that has happened in Ghana, to women in Ghana

and women in Africa as a whole.

I would like to make a few comments on her nomination. The first thing that I would like to comment on is her strength, her ability to work under stress. The lady was questioned for almost two hours -- intensive questioning -- and yet she was not unsettled or perturbed in any way. She maintained her composure throughout. This is one of the qualities that is very rare.

Her openness? Mr. Speaker, she was indeed forthright in her answers to all the questions. There is a saying that the truth always stands and she was truthful in all her answers. You can clearly see that she is honest and she is sincere, the qualities -- of a good Christian. Her openness - Mr. Speaker, she answered all the questions to the best of her ability and she excelled in all her answers.

I would also like to comment on her humility. This virtue was clearly seen in her ability to work as a team player and her willingness to serve and not to be served or lord it over others. Her willingness to learn came to light in a course that is being organised for her at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration


She indicated her unwillingness to apportion blames but insisted on collective responsibility to address the shortcomings in the Judiciary. There is no doubt that she derives her competence from her faith in Ghana.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, she is academically qualified and she has the experience to do the work. She is intelligent, witty, has good sense of humour and is beautiful as well. [Hear! Hear!] She is a good

Alhaji Sumani Abukari (NDC --

Tamale North): Mr. Speaker, I rise to add my support to the hon. Members of the Committee who have recommended our approval of Mrs. Georgina Wood as the next Chief Justice of this country.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that anybody who has seen today's issue of the Daily Graphic would have seen that the headline is that, women stormed this House. The women stormed this House. In fact, yesterday, I saw a large number of women up there, some in Mrs. Georgina Wood's Tee-Shirt, who came in their numbers mainly to give her moral support and to encourage her.

Mr. Speaker, but I believe that they must have left this place disappointed because this is a woman who did not need their support. This is a woman who is self- made, a woman who is very confident, a woman who can face any number of men anywhere and acquit herself creditably, a very intelligent woman, a woman who, in fact, was chosen, I believe, not because she is a woman but because of her qualifications, to be Chief Justice.

Mr. Speaker, I think that this is a woman who even from the Law School exhibited the qualities of leadership. She was not only very intelligent and brilliant, she was also mature in a way that one could see; and she could freely relate with any man or woman and would sometimes even give one tutorials on certain subjects that we were both lectured in. So from the beginning I would say that she was born to lead and I am not surprised and I am happy that she has been entrusted with the leadership that we are about to confer on her now.

Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Georgina Wood is going to make Ghanaians proud as a Chief Justice. In fact, yesterday when she said here that she was going to continue on the solid foundation laid by “my late colleague, Mr. Justice Acquah”, I said to myself -- Allahu Akbar -- this is the Chief Justice. I said to myself, this is the woman who will bring the reforms that we all require in the Judiciary; this is a woman who will make judges now walk around with pride and with their heads high; this is a woman who will bring credibility to the Judiciary.

Mr. Speaker, she proved me right by all the straightforward, honest, brilliant answers that she gave for nearly three hours without any sign of fatigue. In fact, I believe that her training at the Bench must have given her that energy to sit down here for almost three hours and still look very fresh and unruffled.

Mr. Speaker, I can go on and on and on about Mrs. Georgina Wood -- I believe that the President of the Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor made a very wise choice. [Hear! Hear!] This is one Chief Justice who I believe is going to play it fair and be just to all manner of persons irrespective of party colours. This
Mr. F. A. Agbotse (NDC -- Ho West) 12:20 p.m.
This is a Chief Justice who would even not come to the aid of her father when she could but leave everything for justice to take its course. There is no better person today to become Chief Justice of this Republic than Mrs. Georgina Wood and I believe we will all give her our resounding support.
Mr. J. H. Mensah (NPP -- Sunyani
East): Mr. Speaker, we, the hon. Members of the present Parliament must count it a rare privilege to be members of a Parliament that will give Ghana her first woman Chief Justice, and in doing so help to continue a tradition of judicial excellence of which the whole nation has reason to be proud.
Mr. Speaker, we became colonial subjects only because a century and a bit ago we agreed to accept the norms of justice that were being practised by the British and so we allowed a British appointee to take part in the judicial affairs of states which were sovereign Ghanaian native states. They were colonies at that time but we allowed a judicial system to become implanted here, which we admire.
Through the years our members of the Bench and the Bar and the associated professions have consistently exhibited very high standards of professionalism and integrity. Mr. Speaker, but there is no gainsaying the fact that at some stages the quality of the Judicial Service has not measured up to the highest standards. It is sad that the nominee for Chief Justice should have to say that there is not only a perception of corruption in the Judiciary but that she believes that there is a reality of corruption.
Mr. Speaker, I do not envy her, in the task of trying to restore an unblemished

reputation to the Judiciary, because as you lawyers say, justice must not only be done but must be seen manifestly to be done. And if the Judiciary cannot carry with it the dignity and majesty of integrity then whatever the scholarship, the quality of justice would not be sufficiently established.

Mr. Speaker, I would therefore like to add my voice to those of others who are calling on our new Chief Justice to continue the reforms of the Judiciary that had been going on for some time.

I particularly think that it would be an advantage for the Judicial Council to look once more at the institution of Fast Track Court -- We instituted them for a purpose. Are they achieving this purpose? Mr. Speaker, we do not want the Fast Track Court to lapse into the same mode and so on of the system that they were supposed to improve.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and the day before we spent a long time discussing with the representatives of the wealthier countries how they can help the development of Ghana. They made promises to us, which were very generous two years ago. But recently there has been some backsliding and one of the alibis for this backsliding is that our systems of governance are not sufficiently free of corruption.

Therefore, if the system is not honest, how can one entrust additional volumes of assistance to it? And one of the underpinnings of a good governance system is precisely the Judiciary. In particular, the business community is hampered by a certain tradition which I hope, Mr. Speaker, you and other members of the Bar, the legal profession would tackle.

It seems to be an established tradition
Mr. F. A. Agbotse (NDC -- Ho West) 12:30 p.m.
Let us support her by being ruthless with corruption; the Ghanaian tradition of, “Oh, you have spoilt her work, or please, why do not we …” that kind of thing will not do any longer because now there is great transparency and everything we are doing is open to the whole world; and they are watching with eagle eyes. Some of them want us to slip up and therefore we dare not admit even the slightest whiff of corruption to remain in our Judiciary.
As for competence, I think all her colleagues are testifying to her competence, and when she comes to deal with the moral problems in the Judiciary, I think the House can assure her that she will have the full support of all sides of this House so that once more the Ghanaian Judiciary will gain a reputation round the Commonwealth, round the whole world as an example of a good, honest, reliable Judiciary, an asset to the country.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you very much.

Mr. Kenneth Dzirasah (NDC -- South

Tongu): Mr. Speaker, I coincidentally happen to be the Ranking Member for the Judiciary Committee. So I am happy I have been able to catch your eye.

Mr. Speaker, I would also rise to support the motion and in doing so to congratulate the nominee for attaining the highest appointment ever in an institution as important as the Judiciary. Mr. Speaker, it is good to recognize the fact that she

rose through the ranks, which is evidence of fortitude and determination and also we are very happy that she was not imposed from outside -- There is the tendency for such situations to undermine morale. But once she rose through the ranks and she was picked from the Supreme Court, that is quite satisfactory.

Mr. Speaker, whilst I recognize the prerogative of the President in the choice of the Chief Justice, I would also urge the President or other future Presidents to exercise such prerogatives at all times so as to encourage the growth of high morale within the set-up, especially when it relates to matters of seniority on the Bench. I acknowledge his prerogative in its entirety and I do not dispute that.

M r . S p e a k e r , m y c o m m e n t notwithstanding, I must say that I personally have a lot of respect for Justice Wood. I think she has the requisite stability and firmness to steer the Judiciary through the current turbulent waters. Mr. Speaker, as a sign of firmness and show of commitment to principle, Justice Georgina Wood, I will recall, turned down an offer to come to the Supreme Court at a time when the Supreme Court was being reconstituted to review the decision in respect of the Fast-Track High Court.

It is my prayer that the very good quality of independence of thought which she demonstrated on that occasion will transcend all her decisions, especially on matters that carry some political colouration.

Mr. Speaker, I happen to know the nominee to be a very strong Christian. I have for the past few years had the privilege of working with her on the planning committee of the annual national prayer breakfast meeting of which she is the Vice Chairperson. On this committee
Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo (NPP -- Akim Oda) 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I sat through the quizzing of Lady Justice Georgina Wood yesterday . Though I am not a member of the Committee, one thing became obvious to all of us; she was very calm, collected and confident and it was very clear to those who might have seen her for the first time that she is a lady of substance. She is very well educated, well groomed and knows what she is about.
It will also be important for us to know two factors; that one, she started from Magistrate Grade II and she is perhaps one of the few Chief Justices who really started from the bottom, which gives her the advantage of knowing what happens at the lower courts. Mr. Speaker, she brought to our attention -- and I think this House should take note and try to assist her -- that the lower courts in this country have a lot of problems on infrastructure and support.
I think if you are talking about justice you are really talking about the lower courts. We are talking about the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court; cases are referred there. The ordinary Ghanaian justice is obtained at the lower courts and therefore we need to take note of that problem she mentioned. And this House, at the appropriate budget time, should make sure that we support her to strengthen the lower courts, to provide the relevant infrastructure to make sure that justice really is carried out properly at the lower level before people appeal against bad decisions.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Deputy Minority Whip, do you have a point of order?
Mr. E.T. Mensah 12:30 p.m.
Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
Yes, what is your point
of order?
Mr. E.T. Mensah 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, my
very good Friend, the Presidential aspirant said that this House in considering budgets should look in the direction of the lower courts; and as a former Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, he is aware that the proposals rather come from the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, so I think that the ball should rather be batted back into the court of the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning to give the lower courts good budgetary allocations.
Mr. Speaker 12:30 p.m.
You may continue; that
was not a point of order.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo 12:30 p.m.
Mr. Speaker,
there is an error which must be corrected. The budget of the Judiciary, under this Constitution, comes directly from the Chief Justice to the Speaker's desk and therefore it does not emanate from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning .
Mr. Speaker, I would also want to bring to her attention the need for the Judiciary to strengthen the department of finance within the Judiciary. Justice Acquah started something very vibrant -- to create a department that would report directly to her on financial issues. This House approved a retention of 15 per cent for the Judiciary from all their internally generated funds; and I think it is important that they take good care of it.
Mr. Speaker, I think we always say that behind every great man, there is a great woman . Indeed, behind every great woman too there is a great man. [Hear!
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
Chairman of the
Committee, you may wind up.

Chairman of the Committee (Mr.

F. W. A. Blay): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, just as all other Members who have risen to say they support it, I believe we all together support it. But Mr. Speaker, before I will take my seat, I also take the opportunity to comment on what maybe one or two people have spoken about, particularly the hon. Member for Ningo-Prampram.

Indeed, early this morning before I came to the House, there had been a call from one of the FM stations regarding the procedure and the opportunity we gave to Members to file questions for the nominee to answer; and I would say that indeed this has been one of the first open and extremely interesting sessions that we have had in terms of our vetting.

I remember very well that, for this Parliament, we have had opportunity of

vetting about three Chief Justices and in all cases none lasted for more than one-and a half or two hours. In her case, it was close to three hours. And all opportunity was given to individual Members to ask questions. Yet, some individuals instead of contributing or even asking questions chose to go to FM stations and to lambast the integrity of the Committee and for that matter undermine the integrity of this House. I would say that we should stop that practice; if we are to improve upon what we are doing here, maybe we all together can come out and do so.

But for the time being what we are doing here -- Indeed, people even mentioned some petitions that had not appeared before us or that had not come to the Committee itself. And people were saying that we should not have given individual members opportunity to even ask questions concerning those petitions. And this is a sitting Member of the Supreme Court. Definitely we must ask questions and we should not allow spurious and sometimes some unproven and unjustified accusations to be levelled at such individuals who are serving this nation.

Having said so, Mr. Speaker, I do say

that I thank hon. Members for the various contributions they have made and I will ask them to vote massively for the motion.

Question put and motion agreed to.
Mr. Speaker 12:40 p.m.
I shall therefore
communicate with the President of the Republic on the decision of the House.
At this stage any indications from the
Leadership of the House?
Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
Speaker, we have about exhausted all the items on the Order Paper except item 9, which we propose to take next week on either Tuesday or Wednesday. In the
circumstances, and today being Friday, may I move that this House do now adjourn until Tuesday next at 10 o'clock in the forenoon.
Mr. E. T. Mensah 12:40 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, I beg to second the motion.
Question put and motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 12:40 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.45 p.m. till 5th June, 2007 at 10.00 a.m.