Debates of 6 Feb 2014

PRAYERS 10:46 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
Hon Members, Correction of the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.
Mr Paul E. Aidoo 10:46 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was present yesterday but I have been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
Very well.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 5th February, 2014 as corrected be adopted as the true record of proceedings.
  • [No correction was made to the Official Report of Friday, 31st January, 2014.]
  • Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
    Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement for today,
    STATEMENTS 10:46 a.m.

    Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo (NPP -- Tema West) 10:46 a.m.
    Thank you Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity given me to make a Statement on the demolition of buildings in the Adjei Kojo Electoral Area, in the Tema West Constituency.
    In these hard economic times where the Government is battling with securing loans and other facilities to put up affordable housing for its citizenry, it is unfortunate to learn that some governmental agencies are engaged in the demolitions of houses. One such agency is the Tema Development Corporation
    Mr Speaker, between the 20th of January to the 27th of January 2014, the TDC demolished over 500 completed and uncompleted houses, thereby rendering over 2,000 residents homeless. This exercise was undertaken with over 200 police and military men on the pretext that the residents were squatters and some armed robbers.
    Mr Speaker, if and when a demolition exercise has to be resorted to, there are certain steps that need to be followed, such as performing asbestos abatement, removing hazardous or regulated materials, obtaining necessary permits, submitting necessary notifications, disconnecting utilities, rodent baiting and development of site-specific safety and workplans. Where these steps are not
    properly taken, as was in the case of TDC at Adjei Kojo, the act of demolition becomes inhuman and irresponsible.
    Mr Speaker, the often asked questions when these demolitions are done are 10:46 a.m.
    1. How did the residents acquire the land?
    2. How did they build houses and lived there for 7-10 years without being noticed by the TDC?
    3. What steps did the TDC take in that direction? What happened? Were there court orders?
    4. Why were the structures not pulled down at the foundation stage?
    5. How did they connect electricity and water without permits?
    6. Should the conduct of TDC, TMA and other utility bodies go unpunished when they have been collecting penalties and property rates, etc. from the so- called illegal residents?
    7. What reliefs were available to such residents, if even refugees from neighbouring countries are taken care of in this country?
    Mr Speaker, the effect of the demolition exercise at Adjei Kojo cannot be financially quantified. This is because it did not only displace people by making them look like refugees in their own country, but it has shattered the dreams and aspirations of their children. The children of the victim's went to school full of the desire of patriotism for their country and came back shattered, confused and afraid of their future.
    Mr Speaker, children and adults now sleep in the open due to limited tents which makes them vulnerable to the bites of mosquitoes, snakes and other insects. We cannot also overlook other vices that could rear its head, like rape, theft and so on. Children are not able to go to school any more. Food, shelter and water have now become a burden for a family which hitherto was able to fend for itself without support from the State.
    The impact of the environment cannot also be down played. The dust emissions that take place and the open defecation which is now the norm for the displaced citizens should be of great concern. This has its own attendant ailments and effect on the people. Livelihood that is lost in this way can be likened to a genocide and war situation and must be condemned at all cost.
    Mr Speaker, involving the police and military in such matters must be done with a great deal of circumspection.
    The use of extreme force by our security operatives could lead to serious riots; which may affect the peace and stability of this country.
    Mr Speaker, whereas the demolition of a couple of houses or structures may be overlooked, the mass demolition of over 500 houses by the Tema Development Corporation without proper administrative procedures, warnings and sufficient planning, whether residents are there legally or illegally is irresponsible and must never be repeated anywhere in this country.
    Thank you Mr. Speaker for this opportunity.
    Mr David T. Assumeng (NDC -- Shai- Osudoku) 10:46 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.

    I would want to suggest that, this issue, as sensitive as it is, should be handled by Leadership, in the sense that in 2006, there was a massive demolition exercise by the same Tema Development Corporation (TDC) but it was not raised on the floor here. I therefore, would want to urge that, Leadership take this issue up.
    Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
    Hon Members, in 2006, how was the matter handled, if you can help the House, to guide the Chair? How was it handled?
    Mr Assumeng 10:46 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, in 2006, when the demolition occurred over there in the same property area of TDC, it never became an issue even on the floor here. I think that it was handled by the authorities at that time and it ended over there. So, I am saying that on the same property of TDC in 2006 --
    Mr Speaker 10:46 a.m.
    Hon Member, you are the Chairman of the Works and Housing Committee of this House, if your comment is that Leadership should handle it, it is a different suggestion. If you are making the point that it has not been made on the floor of the House, it is a totally different matter. So, what is your submission?
    Mr Assumeng 10:46 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest that Leadership should handle this issue as serious as it is because, it has some implications.
    Mr Joseph Cudjoe (NPP -- Effia) 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to comment on what has just been said -- [Interruption].
    Dr Anthony A. Osei 11 a.m.
    On a point of information.
    Mr Speaker, it has been reported in the Papers that, the Committee on Works and Housing has met with Tema Development
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Members, I am not going to allow this Statement to degenerate. The rules are very clear.
    Hon Members, let me make the point very clear. If an incident of this nature happened in an Hon Member 's constituency and he or she wants to bring this matter to the floor, I will allow it.
    How we handle it, is another matter. But as the representative of the people, it is fair for it to be raised. After the matter is raised, it is for the House to see how we can handle it for the input of TDC. This is because TDC has no audience on the floor, so that at the end of the day, we would also hear the side of TDC.
    Mr Assumeng 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not true that the Committee sat with TDC; it is never true. That is not the case, please. I think he should withdraw that statement because it is not true.
    Alhaji Mohammed M. Muntaka (NDC -- Asawase) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving --
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, he was going to react to the point given by the Hon Member for Shai-Osudoku which the Hon Member for Old Tafo has done.
    Mr Cudjoe 11 a.m.
    Yes, Mr Speaker. I was going to comment on the fact that, in 2006, I was not in Parliament. Maybe, if I were here, I would have raised it. So, I could not see why in --
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Member, I have already dealt with that matter.
    Mr Cudjoe 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Alhaji Muntaka 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support --
    Mr Speaker 11 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Majority Whip, I will take Leadership and then I give consequential directives.
    Alhaji Muntaka 11 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement ably made by the Hon Minority Deputy Chief Whip.
    Mr Speaker, this Statement is a very important one and I, in my humble opinion, think that this is about the best time for it to be discussed in Parliament because of the issues that are involved. Why am I saying this, Mr Speaker?
    If you look at the level of lawlessness in our country, we, as the representatives of the people, must take this Statement serious and begin to deal with the root cause of the problem, so that we do not have to be dealing with only the symptoms of the problem.
    Mr Speaker, if you look at the Statement made by my able Hon Colleague, it is true that if you want to demolish a structure, you need to get a lot of things out: electricity and what have you.
    The people refused to vacate, how do you implement it? The most important questions which were being asked by my Hon Colleagues are the ones that I think Parliament should take serious. Who sold the land? Who approved for the buildings to go on?
    Why did they look on when the structures started at the foundation level? Where were the officers who were supposed to ensure that those lands were
    not encroached upon? Who were going round installing electricity into the houses when the rules are very clear that before you can get services into a house, the documentations are required? Where were those officers who gave electricity to these various houses?
    Mr Speaker, it is purported that, even property rates were being collected. On what basis were those property rates being collected? Mr Speaker, if it is true that all these things did happen especially with the property rate and then penalties and what have you, there is the need for some people to be punished for the unnecessary pain that they have put on the innocent people.
    This is because Mr Speaker, the facts are there for all of us to see. It did not start today, it did not start even ten years ago.
    Mr Speaker, the deficit in housing in our country is a real challenge. And because it is a real challenge, almost everyone of us as Ghanaians, our first ambition is to get shelter for ourselves and our families. In the desire to get these things done, Mr Speaker, even where one has a site plan and wants to ascertain from the Lands Commission, the authenticity of what is being sold to you, Mr Speaker, let us ask ourselves, is it easy to do that?
    It may be said that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but Mr Speaker, where people deliberately frustrate other people who want to do the right thing, is what has resulted into what we are seeing -- Mr Speaker, it is painful for any Ghanaian to put even one cedi into a land and wake up to the reality that she was not supposed to have been there and demolition is carried out without due regard to who sold the land to the person, or who authorised the person to build.
    Mr Speaker, TDC was not created only yesterday. TDC had been there, Adentan, Asawase, all these Municipal Assemblies, almost all of them have been in existence

    before Independence and the authority had been vested in the various Assemblies to deal with these matters.

    Why is it that now, there are these rampant breakages everywhere? What I would want this House to do is that, let us investigate these matters, so that the officers who might have given out the land and those who gave the approval must be punished, even if they have moved on.

    This is because, Mr Speaker, one of the biggest challenges we have in this country is that, if somebody is a building inspector, let us say in Zuarungu, he thinks that in two, three years, he or she would be transferred, so, he or she would not be there to deal with the aftermath of his or her irresponsibility. So, the person deals with it anyhow, he knows that in two or three years, he would be transferred, he would go and then somebody comes and says, no, this is wrong, the right thing must be done. Now, the one who is insisting to get the right thing done is now being seen as somebody who is acting in an inhuman manner.

    Mr Speaker, we need to interrogate this thing properly, so that we would be able to make recommendations to make sure that this thing is stopped. Mr Speaker, even as you and I speak now, if you go to Kumasi, Asawase Constituency in particular, the Kumasi Airport is located there, go and see the amount of encroachment there. Those of us who fly to Kumasi, when you are about touching down and you would see the amount of encroachment almost to the tarmac.

    Nobody is acting; they want to wait when it has become an established city, then, they would say they want to go and demolish it. They must begin to act in a

    responsible manner to prevent those structures in their smaller forms to be removed before they grow into bigger structures where human beings occupy them for longer periods and then they would come and say they want to remove them.

    Mr Speaker, this Statement is the right one at the right time and I think that this House must look into it very well, so that we can begin punishing those who give approval and wrong lands to people to invest in without knowing.

    We must also take steps to make sure that, when we want to buy lands, crosschecking about its authenticity should be made easier, so that when all these things are made and then people still go ahead and do the wrong things, we can fault them. But for now, everyone of us knows that it is not easy to go round these institutions without having challenges.

    Therefore, I congratulate my Hon Colleague for the Statement and I urge this House to support the Statement, so that we would interrogate the issues fully.
    Mr Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Members, I will take one from each side of the House.
    Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah (NPP -- Sunyani West) 11:10 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for allowing me the opportunity to contribute to this Statement ably made by the First Deputy Minority Whip.
    Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that, when public servants, after having failed in executing what they are supposed to do, end up getting innocent people to suffer their failures.
    Mr Speaker, why am I saying that? I am saying that because there are laws in this country, which regulate development, and of course, the Assemblies are empowered
    Mr A.S.K. Bagbin (NDC -- Nadowli/ Kaleo) 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as a lawyer who practised in Accra and had the opportunity of counseling a number of stools, particularly with respect to matters concerning the disposal of land, and as a former Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing, who had an oversight responsibility of TDC and also being a Ghanaian, who also struggled to provide shelter over my head, I think I can share a few experiences with this House and I would want to end by recom- mending that, not that the Leadership should take up this matter, I think we should refer it to the sector committee and maybe, co-opt some other Members to join them.
    I would want us to strengthen our committees to do their oversight responsibilities.
    I think, like Jesus stated in the Bible, the one that is not guilty should cast the first stone. I think all are guilty, so far as this matter is concerned. The State represented by governments all over the years has failed to live up to its responsibility of relooking at the earlier policies and laws that were passed by this country. The TDC lands were acquired in 1962. As at 1962, how many communities did we have around the area? Kpone for example, is a typical case. It is hermed into a very small piece of land just by the sea and they believe that it is only the bad things we send to them.
    When we are looking for landfilled sites we go to Kpone and in fact, they have been struggling to get space. Because now, the population is increasing, but almost all the land surrounding them, is Tema Development Corporation (TDC's) land. Then also, because of the type of development we are having in the country, we have the rural urban migration and if
    you want anything in Ghana, the place you look for it is in Accra. So, you have a lot of migrants into Accra and its surrounding areas.
    These are matters we have to look at as a State. What do we do? Do we still allow TDC to claim to own the land that was acquired for TDC in 1962? In fact, it is with these kind of things that we were compelled in the Ministry to cede portions of the land through Government to Kpone and other surrounding communities.
    It is true that even through this demolishing has been going on, TDC has been trying to protect the lands that we have entrusted to it through the Executive Instrument of 1962 and the mandate that we have given TDC, is it not ripe for us to relook at that mandate with the existence of Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), is there still the need for TDC, and if so, which area should TDC be looking at? We have to look at that.
    As my Hon Colleague has just pointed out, the laws establishing TMA and TDC are conflicting and there is a problem. It has ever come to this House before, for us to relook at the legislation and to see who is in charge of what, in that area called TMA. There is also a conflict situation there.
    Mr Speaker, it is because the State has shirked its responsibility, that is why individuals undertake the tedious duty of providing shelter over their heads. Is it the State that should lead in trying to get the essentials of life and one of them is shelter? That is it.
    Unfortunately, over the years, the State has not been equipped enough to do that, so, individuals invest all their
    life savings in trying to get a chamber and hall, and at the end of the day, the person is found to have violated the legal environment and therefore, punished the way TDC has just done to them.
    Mr Speaker, it is important to mention that, all over the years, Human Rights Watch has always mentioned Ghana as one of the countries that have been violating the rights of its citizens by this type of demolishing of their houses. Every year, it is always in their report and I think that it does not speak well of this country.
    We have very high democratic credentials and we should not be seen to be violating very basic human rights of our citizens. I think we need to look at that. If TDC felt that their lands have been encroached upon, there are legal processes that TDC could take. I am aware that they have a task force always battling with the landguards, and in fact, they have a military officer attached to TDC who has been leading that exercise, unfortunately, the landguards are stronger than the task force of TDC.
    Again Mr Speaker, the traditional authorities have always bemoaned the fact that, even if they had compensation in 1962, looking at the then compensation in 1962 and today, there is a vast difference. The understanding was that, long ago, all these lands should have been developed. Since its acquisition in 1962, we still have vast pieces of lands undeveloped, and can they continue to rely on what their great grandfathers received some years ago, which is considered now as peanuts to survive?
    Mr Speaker, these are the challenges, and I think that, the Committee on Works and Housing should have the authority to delve into these matters and maybe,
    Mr A.S.K. Bagbin (NDC -- Nadowli/ Kaleo) 11:20 a.m.

    come out with a report that can allow this House and Government to relook at the issue of TDC and the demolishing exercises that have been going on all over the years.

    It is true that this is not the first time, but this is not something that we should encourage or condone, it is something that we should condemn but we should assist the State institutions to do what we all believe is right.

    It is with this Mr Speaker, that I also commend the Hon Member who made the Statement and recommend that the Committee should take it up and maybe, report within a matter of a month at most, for the House to look at it and advise Government the way forward.

    Thank you very much Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Nitiwul -- or you would want to defer to Hon Member for Sekondi?
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:20 a.m.
    No Mr Speaker, I think the Minority Leader sent you a list that included other Members before?
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you have the floor.
    Mr Nitiwul 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, as Leaders, once we promise, we do not go back. I will defer to Dr Mathew Prempeh and later the Hon Minority Leader can get it back.
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minority Leader, you know that a number of suggestions are coming on the floor of the House. The Hon Member who made the Statement has posed a number of fundamental questions in the Statement and it is important that we look into those questions that she had posed.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul (NPP -- Bimbilla) 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement. I would want to fully support the Statement from the Minority Chief Whip. The Statement is coming at an opportune time, the timing is right, the content is right and it gives us an opportunity to relook at ourselves as a people. This demolishing of over 500 houses at Adjei Kojo is not in isolation. It has happened all over Accra and the country and the scenarios and the characteristics are the same.
    It is beginning to look like we have strong men who have access to certain security agencies and they use them to demolish houses.
    Mr Kwame Agbodza 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is mentioning a figure that sound different from the figure TDC gave when they interacted with the Committee. They mentioned a figure of 65 houses. So, I am a bit alarmed at 500 houses being demolished.
    In fact, the site is checkable; we can all go there and see --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Members, that is why I am restricting the comments. This is because an opportunity will come for us to know whether it is 1,000, 2 or 3 houses. So, Hon Members, let us just limit ourselves.
    Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, on the PNDC Law 11, a Judge gave the definition of a house to be any structure that has got to the lintel level. I think we should not go into that like you said. It is not what TDC says, it is what we find out. So, we should stop talking about TDC for now.
    Mr Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, it is not what TDC says and it is not what you also mentioned in your Statement. Because at the end of the day, we would go and look into this matter as Hon Bagbin said; the time has now come for us to take this matter up and deal with it once and for all.
    Mr Nitiwul 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the figure issue has been addressed, so, I would not go there.
    I am addressing my issue with regard to what is written in front of me; I am not going outside the Statement. It is exactly the figure that is in the Statement that I am quoting. So, just leave that one and we can make progress.
    But I support the call that Parliament should look at that matter very seriously. Mr Speaker, let me give you one example. I had the opportunity to go to Burkina Faso on the ticket of this Parliament and one experience that I cannot wait to share is that, Burkina Faso, because of the problems of the old city, has decided to create a new Ouagadougou and called it Ouaga 2000. Mr Speaker, one cannot build a house until there are tarred roads, water and electricity.
    One cannot. In fact, they would create a very wide road, do all the demarcations, put light and water there before one is allowed to build a house. Yes, they would service the place very well, Mr Speaker, before one is allowed to build a house.
    The issues that have been mentioned by the Hon Member who made the Statement spans over two political periods, that is why, as a House, we are united in what we are doing. This is because, we cannot allow the civil servants who are expected -- I used the words “political periods”, to let people know that politicians come and go, it is the civil servants who remain in the system and we trust their judgement to do the right thing.
    Why did we allow Sodom and Gomorrah to develop to where it is and today, we want to demolish the houses? Why did we allow Adjei Kojo to develop to where it is and today we are demolishing those houses? Mr Speaker, a pensioner who has invested all his life-savings hoping that his children can get a place to sleep when he is not there tomorrow, he wakes up today and has a house but tomorrow, he has no place to lay his head. What does one expect such a person to do -- commit suicide or what?
    Mr Speaker, that is why I support the Hon Member who made the Statement, who said that even if we believe that the squatters are wrong, or that TDC is right, or that the builder of the houses is wrong -- after ten years, one must do it with a human face. If one brings military or police, because they have guns and the man is helpless, standing and watching his own life going down the drain, it is very, very painful, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, the relevant questions like others have stated, are clear. How did the residents get there in the first place? The officers who are expected to inspect government lands or their lands, what work were they doing until such a time that these houses have sprung up to where they were? Were they collecting their salaries? Who was supervising them? Why is it that they allowed that to
    Mr Nitiwul 11:30 a.m.

    happen? Mr Speaker, why did they even connect utilities to them? If it was illegal, Ghana Water Company did know that it was an illegal thing that they were doing? Were they collecting light bills?

    Mr Speaker, the link is too intertwined; it is like a spider web. The only way we can solve that problem and unearth all the knots and get to the bottom, is to ensure that we look at it as a holistic problem that is confronting all of us. This is because slums are growing all over Accra now.

    Today, Mr Speaker, I can tell you we do not have any first-class residential area. Slums are growing all over the country; whether East Legon or Labone, we do not have first-class residential area; not at all in this country. Why did we allow that to happen, then after some time, we bring soldiers and police to demolish the houses? What do we want the people to do?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Deputy Minority Leader is not addressing the issue, simply because the Statement is on demolition and he is asking why we are allowing slums to develop in East Legon and other places. Is he advocating that there should be demolition in East Legon and those places too?
    Mr Nitiwul 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that this Committee looks at how we plan for the future of the nation. This is because if we do not plan the way the Burkinabes are planning for the future, we will come tomorrow -- In 2006, there was a demolition, according to the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Works and Housing. Today, there is another demolition. Mr Speaker, if we do not plan, in ten years time, we will be demolishing somebody's house. That is why we will have to stop.
    Mr Speaker, if we solve that particular problem and leave that legacy for this country, I know that your name and the names of the Hon Members of this House would be written in letters of gold. This is because, Mr Speaker, our people did not have places to stay. The little they have done, even if it is a mud house and it is demolished, it is not good. Where do we want them to sleep?
    Today, the over 2,000 people whose houses have been demolished, what is the State doing for them? Even the tents that they have, I hear they are being taken away. Mr Speaker, are they not human beings? They are other people's fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. I think, Mr Speaker, I am apealing that immediately, you get the State to do something for them. Even if they are wrong, at least, something should be done. National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) should immediately take interest in these people and make sure that they are, at least, comfortably settled somewhere, for us to solve the problem.
    So, I back the suggestion that we should set a committee, expand the mandate of the committee, make strong recommendations and reshape our path as a nation.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, do you want to say something?

    Deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing (Mr Sampson Ahi) (MP): Mr Speaker, I think this Statement is very important to all of us as a House.

    Mr Speaker, we are Hon Members of Parliament who have been entrusted to pass laws and our expectations are that, when laws are passed, those laws will be enforced. The argument going on here is between legal issues and morality, which is giving human face. The issue is, Mr Speaker, there are so many conflicting figures and questions posed by the Hon Member who made the Statement.

    That is why I support my Hon Colleagues who are calling on Parliament to actually take this matter up, so that the accurate report will be given to this House. For instance, Mr Speaker, Tema Development (TDC) informed -- in fact, when we met the Parliamentary Select Committee on Works and Housing, they told us that they demolished 65 houses. Whether it is one house or two houses, Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, we would go into those matters. You are challenging figures but at the appropriate time, the House would get to know the details. So, you make your brief comments and then we proceed.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not debating the figures; that is why I started by saying that I think there are some conflicting figures. That is why I welcome my Colleagues who are asking for Parliament to go into the matter.
    Mr Speaker, there was a question posed, why the structures were not pulled down at the foundation stage? Mr Speaker, when TDC discovered that people had encroached on that portion of their land, they made an attempt to drive away the encroachers. The encroachers took TDC to court and in 2004, the High Court in Tema ruled in favour of TDC --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Which year?
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, 2004.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    So what has been happening from 2004 till now?
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, when the High Court gave the ruling in favour of TDC in 2004, TDC organised themselves to take over --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, I will suggest that -- If the sense that is coming up from the House is that we should look into this matter, when it gets there, we would look into this matter.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have said that I support the idea to call on Parliament to look into this matter but this Statement is going to the public. It is now a public document and not until the findings of the committee are made available to this House, people are going to work with this document, and I think there are some few corrections that have to be made and that is what I am doing.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, let us have order in the House. Order!
    Hon Deputy Minister, wind up.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, there is an issue also raised that TDC should have given it a human face. Mr Speaker, already, over 900 acres have been encroached upon in that place and the TDC is in the process of regularising it for the encroachers. According to the TDC, the demolition exercise that they undertook at that place was mainly for those builders who built in the water ways and --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Deputy Minister, wind up.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    So, Mr Speaker, as I have said, I would want to say that we are Members of Parliament (MPs) and we are to enact laws. We expect Ghanaians to respect our laws. The Ghana Government acquired the land and then gave it to TDC. Now, it is the property of TDC and we are saying that it does not matter, we should leave --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Nobody is making that statement, nobody is saying that here.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I withdraw that portion.
    I thank you.
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Minority Leader?
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    To conclude, Mr Speaker --
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Please, I thought you had concluded; your last sentence.
    Mr Ahi 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I welcome the suggestion that this House should take the matter up, so that what actually happened and, the processes that led to this destruction would be made available to this House --
    Mrs Irene Naa Torshie Addo 11:40 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you would realise that you did
    not allow me to go into the merits of the case and I think the Deputy Minister was wrong to go into the merits that he thinks he knows. It is not the truth that any courts have given TDC all that. Other people have taken TDC to court and have also lost the case. There are pending cases and arbitrations going on.
    I think we should not try to be lawyers for or against any of the parties. We are talking about demolitions when the houses have been completed. That is what we are talking about; and that is what I would want us to dwell on.
    rose rose
    Mr Speaker 11:40 a.m.
    Hon Members, please, let us have order in the House.
    Hon Deputy Minister, take your seat.
    Hon Members, let me make this point clear. It took us over a week to fashion out this Statement. The reason I admitted this Statement is simple. When a Member of this House representing his or her constituency feels strongly that some- thing has happened in his or her constituency and would want to bring it to the attention of the House, as the representative of that constituency, it is fair to allow that person to make that statement.
    I tried together with the Leadership to frame this Statement in such a way, as much as possible, to avoid it degenerating and to avoid a provoking debate.
    That is why I tried to limit it to the Leadership of the House as much as possible, so that it does not provoke
    debate, the comments do not degenerate. If the House agrees that we should look into this matter, then why are we all trying to -- At the end of the day, the truth would come out. If we are interested in the truth, why are we working out ourselves to this extent? Why are we at this stage, not waiting for that time to come for the truth to be put before the House for a full-blown debate to take place?
    Hon Minority Leader, the last on this matter.
    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:50 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to also lend my voice to the Statement made by the Hon Member for Tema West.
    Mr Speaker, as earlier contributors have already alluded to, I believe the issue of demolition of houses must be considered in a very holistic manner.
    The deficit in our housing stock, according to the last population and housing census, is now in the region of 1.2 million and Mr Speaker, what -- [Interruption] -- I am talking about the last time. Now, it has been extrapolated to about 1.7 million.
    Mr Speaker, what qualifies to be described as houses in this country include kiosks and containers -- [Interruption] -- Yes, go and look at the records. The last housing census -- we have 100,000 of them in this country. Mr Speaker, to the extent that people live in them, quantify them as part of it.
    Mr Speaker, the issue about the number of houses demolished, you have appropriately sounded that we should not even be talking about which numbers are involved. If, indeed, the parcel is 10 acres
    as we are being told, Mr Speaker, 10 acres may not be able to contain the 65 that TDC accepts as houses that have been demolished. This is because it certainly would have to contain roads, streets and alleys. You would realise that 65 houses cannot be contained on 10 acres. So, along the line, somebody is not telling us the truth and we need to go into it. People are saying that the number is about 500.
    Again, if it is 10 acres, it cannot contain 500 houses. So, both of them are not being candid with us as far as the number of houses are concerned. But at the bottom of it, there has been some demolition and it has affected the lives of certain people.
    As has been alluded to by the Hon Member for Nadowli/Kaleo, he himself has been a former Minister responsible for the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
    Mr Speaker, again, the point has been repeated by the Hon Member for Sunyani West that in this country, it is easy for one to acquire a parcel of land but it takes donkey years to acquire the titles to such lands.
    Mr Speaker, we started what is called the Land Administration Project (LAP) over 12 years ago. The countries that have come to understudy us-- Uganda, Kenya-- have gone ahead of us and are implementing the LAP.
    The LAP is supposed to provide a one- stop office in respect of the acquisition of lands but we have not managed it. It has been lingering on for the past 12 years and we are not making progress on that. What is stopping us? The right to own property is guaranteed by articles 18 (1) and 36 (7) of the Constitution . But in all these, we cannot be oblivious of the indiscipline in land use and physical
    Minority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:50 a.m.

    planning which usually is occasioned by multiple sales of parcels of land. Who should be in effective control of this?

    I am happy the former Minister for Brong Ahafo Region relates to the situation in the Brong Ahafo Region, in particular the communities, Sunyani, Chiraa, Techiman, Berekum.

    They all conform to the grid system of planning. If you stand by the road side, you are able to see the farthest end of the community. This is because it was the colonial administration that imposed this and after Independence, Dr Kwame Nkrumah's Government retained ownership or vested the lands in the State and it continued the good practice of good physical planning.

    In other communities, it is a complete mess -- in Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi now and the other cities, even Tamale and Bolgatanga. Mr Speaker, these are matters that should engage the attention of all of us. We are all creating 21st Century's squatter settlements in all the communities in the country. But the issues that ensue from the demolition of structures at Adjei Kojo are matters that should concern all of us.

    Mr Speaker, first, as the Hon Member who made the Statement said, the manner of the demolition of the structures leaves much to be desired. People who had left their workplaces and having to be called back by children and other dependants that demolition was going on and if we had to demolish, could we not have provided enough warning for some assets to be retrieved?

    Mr Speaker, the least said about it is that, it was most inhuman and uncivil, the

    way the demolition exercise itself was carried out.

    I am told that the Assembly, that is, TMA and official spokespersons of Government at the time moved in to say that they did not know anything about the engagement of the troops. The question to ask is, in this country, who has the authority to move troops? We should be very circumspect in criticising the security forces. I think that we should also be blunt in relating to the truth.

    We are told that the occupiers are encroachers. But the question to ask is, what disabled the institutions from stopping the encroachments early? What disabled them, the rightful owners of the land, and I am putting “rightful owners” in quote? Did they sleep on their rights? TDC was able to put together a rapid response to demolish the houses. Why could they not resort to the same mechanism to prevent the encroachment? Why could they not do that?

    The encroachers, if so, to describe them, demonstrated enough intent to own the land by the several years they spent on it and started developing. We now have a situation where one State institution demolishing houses, to create, to be blunt with ourselves, internal refugees for another State institution to attend to the needs of the victims by providing them food, tents, blankets at the expense of the State. What kind of arrangement is this?

    People have already spoken about the provision of water, electricity, telephone facilities and so on. How did all these things get to these places?

    Mr Speaker, we are told the TDC intends to develop housing there. The question to ask is, when was the last time

    that TDC itself built houses? When was the last time that the TDC built houses alone? They have been engaging in partnership with other groups to do this. We are told that the intention is to sell the parcel of lands for housing. If that is the intention, why can the occupiers not be asked to upgrade the structures that they have to fit into the development plan of that area?

    The Deputy Minister has told us that they are in the process of regularising structures that have already been built on over 900 acres. What they have told them is to upgrade those structures. So, why could they not tell them to also upgrade but they ran rough hod over them in such a way.

    Mr Speaker, we must admit that what happened there is most unfortunate and we must resolve as a country never to allow such a situation to come up again, in particular, the manner of the demolition -- very uncivil, very inhumane.

    Mr Speaker, finally, let me indicate my agreement to the mechanism proposed that, this matter should be referred in plenary to the relevant committee. Fortunately, we have former Ministers responsible for Works and Housing in the House and I would suggest that we add some Members of Leadership and perhaps, leadership of the Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to team up with them to make appropriate recommendations in respect of this unfortunate event.

    Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity once again.
    Mr Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Hon Members, that brings us to the end of Statements.
    There is a strong feeling on the floor that this House should look into this matter. Therefore, I direct that the Select
    Committee on Works and Housing be mandated to look into it.
    I will consult with the Leadership and add some Hon Members from the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. This is because legal issues are likely to be raised in the process of the enquiry and we will add them to the Works and Housing Committee for them to look into this matter and submit a report not later than --
    Former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing -- Hon E. T. Mensah should join the Committee because the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliament Affairs is Hon Bagbin, who was also a former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing. So, he would also put his knowledge at the disposal of the Committee. Who else are we adding? Let us add them now. Leadership, let us add them now. You will receive a formal communication from the Clerk to Parliament on the matter.
    Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka noon
    Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest --
    Mr Speaker noon
    We are adding the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Hon E. T. Mensah.
    Alhaji Muntaka noon
    Mr Speaker, I would want to suggest if we could add the Members of Parliament (MPs) for Tema West and Adentan, because of the special interest they may have.
    Mr Speaker noon
    They should appear before the Committee and give evidence. Hon Majority Chief Whip, my view is that they should appear before the Committee and give evidence.
    Mr Speaker noon
    Any other person that we should add?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Mr Speaker, as you have informed us, I believe that when you recline on the directive that --
    Mr Speaker noon
    In fact, that was what I wanted us to do, but when the Leadership started suggesting names, I thought that they wanted us to take the names on the floor. But as I suggested, the Clerk to Parliament will communicate to the Committee and any other name that is found in that communication would be part of the Committee that will look into the matter and report to the House not later than one month from today.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu noon
    Except, Mr Speaker, to draw your attention that the Hon Member, Hon Albert Abongo, I believe, would want to show himself as a former Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing and craving to be involved in the matter.
    Mr Albert Abongo noon
    Mr Speaker, well, I think the Leader also knows that I am the Chairman of the Lands and Forestry Committee. Is that not also relevant to this matter?
    Mr Speaker noon
    I do not want this Committee to be too large. I do not want it to be too large. But I would add the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Committee on Lands and Forestry.
    I so direct.
    Hon Members, at the commencement of Public Business. Motion-- item number 4 --
    Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    Alhaji Muntaka noon
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is currently in a meeting with the head of the Judiciary. Fortunately, she sent her
    Deputy who happens to be our Colleague. I would, therefore, want to crave your indulgence and that of the House for him to stand in for her.
    Mr Speaker noon
    Hon Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice?
    MOTIONS noon

    Mr Joseph Y. Chireh noon
    Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    Resolved accordingly.

    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion and in doing so, I present the Report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
    The Anti-Money Laundering (Amend- ment) Bill, 2013 was presented to Parliament and read the First time on Thursday, 21st November, 2013. In accordance with article 106 (4) and (5) of the Constitution and Order 179 of the Standing Orders of the House, Mr Speaker referred the Bill to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration and report.
    The Committee during the consideration of the Bill, was assisted by the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, her Deputy, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine and the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:10 p.m.

    Intelligence Centre (FIC), Mr Samuel Thompson Essel. Also in attendance were officials from the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's Department and FIC. The Committee is grateful to them for their assistance.


    The Committee referred to the following documents during its deliberations:

    i. The 1992 Constitution

    ii. The Standing Orders of Parliament

    iii. The Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2007 (Act 749)

    iv. The Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 1987)

    v. United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, 2000 (Palermo Convention)

    vi. EGMONT Group of Financial Intelligence Centre Charter

    vii. Economic and Organised Crime Office Act, 2012 (Act 804)

    viii. Economic and Organised Crime Office (Operations) Regulations,


    ix. Interpretation Act, 2009 (Act 792).


    Money laundering, that is, “the processing of criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin in order to legitimise the ill-got gains of crime,” is a great challenge to economies of countries worldwide. It creates opportunities for terrorism, drug trafficking and other transnational organised crimes. It is a

    derivative offence that is committed after the predicate offence had been committed.

    Relentless and concerted efforts including the establishment of an independent inter-governmental body called the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are being made globally to curb the phenomena. The FATF was set up among other things, to develop international standards and policy framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

    The FATF recommends these standards and policies to member States to enact legislations and establish institutions to create a global legal framework to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing, and similar offences. The FATF also encourages and supports the establishment of regional groupings.

    The Authority of Heads of State and Government of West Africa (ECOWAS) responded by establishing Groupe Intergouvernmental d'Action contre le Blanchiment d'Argent en Afrique de l'Ouest (GIABA) in 2000 for the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in West Africa. This formed the sub-regional FATF. Each country was also required to enact laws to establish the right framework for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

    In 1995, a group of Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) met at the Egmont Arenberg Palace in Brussels and decided to establish a group whose goal is to facilitate international cooperation in the fight against money laundering, terrorist financing and other related crimes. This group is called the Egmont Group. As part of the recommendations of FATF, Financial Intelligent Units are required to apply for membership into the EGMONT Group.

    Ghana enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 (Act 749) in compliance to the guidelines of GIABA and FATF. The law was enacted specifically to prohibit money laundering;

    establish the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to receive, analyse and disseminate information on activities of money launderers among other functions. The Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 1987) were also made in pursuance to Act 749.

    Since money laundering and its related crimes are intertwined, adequate and comprehensive measures are needed to address them as per the standards set by the FATF. Recent events in the international community have however, shown that both Act 749 and L.I. 1987 are not adequate to deal with money laundering because they do not meet the standards set by the FATF and the EGMONT Group of FIUs.

    This is partly because the laws do not give the FIC the authority to exchange financial intelligence on such criminal activities with Financial Intelligence Units in other jurisdictions. Moreso, FATF, EGMONT Group and GIABA identified the following strategic deficiencies in the operations of the FIC in Ghana:

    (i.) Inadequate measures for the confiscation of funds related to money laundering

    (ii.)Inadequate procedures for the identification and freezing of terrorist assets

    (iii.) Money laundering and terrorist financing were not adequately criminalised

    (iv.) A weak and ill-funded and supported FIC.

    The deficiencies in our laws caught the attention of GIABA, FATF, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EGMONT Group of FIUs. Ghana was consequently blacklisted by the FATF in February, 2012.

    The Government issued Executive Instrument 2 of 2013 (E. I. 2) to establish the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Anti-

    Money Laundering and Counter- Financing of Terrorism. Efforts were also made by key stakeholder institutions to get Ghana off the blacklist. Institutional and legal measures were taken to improve the regime on money laundering and related crimes.

    A seven-member team from the International Co-operation Review Group of the FATF was sent to evaluate the legal and institutional environment in Ghana on fighting these crimes. Ghana was said to have exhibited exceptional political and strategic commitments and high level of awareness on money laundering. Ghana was subsequently taken off the blacklist by the FATF in January 2013. This dispensation was however subject to Ghana addressing other concerns raised in the Report. Hence this amendment Bill.

    Object of the Bill

    The Bill seeks to update the law on money laundering to make it consistent with the international standards set by FATF. The amendments are meant to improve the legal regime to enhance financial integrity in the country to make Ghana better positioned to fight these crimes. This would also make the Ghana (FIC) worthy of admission into the prestigious EGMONT Group to foster collaboration and facilitate the expeditious exchange of financial intelligence.

    It also seeks to strengthen the FIC in its operations in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other transnational organised crimes more effectively.


    The Committee observed that the Bill seeks to amend a number of the provisions of the existing law such as the provision of more details in the definition of money laundering, expansion of the objects and functions of the FIC, and the inclusion of some new provisions to improve the legal regime of fighting money laundering terrorist financing and other predicate offences.
    Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban S. K. Bagbin) 12:10 p.m.

    For instance, section 5 (c) of the Anti- Money Laundering Act, 2007 (Act 749) gives the FIC the power to exchange information with financial intelligence units in other countries as regards money laundering activities and similar offences. The Committee however, noted that there was no definition for “similar offences” in section 51 of the Act, making it impossible to classify transnational organised crimes such as terrorist financing as part of similar offences.

    As this Honourable House is aware, article 19 (11) of the Constitution provides that no person shall be convicted of any criminal offence unless it is defined and the penalty for it prescribed in a written law. The implication is that FIC has no legal basis to exchange intelligence on terrorist financing with financial intelligence units in other jurisdictions. The Committee noted that the phrase “similar offences” have been defined in the Bill to cover other transnational organised crimes including terrorist financing.

    Regulation 42 of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2011 (L.I. 1987) further provides that the Minister for Finance shall within three (3) months after the commencement of L.I. 1987 apply to the EGMONT Group of International FIUs for membership for the FIC. Ghana duly applied but its application was declined due to the deficiencies identified in Act 749. The Committee observed that the Bill seeks to address the issue to enhance Ghana's chances of being admitted into the EGMONT Group of FIUs.

    The Committee further observed that the Bill introduces a very key provision to empower accountable institutions to preserve funds, other assets and instrumentalities of crimes that are subjects of investigations. The object of this provision is to facilitate investigations.

    The existing situation is that accountable institutions are under no obligation to preserve such items which in itself creates problems for the FIC.

    Finally, the Committee observed that submission of Cash Transactions Reports that is very vital in the investigation of transnational organised crimes and the operations of the FIC was not provided for in Act 749. This has made it difficult for the FIC to compel the accountable institutions to submit reports on their cash transactions to the Centre. The defect is however, cured by section 13 of the Bill, which mandates the FIC to determine the thresholds of currency transactions for each accountable institution.

    The accountable institutions are to report to the FIC all currency transactions whether conducted as a single transaction or several transactions that exceed the threshold determined by the FIC. The Report must be submitted twenty-four (24) hours after the occurrence of the transaction. This would allow the Centre to follow up on all suspicious transactions and bring offenders to book.


    The Committee, having examined the Bill vis-à-vis other international requirements in combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other transnational organised crimes, is satisfied that the Bill, if passed, will further affirm Ghana's commitment to the fight against the money laundering.

    The Committee, therefore, recommends to the House to adopt its Report and take the Bill through all the stages. In doing so, the Committee proposes the attached amendments for the consideration of the House.

    Respectfully submitted.
    SPACE FOR APPENDIX - 12:10 p.m.

    SPACE FOR APPENDIX - 12:10 p.m.

    SPACE FOR APPENDIX - 12:10 p.m.

    Mr Abdallah Ben Banda (NPP -- Offinso South) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to support the Motion. In contributing to the Motion, I wish to make a few references to the Report presented by the Committee.
    Mr Speaker, it is worthy to note that Ghana has not been able to become part of the EGMONT Group because of the deficiencies that are embedded in the current law. Mr Speaker, one of the dificiencies in the current law is that, there are no clear-cut definitions with respect to certain offences stated in the current law. For instance, in the Report, it is stated that there has not been a definition for a phrase such as “similar offences”. It is in the light of this that the amendment becomes necessary and vital.
    Mr Speaker, anti-money laundering activities are done in a very fast and speedy manner. They are done within the country and are done outside the territory of any country; so, if anti-money laundering activitiy is to be executed and money is transferred to let us say from Togo to Ghana, if care is not taken, as soon as the money lands into an account of one of the anti-money laundering people, the money is quickly transferred.
    It is in the light of this that the amendment is being made, so that the accountable institution can preserve and reserve whatever money lands into somebody's account.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words I wish to say that the amendment is right and proper.
    Thank you.
    Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) (MP) 12:10 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity to associate myself with the Motion.
    Mr Speaker, to indulge you to page 5 in particular, paragraph 7 of your Committee's Report and with your indulgence, I beg to quote:
    “The deficiencies in our laws caught the attention of GIABA, FATF, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EGMONT Group of FIUs. Ghana was consequently blacklisted by the FATF on February, 2012.”
    Mr Speaker, this is the imperative which is driving Government to initiate major amendments to the Anti-money Laundering Act of 2008 (Act 749) in order that it will be kept in compliance with the guidance of GIABA and FATF.
    Mr Speaker, it is estimated that in the world, between five hundred billion to one trillion United States dollars is laundered annually. It has very serious social, cultural effects, it does have economic effects.
    We are reliably informed that in the Baltic States, they call it dirty money; eventually, it led to the collapse of their financial institutions in many of those countries.
    Mr Speaker, it is in this respect that I think that the amendment is appropriate. We are a developing country and we need to put in all the needed financial safeguards if that will help us deal with even corporate fraud and also allow us deal with movement of money at all levels in order that we can attest to the legitimacy of whatever money is being used or sent somewhere.
    With these few comments, Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.
    Dr Anthony Akoto Osei (NPP--Old Tafo) 12:10 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Speaker, any time an attempt is made to the compliance of international standards, it is a good thing. But in this case, my Hon Colleague said the imperative is that because we are not members of the EGMONT Group, we cannot exchange information.
    So, as I see it, we cannot do much unless we meet these conditions precedent. But as the Chairman was speaking, I was struck by a statement he made and I think we need some clarification, and with your permission, Mr Speaker, I beg to quote him:
    “Money laundering was becoming the order of the day.”
    Mr Speaker, that is a very big statement. I am not sure that means but my common sense means that suddenly, our intelligence service was getting a lot of cases on money laundering. How much of it are you talking about? What is the volume of money that we are talking about? It is important that we are given this information, so that we know what we are dealing with.
    If this is the case, then we are really in trouble. Now, we are not getting information from EGMONT Group, then it means that the situation is even much bigger than we have. So, we as a Parliament, must see the need to very quickly pass this amendment, so that we can get access to that information.
    Mr Speaker, I hope that the Attorney General and Minister for Justice will give us an idea of this order, that the Chairman was talking about. This is because I was frightened when I heard the Chairman that money laundering was becoming the order of the day. We need to get an idea of what is that we are talking about.
    With those few words, I urge Members to adopt the Report.
    I thank you.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice, is there any way you can give us an idea?
    Dr Ayine 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I do not have the figures right now, but I do know that we have cases of confiscation orders being made by us and we have access to those figures. At the appropriate time, if the House wants, I can make those figures available. But as far as the Financial Intelligence Centre is concerned, I am not too sure how much figures that they have in terms of the volume of money that was laundered in the system.
    Mr Kobina T. Hammond 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you very much -- just a little point.
    Mr Speaker, the Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice who just spoke, is a lawyer and he obviously understands the ramification of the use of certain words. I am so concerned myself about the issue that my Hon Colleague here, Dr Akoto Osei raised.
    When the point is made that money laundering is becoming the order of the day and this is published for the consumption of the entire world, what is the point that is being made to the whole world about the state of money laundering in Ghana?
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice would have to look at it and if it is appropriate to amend it. Of course, he himself says that he does not quite have the quantum of the monies involved, but at least, from his privileged position, is he able to tell this House that the phrase that he has used, the fact is that it is becoming an order of the day in the country, he has passed it? I am wondering if it is right and he might not want to really redefine or believe that or replace it with certain words.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Very well. I thought what he said was that, he did not have the figures immediately on hand but that if the House was desirous of getting it, he was in the position to let us have it. So, I believe we will give him the opportunity to furnish us with the details, so that --
    Mr Hammond 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point I was making was that, to have said that, he would at least, have some privileged information -- he has that. The House does not necessarily need all the privileged information, but from what he himself has, is he able to convince himself about the use of the words “has become an order of the day in Ghana”?
    This is going to go out, Mr Speaker. [Interruptions.] Mr Speaker, is it appropriate? So, if the Hon Deputy Attorney General and Minister for Justice cannot confirm --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    I believe that when we get the figures, we will be in a position to determine whether the expression was in order or out of order. Do you understand me?
    Mr Hammond 12:20 p.m.
    I do understand that.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as somebody who has been privy to this development, I do not think the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice's statement is completely out of place. When the Executive Instrument (E.I.) pursuant to a legislation was passed and they started implementing and intercepting monies for which people did not want to claim ownership, ranging from transfers outside the country, the figures were staggering.
    The only challenge that you have is that, because of the predicate nature of the offences in which these money laundering activities take place, they are
    under those domestics and external intelligence investigations. Whether some aspects of it will be appropriate for this House, is a question that we need to discuss. But I think at the level of Leadership. But I can assure you as a former Attorney-General, that if you get to know the circumstances under which those forfeitures, seizures and things have been done under the intelligence unit, it is staggering.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Well, I believe we have had enough on that particular issue. Can we make contributions to the Motion generally?
    Minister of State (Alhaji Rashid A. Pelpuo) (MP) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I also beg to support the Motion ably moved by the Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minster for Justice.
    Mr Speaker, it is important that we begin to align our laws with the rest of the world in areas where we can co-operate and fight crime. Money laundering as the Committee has observed, is one of the most serious areas in which crime can be facilitated because of the non-vigilance of countries. Our country is not different.
    If money is laundered successfully in any economy, what it does is that it supports the criminal effect that is perpetuated by some other people.
    The money is successfully then transferred into your country and invested into areas which support the same criminal tendencies, either because it is terrorism, drug trafficking or corruption or any other thing that circumvents the law and ensures that money is got legally and transferred into the system.
    Mr Speaker, I understand that this amendment will make it possible for the Intelligence Centre to ensure a more collaboration with other international agencies, so that we can have a more biting effect of our existing money laundering laws.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markin (NPP -- Effutu) 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Speaker, I heard the Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice and in moving the Motion, he did state the role of the international community in assessing our illegal regime and taking us off the blacklisting.
    Mr Speaker, listening to the contributions on the floor, it also appears that there is this perception that Ghana is becoming a base for money laundering activities.
    Mr Speaker, I beg to differ, in the sense that, the Report questions Ghana's political commitment and the legal regime at the time. If you look at the memorandum, what the Hon Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament said, is that Ghana has been taken off the blacklist because we have the institutional commitment to deal with this.
    Mr Speaker, I heard my learned Lecturer, the Majority Leader talk about the staggering numbers.
    Dr Kunbuor 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in terms of best parliamentary practices, I will actually advise the Hon Member that once you are a counsel in a matter on these issues, I do not think you should go to those specific details.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:20 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I will not. I take a cue. I am privy to the practical situations that people find themselves in when it comes to this perception of money laundering.
    Mr Speaker, let me state here on record that there has not been any confiscation of property which is tainted per the definition of the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) Act 804 and Act 749. What has rather happened --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:20 p.m.
    Hon Member, I believe you better veer off that area because these are very sensitive issues and to a large extent, very confidential. I do not think we would want to go into those areas.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think I heard the Hon Majority Leader say to my Hon Colleague that he knows him in another life outside Parliament and so, he was advising that he tries to be circumspect. Mr Speaker, whatever will help to advance the course of the law that we are going to craft, should be availed to this House. Perhaps, not in plenary but if it becomes possible, even to relate to it in a Closed Sitting, it is a way of not deliberating on some of these things in the open.
    If it is because he is a counsel in respect of some people, then we must as
    well also prevail on the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice not to go into these matters because he is also prosecuting people in this respect. But I think that we want the best for the House and for the country.
    Dr Ayine 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I have a public duty; a constitutional and statutory duty to prosecute where I have reasonable cause to believe that the offence of money laundering is being committed.
    Then I have a duty to this House to provide the information and data for purposes of lawmaking. I stand in a different position from my learned Friend who is a private practitioner and whom we have encountered in the course of law defending the other side. They are different.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Members, I think we should bring this portion of the debate to an end. I do not want us to go into too much by way of details when it comes to some of these things. As rightly suggested, if it means moving into a Committee of the Whole to hear the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice on these matters, fine. But in plenary, I think we will be going too far.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the only reason I brought this up is that, it may not have to be construed that what my Hon Colleague is doing here is anything untoward. And I am suggesting that if indeed, it is going to lead to some disclosures, then perhaps, we may move into Closed Sitting.
    As regards his constitutional duties, I am not saying anything that will derogate from that. But the point remains that he is also for one side; whether the State or for us as a collective; he is also for one side.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee (Mr Alban Bagbin) before we come back to you. I would give you the opportunity. Do not worry.
    Mr Bagbin 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, as the Hon Chairman of the Committee, I spoke for and on behalf of the Committee. The technical people appeared before the Committee. In fact, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Intelligence Centre was before the Committee and actually gave us a comprehensive presentation on the situation in the country and why our system is seen as a weak link in the international efforts at fighting transnational organised crime including money laundering.
    In fact, Mr Speaker, I just put a bit of it at paragraph 3.1 of the Report. We did not disclose the figures but the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) gave an indication; he said US$1.5 billion is known to be laundered over the world. In our country, there are figures. But I would agree with the Hon Minority Leader that if the House wants to -- the words that I used to know the details, we can do that in a Closed Sitting.
    The only danger is that some Hon Members of Parliament in their other professions are representing clients in this whole game.
    So, whether in those kinds of Sittings, we will not advise ourselves according to the Ethics and Code of Conduct of Members of Parliament to rescue ourselves if we are involved in representing clients in this area and allow those that are not part of the effort to listen to the presentation from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and the other units like EOCO and even the Ghana Police Service.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, before you continue, I would like to direct that this portion of the Report, as far as contributions are concerned, be brought to a close. It is very sensitive and it will defeat the purpose for which we are pushing through these amendments. So, as much as possible, as the Hon Majority Leader rightly cautioned you -- The least said about it, the better, I will prefer.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I thank you so much.
    But Mr Speaker, that point still has to be made that the so-called perceptions, and if I may refer the Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice in a matter that he defended, the Court of Appeal, per Justice Yaw Apaw, made an observation that in proving the guilt of an individual.
    Mr Speaker, I am referring to the Tagor case on appeal; it is not about the public perception or the things that are said or the sensationalism, it is about going to the core and going by the standard of proof in determining the prima facie and going further and getting the guilt of the accused so pronounced by court.
    Mr Speaker, what I am trying to put across is that I have been an active practitioner in this area of law. It is a new law that is developing. And I am saying that just as the Hon Chairman of the Committee said, I have also engaged the FIC C.E.O, Mr Essiel and the EOCO boss and we have had several discussions. And I am saying that yes, we have to make sure that we enact laws to go in tandem with international laws.
    But we are here, so much has been said about the international community. Mr Speaker, Hon Members of this House do not have US or UK or any other European country's money laundering law or FIC law to even guide us. Yet references are being made that to be able to be part of a certain community called the EGMONT Group, we have to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, are you a member of that group?
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:30 p.m.
    No! I am not.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    So, that is why I am cautioning you --
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am not going into details. Let me round up, Mr Speaker, respectfully.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    If you go beyond a certain point, I will be compelled to stop you.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:30 p.m.
    I will not. Mr Speaker, I am so much aware of the sensitivity of --
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:30 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the original law was passed in 2008. At that time, this House was presented with enough information on UK and other places. I think Hon Joe Ghartey was the Attorney- General then. I remember that this House was presented with --The original Act came in 2008. He is saying we do not have enough but I am saying it came in 2008 and several references were made to those types of laws.
    Mr Afenyo-Markin 12:30 p.m.
    Thank you, so much for that intervention.
    So, Mr Speaker, that goes to support the point; what has changed from that time and now? I am happy, such that information from other jurisdictions were
    available to this House at that time. So, we will enrich the debate and make good laws provided we get an updated version of what is happening in those other jurisdictions and make an input. But then, if a general impression is created as though -- I am aware of serious situations where people's accounts have been frozen for over five, six years, yet they were not given right of audience. People's accounts --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:30 p.m.
    Hon Member, I will stop you.
    Please, resume your seat.
    Prof. George Y. Gyan-Baffour (NPP -- Wenchi) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Hon Deputy Minister argued in two ways. First, he said the definition was too narrow. And then at some point, he was also saying that they were having a difficulty in prosecuting people.
    Mr Speaker, I hope that we are not widening this definition in order for him to be able to do any retroactive prosecution of any other people. That is number one.
    But Mr Speaker, more importantly, it is very true that we want to be part of the international community. We are part of it. And we want to be part of this EGMONT Group of IFUs. But Mr Speaker, we have to tread cautiously. We do not have to be carried away by being members of these international organisations, defining this so broadly that it may actually have a negative impact on the country.
    Currently, what we are facing here, this free fall of the rate between the cedi and the dollar is as a result of the lack of foreign currencies. Therefore, we do not have to be carried away by defining it so broadly that it actually prevents portfolio investments in this country. That is my
    caution and I wish that when we go through with this definition, we would make sure that it does not become so broad that it would actually prevent anybody from bringing their money into this country.
    Mr Bagbin 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the proposed definition is in the Bill and we would be going to the Consideration Stage. So, if he has any problem with that definition, he could at the Consideration Stage move for an amendment and if we are convinced that his position is correct, we would take that.
    It looks like Members have not gone through even the Report. This is because the Hon Member who just spoke did not go through the Report properly because we have referred to a lot of statutes and we could not give the comprehensive details of the statutes in the Report. So, Members are advised to go through those statutes. He knows very well that the problem with the prosecution is the fact that you see intelligence, is not evidence and that was where we had the problems.
    So, we are trying to look at it. It is also because our laws did not properly capture the international standards and I gave the reason as these were passed in a haste to try at that time to give an indication of Government's commitment to fight those international transnational organised crimes. That was the impression that we were given at the Committee level and that was why immediately after the passage of the first Act, there were amendments.
    Even if you look at the Anti-Terrorism Act, it was amended in 2012 and then, we have proposed to amend it again in 2013 but we are working on it in 2014. So, there was some problem and that was why we are trying to update the legislation.
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the statement that the first Act was passed in haste is not correct. It was not passed in haste at all. This was something that was thought out very well prior to 2008 and when the Offshore Account matter was being established, this needed to come along. It was not in haste, unless he is saying that Parliament in 2008 was in a haste; the Executive was not in haste.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Very well. I think the point is well taken.
    Yes, Hon Gyan-Baffour, conclude.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, let me just conclude, to confirm what the Hon Member is saying here, that we did not do it in haste. All the records were available, all the international definitions were available and that was what we used in this House to define it. If you have seen a new definition and you want to expand it, then it is up to you to do that.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Yes, Hon Majority Leader, is it on a point of order?
    Dr Kunbuor 12:40 p.m.
    Yes. I guess that the Hon Member should take the statement of the Chairman of the Committee in context because I happened to be very closely involved in that matter when it came. There is an entire loop of legislation that was going to culminate in the anti- terrorism one. We had not been able to handle those other legislations and I can give you one example, which we are grappling with.
    When we came to the Narcotics Act, we ran into difficulty because the one

    that was passed during the PNDC era had used the definition of narcotics based on the 1960 Convention and there was the 1970 amendment, there was a 1982 amendment and there was a 2001 amendment. So, we found out that, precursors were not captured in our legislation and we needed to deal with that as predicate offences towards money laundering.

    So, I am saying that we did not have enough time and all the knowledge on the related legislation that was to close the loop and make it a complete totality. Even we could not pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill which was supposed to come about that same time with it and they are so related that all of them needed to come about the same time for us to do the synchronisation that seems to be the challenge currently.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Member, just wind up and let us move on.
    Prof. Gyan-Baffour 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is also not true in the case of what the Hon A. S. K. Bagbin said, that we cannot talk about it. The principle behind this amendment is to broaden the definition. We would get there when we are looking at the law itself but that does not exclude anybody from talking about the principle.
    That was the principle that he stated. So, what I am saying here is on the principle and not on the details of the Bill, which probably, at the Consideration Stage, we would do that.
    I agree with him that we can do that at the Consideration Stage. But as long as he made that statement here, it is on the principle and that is why he brought it here. So, it is not out of place for me to talk about the fact that we have to be cautious about the definition even before we go in there to define it properly.
    Mr Isaac Osei (NPP -- Subin) 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I am also going to talk about the principle. I think that Ghana being a member of the international community has an obligation to accept the norms of the international community. In saying this, I am asking Hon Members to adopt the Report.
    First, I believe that it is important that we are consistent with international standards. We have to internalise these standards in our domestic law. I say this because it has become topical throughout the world that there is a link between money laundering and financing, especially of terrorism, and this is a matter which this Report, I believe, speaks to. No country wants to be associated with the financing of terrorist activities. So, I think that the Report has set out broadly, the objects of the Bill as well.
    I am concerned, and perhaps, we would look at it at a later stage the extent of the powers of the FIC. I think that is the area that would engage our attention as we go forward to deliberate on the details of the Bill because I think that is the crucial thing. It is possible that some of these powers may be subject to abuse by practitioners.
    So, Mr Speaker, I think that so long as we are bringing domestic laws up to the standards required of us by the comity of nations, this is good and we should adopt this Report.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:40 p.m.
    Hon Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice, you want to just wind up?
    Dr Ayine 12:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker and I thank Hon Members -- [Interruption.]
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I gave a signal to the Deputy Attorney- General and Deputy Minister for Justice and I wanted to know why in tandem with
    what the Majority Leader has indicated about the comprehensiveness of the laws that are required in the loop to situate ourselves within the context of Financial Intelligence Unit, in the considerations that we are giving, we have not come to confront the need for a Financial Intelligence Unit Act itself; because that is supposed to be the backbone.
    With EOCO, we are talking about financial intelligence, with anti-money laundering, we are talking about financial intelligence and then with the anti- terrorism that is supposed to be the backbone. But it looks like we are not confronting that issue. So, I wanted to know from the Deputy Attorney-General and Deputy Minister for Justice, the sponsors, why is it that we seem to be shying away from the pivot.
    Dr Ayine 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think the Minority Leader has a point there in terms of how we can strengthen the current legal and institutional framework for fighting money laundering and allied offences.
    What we have done, I mean Parliament, is to establish the FIC under the current Anti-Money Laundering Act and then to give it the power to make guidelines for purposes of investigating and enforcing matters relating to such offences.
    Also, you will have to understand the genesis of this piece of legislation and also the amendments that we are bringing. As stated by the Majority Leader, part of it, the reason was to take us out of the blacklist that we were on by some of the international institutions and some of our international partners.
    But I do agree with him that there may be the need for us to bring a separate Bill to establish the Financially Intelligence
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Members, I allowed the debate to flow because of the nature of the subject matter. I think we have done enough justice to it.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was accordingly read a Second time.
    Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, my attention has been drawn to the fact that item number 7 is not ready and would not be taken. In the light of that, I would like to move, that the House do adjourn to 7th February, 2014 in the forenoon.
    Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion for adjournment, which I believe is to 10 o'clock in the forenoon of tomorrow, may I with respect ask the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice to provide us with greater elucidation on my own confusion, maybe, at the Consideration Stage.
    I am too sure that the creation of a Financial Intelligence Centre which seems to shift the burden of proof on, if you like, the victim, situates in the context of our Constitution, the presumption of innocence.
    Strictly speaking, if tomorrow, waking up I find maybe, some amount in my account, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice or indeed, the banks could question where I got it from. The burden of proof is on me the person who benefits and not on the State to initiate proceedings to establish --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Hon Minority Leader, do you not think this will be more appropriate at the time of consideration?
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, that is why I am saying that I would require further illumination on it as you move along because the Motion for adjournment has already been moved.
    Dr Ayine 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, this is a simple one. I will refer the Minority Leader to article 19 of the Constitution. Article 19 makes it possible for the onus of proof, that is the burden of proof to be shifted if Parliament so decides and that was what we did in the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
    When the burden of proof is shifted under article 19, then you have not undermined the principle of the presumption of innocence.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    Thank you very much. But before I put the Question --
    Dr A. A. Osei 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Motion has been moved. It has not been properly seconded. He said before he seconds it, he went on a path, then he sat down. I did not hear, “with that I second the Motion”. The records will show.
    Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:50 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, duly seconded.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 12:50 p.m.
    But before I put the Question, yesterday, during the proceedings, after the Public Accounts
    Committee's Report on three of the areas, it was directed that the Chairman of the Committee meets with the Leadership. I think I forgot to add the Ranking Member. So, I direct that the Ranking Member be made part of that team to meet with Leadership.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 12:50 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.57 p.m. till Friday, 7th February, 2014 at 10.00 a.m.