Debates of 1 Dec 2018

PRAYERS 10:04 a.m.


Mr Robert A. Apodolloa (Deputy Clerk) 10:04 a.m.
Hon Members, I wish to inform you of the unavoidable absence of both the Rt Hon Speaker and the Hon First Deputy Speaker. As a result of that, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker shall perform the duties and exercise the authority of the Rt Hon Speaker in accordance with Standing Order 13 (2 and 3).
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:04 a.m.
Hon Members, we would move on to the Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:04 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member for Kumbungu?
Mr Ras Mubarak 10:04 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:04 a.m.
The Table Office should take note of that.
Page 10…18
Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 30th November, 2018, as corrected, is accordingly adopted as the true record of proceedings.
Hon Members, we would now move on to item numbered 3 on the Order Paper -- Statements.
Hon Members, one Statement has been admitted to be read today, and it stands in the name of the Hon Member for Ho West -- The Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah.
Hon Member, you may read the Statement.
STATEMENTS 10:14 a.m.

Mr Emmanuel K. Bedzrah (NDC -- Ho West) 10:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make this Statement as part of activities of education, awareness and advocacy to observe the declaration of this year, 2018, by the African Union as the Year of Anti-Corruption.
Mr Speaker, the African Union (AU) at its 30th Assembly of Heads of States and Governments held in January 2018 declared the year 2018 as the African Anti- Corruption Year. The Summit was held
under the theme: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation”.
Mr Speaker, in 2003, African States adopted the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption as a continental framework to fight the scourge of corruption in Africa. Since then, governments and non-governmental actors have campaigned relentlessly to raise awareness about the devastating impacts of corruption on governance, service delivery, human rights and socio- economic development of the continent.
Despite the strides and the demand for systemic change, corruption continues to be endemic on the African continent. From poor infrastructure, unequal access to healthcare and medicine, and political choices distorted by money and greed, corruption continues to serve as a bane towards Africa's development.
Mr Speaker, according to Transparency International, a leading global watchdog on corruption, six out of ten countries considered most corrupt in the world for the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. The African Union also estimates corruption cost to the continent at about US$150 billion annually, an amount that is about seven times of the amount received by sub- Saharan Africa as Aid.
Mr Speaker, these alarming statistics and developments at continental levels were what drew the attention of the continental body to declare the year 2018 as the Year of Anti-Corruption in Africa to raise awareness and drum home the toll corruption is taking on the trans- formational agenda of the continent and to tackle it with a sense of urgency.
Mr Speaker, back home in Ghana, the story is not significantly different. Ghana is on record to be losing an estimated
amount of US$3 billion of taxpayers' money to corrupt activities, an amount that is about three times the money spent on free Senior High School programme last year.
Mr Speaker, corruption on the continent has become a cancerous cell in our social fibre such that the more it is fought, the more it appears to be on the rise. The situation is such that anywhere an individual goes, that individual is likely to encounter issues of corruption. It is time issues of corruption are dealt with just like “bread and butter” issues.
Mr Speaker, winning the fight against poverty will be out of reach if issues of corruption are left on the backburner. This is why the African Parliamentarians' Network against Corruption (APNAC) - Ghana, in fulfilment of our mission, has resolved to join all forces to combat corruption in all forms with the support of civil society organisations and the general public.
Mr Speaker, APNAC-Ghana at its recent Workshop held at Aqua Safari Resort in Ada, within the framework of the AU declaration on corruption, acknowledged and noted that more needed to be done by Ghana to reflect envisaged outcomes of the declaration of this year 2018 as the African Anti- Corruption Year.
To this end, APNAC-Ghana with the concurrence of Civil Society Organi- sations and anti-corruption agencies present at the Workshop declared the first Monday of every Month starting next month, December, 2018, as an Anti- Corruption Day to battle corruption in the country.
On that day, APNAC-Ghana calls for citizens action against corruption. By citizens action, APNAC-Ghana calls on;
Mr Collins Owusu Amankwah (NPP -- Manyia North) 10:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member of Parliament for Ho West, and also the Chairman for the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption.
Mr Speaker, corruption, in my view, is simply a dishonest dealing. Corruption increases cost of doing business. It reduces revenue to the State, leads to capital flight and inflates cost of running government.
Corruption as a discipline may take many forms, be it bribery, cronyism, nepotism, favouritism, kleptocracy, embezzlement, legal plunder, presidential
filing fee -- [Laughter] -- human trafficking, drug trafficking, and many more.
Mr Speaker, it is an incontrovertible fact that Africa alone loses over US$150 billion annually.
Some Hon Members 10:24 a.m.
Mr Amankwah 10:24 a.m.
The source is Ghana Integrity Initiative's website.
Mr Speaker, I am happy that the Hon Chairman touched on our own case, that every year Ghana loses a colossal amount of US$3 billion. Mr Speaker, I was highly astonished when the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) came out with a report that corruption forms 300 per cent of Ghana's foreign aid. This is a very serious matter.
Mr Speaker, my concern has to do with how corruption has affected the socio- economic development of our country. Mr Speaker, because of corruption, somebody is wallowing in abject poverty and could not complete school or cannot afford two square meals a day. This is a very serious social canker and it must be battled from all angles.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, I would want to quote article 284 under Chapter Twenty-Four of the 1992 Constitution, “Code of Conduct for Public Officers”, and with your kind permission, I beg to read:
“A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.”

Mr Speaker, people are threatened with the presidential nomination fees pegged at GH¢c420, 000. It is not --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Member, this is a Statement and it is not meant to provoke debate. So, please, just veer away from that area.
Mr Amankwah 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, we should do away with dubious judgement debts and questionable settlements.
Mr Speaker, fighting corruption needs a conscious effort. It must be a collective responsibility not only on any individual but on all of us as a group, not only on the state institutions that have been mandated to, as it were, fight corruption but the citizenry must also be actively involved.
Mr Speaker, we need to equip, support and provide institutions mandated to fight corruption with enhanced financial resources so as to recruit, train and combat corruption effectively. Mr Speaker, I would want to state here that -- and this is my personal view -- we have over 20 legislations on anti-corruption in this country.
So in my view, it is not about legislative reforms that would curb corruption in this country. It has to do with attitudinal change. Mr Speaker, we must change our corrupt mindset as a people and the way we do things in this country. We must think about the country and how to maximise the welfare of even the ordinary
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
I recognise Hon Dr Zanetor Agyeman- Rawlings. She has suddenly been propelled to the Leadership bench and she is on the front row.
An Hon Member 10:24 a.m.
Comfortable lead.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Comfortable lead? That is good. [Laughter]
10. 34 a. m.
Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings (NDC -- Klottey Korle) 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement and to make a short contribution with regard to the issue of corruption.
Mr Speaker, good governance is the pillar of democracy and under that, we have transparency, accountability and probity all of which add to the issues of fighting corruption. Mr Speaker, it must be emphasised that corruption is not a disease that should only be diagnosed among politicians or civil servants.
This is a disease that is diagnosed in all human beings and therefore, it is important that even as we talk about corruption, which has become almost a cliché, we must define what it means so that people understand exactly what corruption means.
This is because, as we keep talking about corruption and how to deal with it, the essence of what it means might be lost on certain people who feel that if one is not a politician or in the civil service, then anything he does cannot be deemed as corrupt. But corruption is something that affects all levels of society and in all sectors as well.
The importance of dissecting and defining corruption to every member of the public -- to our young children in schools -- is to ensure that the fight of corruption is not one that is seen in only the political elites supposedly or only
those who award contracts. Could it be said that if someone is receiving a month's salary and is asking for a token to do his job, is that also corruption?
Mr Speaker, when it comes to the issue of corruption, as it is with many other vices, it is a question of supply and demand. Who and what are driving corruption in Ghana?
The over monetisation of politics is one of the key drivers of this phenomenon. So as we have the blame of corruption being placed on the shoulders of politicians, we must also ask, who are those putting unreasonable demands on the politicians?
We must all look in the mirror not just as office holders but as members of this society and as citizens, to see in what way we are all contributing towards the establishment of corruption in our society.
Institutions are made up of people and corruption is something that only occurs where people are. In the absence of people, you cannot have corruption.
Therefore Mr Speaker, I would urge that as we talk about corruption as Members of this House, we also urge the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) to breakdown what it means so that everyone understands where they fit into in the matrix when it comes to the issue of corruption. And it is only on that way could we as a nation, address the issue of corruption very thoroughly.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
[Hear! Hear!] --
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (NPP-- Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for your kindness. And I congratulate the Hon Member who made the
Statement because it is a very important and topical issue in our country and it is worthy of praises that the Hon Member nudged us this morning by bringing this matter up.
Mr Speaker, I believe that if we go into history, especially, from the days of military interventions and the aftermaths and effects of that, a lot of nuance has been put on the interpretation of what corruption actually means.
Ghana as a country has moved on.
Mr Speaker, it is also important to acknowledge that the Hon Member who made the Statement spoke about corruption in a much broader context; a celebration of a year assigned by the African Union (AU). So it is beyond the frontiers of our country; it is the whole African continent that this matter concerns. But there are a few considerations relative to what happens in our country.
Mr Speaker, I believe that in our bid to fight corruption, issues on structures and institutions are so important. And as my Hon Colleague, Mr Amankwah, rightly mentioned, we have a plethora of legislations and more often than not, we tend to yield the tendency to pass more legislations.
Probably, we may have to also pause and do some retrospection; what has been the effect of the sea of relevant legislations that we have in place? Since 1992, all the relevant laws we have passed, relative to fighting and controlling corruption, what has been their ultimate effect in fighting the canker? I believe it is important we do that retrospection.
Mr Speaker, as regards the last check I made, almost a decade ago, it was only the last year's Budget Statement that in real terms, made the largest allocation to the CHRAJ. For a long time, CHRAJ as one of the critical institutions to fight
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon A. B. A. Fuseini?
Alhaji B.A.F. Alhassan 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sure the Hon Colleague is not only eliciting debate, he is forcing a debate on this matter; a Statement must not. And with your guidance, I would like to remind him that, if one has his anus stack full of cotton wool, one does not jump over a bonfire.
I am sure he is trying to force this other Side; he is politicising the issue of corruption which all of us are debating as an issue devoid of partisan politics. And I am sure that all other speakers before him have been very careful to ensure that all of us develop a national consensus for us to fight corruption and not to make it an issue of partisan political football.
So, Mr Speaker, I seek your guidance on this matter so that he would be appropriately advised.
Thank you.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Member, I actually did not get the point you have raised apart from saying at the end that you wanted my guidance as to whether he is injecting partisanship. Is that what you want me to guide you on or you are raising a point of order?
Alhaji B.A.F. Alhassan 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, he tried to stray into partisan politics in respect of indicating that somebody from the other Side of the political divide was appointed to fight corruption. And we are talking about issues -- [Interruption.]- - Mr Speaker, it is not the issue of making the point about fighting corruption but he is trying to stand the odds against this Side of the House, and in that, provoke a debate.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I was listening to my Hon Colleague. Yes, he mentioned the fact that the Hon Martin Amidu has been appointed the Special Prosecutor and that he is from the other Side of the political spectrum. Mr Speaker, I do not see partisanship in this.
I consider the Hon A. B. A's intervention to be his contribution to this subject. Otherwise, really, I hardly see what he wanted to say.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:24 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, let me listen to Hon Dr Heloo.
Dr (Mrs) Bernice Adiku Heloo 10:24 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Hon Martin Amidu has always made the point that he is neutral;
he said it during the vetting and it could be verified. So, I do not see why our Hon Colleague is saying that he is from the other Side. The man says he is neutral.
Thank you.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:44 a.m.
Well, Hon Member, what has just happened is enough evidence to indicate that you are going beyond the premises of the Statement, so be guided by that.
I also disagree with you because this is not the first time in the history of Ghana that somebody of that colour has been appointed to lead an anti-corruption crusade.
You might need to read from the First Republic, and you would see that attempts were made even then to get people from the other Side to lead anti- corruption institutions to fight corruption.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh 10:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am grateful and I take a cue accordingly. However, it is interesting that when dry bones are mentioned, old women get unduly worried.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:44 a.m.
Please, Hon Member, do not try to impute anything in this Statement. This is because all of us are guilty of this crime of corruption and the first step towards fighting it is the recognition and admission that we are all at fault. Then from there, we could together fight it.
However, when you keep on pointing fingers at others, four fingers are pointed at you and one is pointed at them. So
please let us move away and make sure that we would take this the way it has been presented by the Hon Member who made the Statement.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh 10:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, may you live long and succeed in all your endeavours. [Laughter.]
Some Hon Members 10:44 a.m.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:44 a.m.
You were not here yesterday when I said this unholy alliance to undermine - [Laughter] I do not know how people would vote for me to win. [Laughter.]
This is on the lighter side, you can go on.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh 10:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, it is very interesting indeed and I intend to stay on course.
We have done a few things in our country that we have to be proud of. As I earlier elucidated, concerning the plethora of laws, we have done so well and have the right regime in terms of relevance and abundance of laws to fight corruption.
Mr Speaker, beyond that, we need a strong civil society. I ask myself if Ghana is heading towards this area, and the answer is yes.
Since the dawn of independence, from 1992 when we started multiparty democracy to date, the number of civil society groups and their relevance are on course and we are doing very well in that regard. The repeal of the criminal libel law is a milestone achievement that we have to be proud of.
Mr Speaker, I agree that we need to show regrets of the shortfalls and

difficulties that we have in our fight against corruption. We also need to celebrate the good things that we have done and these are some of the things I would touch on -- presence of institutions, structures and personalities.

Hon Owusu Amankwah mentioned leadership and that is very important. Impression and leadership are everything in politics. Whoever is leading the fight, notwithstanding the strength --

Obama came to this country and advised us that we need strong institutions. However, the institutions are manned by human beings, so the personalities who head the institutions that we have, right from the President to the last person, must portray a certain character trait. That would dovetail into the expectation of personality character. That is so important and an area we need to look at.

We must show love for our country; patriotism. Hon Agyeman-Rawlings mentioned the relevance of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). The NCCE would have to improve upon their game.

Two decades ago, the relevance of the NCCE was so real. They were up and relevant in prosecuting matters related to citizenry and patriotism. These days, they are lacking and I plead that we revert our minds to the regime and what they are supposed to embark on.

On resources---- in a decade, this is the first time the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has been given the highest budgetary allocation in real terms. Rome was not built in a day. We are making certain overtures towards it but I agree that we need to give them the necessary wherewithal to prosecute their agenda.

Mr Speaker, all put together, it is good that we start the campaign from this House. Also, corruption should not be discussed only in Parliament. We should not appreciate it only when it comes to frontal politicians. In our homes, churches and mosques, there are possible acts of corruption. So it is part of our societal lives and it is important we all begin to talk about it.

I must say that for Ghana as a country, under the leadership of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, there is a certain paradigm shift and a renewal of strength in terms of the fight against corruption. There is no doubt about this.

Mr Speaker, let us also distinguish sweeping allegations from allegations that are worthy of investigation. Then we need to encourage our citizens to talk about corrupt practices and also ensure that we deal with corruption at especially the budding stage.

In conclusion, one of the things we need to pay particular attention to is our traditional leaders. In our fight against corruption, while we talk about relevant laws, institutions and structures, we cannot gloss over the role that could be played by our traditional leadership.

They have been with us since time immemorial and they understand best the cultural tenets of our country. We need to rope them in to play some role in our fight against corruption.

Again, I doff my cap to the Hon Member who made the Statement and encourage that we begin to entertain Statements of this nature more in this House as we move forward.

Mr Speaker, thank you for your kindness.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:44 a.m.
The last contribution before Leadership.
I think Hon Ras Mubarak has been on his feet a number of times.
Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC-- Kumbungu) 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful.
This is a very crucial Statement and I would begin by saying that nothing is worse for a democracy than corruption. This is because the people's money clearly has no political party.
Article 284 has already been invoked, so I would draw our attention to the moral and religious obligations that we all have. Many of us here are either Muslims, Christians or traditional believers. We believe in some higher powers. The Quran largely speaks about issues of corruption in Surat Al-Baqra and Surat Al-Maida.
Mr Speaker, if we go into the Bible, Ephesians 5 10:54 a.m.
11 says and I beg to quote:
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead, expose them”.
That is what the Bible says to us, that instead of taking part in the unfruitful works of darkness, we should endeavour to expose them. How many of us, whether politicians, civil servants or private individuals, adhere strictly to the tenets of the Quran or the Holy Bible? We do not; we go to the Mosque on Friday and pray five times in a day, yet we engage in corruption.
We go to church on Saturdays or Sundays, but we engage in corruption when, indeed, the Bible encourages us to expose acts of corruption where we see them.
Mr Speaker, in giving meaning to acts of corruption, I would want us to move away from lamentations and look at what could be done as a society and a country to take away this cancer that is destroying us.
Mr Speaker, one of the tragedies of our attempts to fight corruption is the over politicisation of the issues and also the focus on politicians. This is because when we talk about corruption, everyone thinks about the politician, but it goes beyond the politician. We could look at graft and embezzlement which happens everywhere and we could also look at preferential treatments for instance.
Mr Speaker, there have been instances where even a religious leader would say that his or her daughter has been posted to Sandema or Kumbungu or your constituency and that something should be done about it. That is corruption, because if the religious leader's son or daughter does not go to the far away place, whose daughter should go there? As a society and a country, we need to begin to move away from such tendencies that seek to pervert the natural course of doing things.
Mr Speaker, integrity should also be encouraged. Integrity at the work place and our homes. There is no better place to learn integrity than from the home -- Charity, it is said, begins at home. Integrity could begin from the house, but also the school system.
I was very excited when I attended my four-year old son's school event at the Canadian International School. At that age, using drama the children are taught -- the effects of corruption on our society, and it was so gladdening. This is something public schools could also adopt so that by the time children grow up, they would know that corruption has a devastating effect on us all.
Mr Speaker, if we go into the Bible, Ephesians 5 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, one other crucial thing is
political campaign financing. It breeds a lot of corruption, so there should be a national dialogue that is not based on partisanship but on how issues of party campaign financing could be dealt with. This is because that is where a lot of the corrupt tendencies may emanate from.

Mr Speaker, Hon Agbodza has advised me to veer off that space, but I am not dissuading people from supporting candidates. I said we should be guided and mindful of such supports to politicians. We should also endeavour to name and shame, just as the Bible encourages us in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 11; we should expose instead of condone.

Mr Speaker, finally, I believe some of our laws should be amended. When we take assets declaration, for example, under the cover of darkness, one would declare his or her assets, the Auditor-General takes hold of the assets declaration and nobody has access to it. Whether the person had the assets genuinely or not, as it is said in Islam Allahu A'a-lam, to wit “only God knows''. Nobody knows.

Mr Speaker, making assets declaration public would go a long way to engender confidence in politicians. Somebody might start off without any assets, but in his or her assets declaration, one could be assured that the person has put in things that when he or she becomes a public official he or she would work his way to

actualise. I believe if assets are openly declared, it would be useful.

Mr Speaker, the right to information is something that would also go a long way to strengthen our fight against corruption.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you very much for the opportunity and I hope that we demonstrate enough commitment to fight corruption.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
Leadership, are you interested to make any contribution?
Yes, Hon Deputy Minority Whip?
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, yes, I would want to make a few comments.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
You may go on.
Mr A. Ibrahim 10:54 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to make a case for Hon Sam George to also get a bite before leadership would conclude.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 10:54 a.m.
I got guidance from the Leader that the understanding was to allow only two Hon Members from each Side of the House to contribute at a particular time and which is what I did before giving the opportunity to leadership to contribute.
Hon Deputy Minority, your comment on the Statement.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Banda) 11:04 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity.
I would want to commend the Hon Member who made the Statement and who is also the President of the Ghana Chapter of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC).
Mr Speaker, this is a caucus of the House that is aimed at fighting corruption in the whole country and so, being bold to come up with issues of corruption, they must be commended. I believe the Hon Majority Leader, when he was the Hon Minority Leader, happened to chair APNAC West Africa. Ghana is held very high when it comes to fighting corruption on the African continent.
Mr Speaker, I have been to many parliaments through your benevolence and I have interacted with most Hon Members from other parliaments. One key thing that lacks in the fight against corruption is the mandate of parliamentary oversight that should be exercised by Hon Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, fighting corruption is a shared responsibility and APNAC alone cannot do it. It must be fought with the concerted efforts of both Sides. Therefore anybody who would try to ridicule the issues of corruption by saying that one Side is not interested in it, is not even serious to fight it.
Mr Speaker, I was happy when you said that we must recognise that there is corruption before we begin to fight it. It is a fact, and certain facts cannot be twisted.
When the Hon Member said Hon Martin Amidu was chosen from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party, Hon Alhaji Fuseini fought it, but I was worried he fought it because it is a fact. He is from the NDC Party and he was chosen -- And are we not proud that someone from the NDC Party was chosen from the whole Ghana to fight corruption?
Mr Speaker, besides that, we must dedicate a month for all your Committees to go round and assess the impact of the
corruption-related legislations that have been passed in this House.
Last month, when the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development was assisted to go round and monitor how the Disability Fund, District Assemblies Common Fund and District Development Fund were utilised in the district assemblies, the mere information that Hon Members of Parliament would run that exercise was a headache for most people.
Some District Chief Executives (DCEs) fell sick, we did not meet others and some could not even answer most of the questions that we raised.
Mr Speaker, what we realised was that the other Committees must embark upon a similar activity. We would pass all the Facilities and Loan Agreements and approve all the financial budgets et cetera, but if we do all these without going out to monitor our oversight responsibilities, we cannot fight corruption.

Mr Speaker, with the power we have, at a certain district, even the Auditor- General needs to be told that he or she is part of us and that this is our mandate. Fighting corruption is a shared responsibility. The Auditor-General is part of Parliament and we are all chasing a common goal.

Mr Speaker, MPs are highly respected. Therefore, if we want to show leadership in fighting corruption, the battle could be accomplished. Without that, if we believe it is up to somebody else to fight corruption, we may not get there.

Mr Speaker, it is a fact that corruption is a serious problem; it is the bane of Ghana, and for that matter, Africa's development. So we cannot make issues of corruption mere

issues of perception. It is a serious issue. Even churches are undergoing restructuring and that underscores the fact that it is an attitudinal issue.

Mr Speaker, my Hon Colleague talked about corrupt election-related activities. If we go to even basic schools, when it is time for elections, pupils are taught to buy sweets, like toffees et cetera and share. The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) must ban all those election-related activities where children have to give out toffees before they are voted for.

Mr Speaker, between NPP and NDC, who would come out innocent when issues concerning elections in tertiary education in Ghana is mentioned? There is always interference.

Mr Speaker, when we do all those things we criticise people who do same. We are all involved and we must all be involved in fighting the issues of corruption. Let them bring a lie detector machine, we would see who would pass out clean. There is an issue of corruption and we must come together and fight it.

The mere fact that the Majority Side was on the Minority Side, and are now in the Majority or we in the Majority then have come to this Side does not mean we must have a different agenda. We must all come together and perform our oversight responsibilities. That is why we are representatives of the people.

Mr Speaker, who checks the impact of the regulations that we pass? Sometimes people bring legislation and we pass it but we do not have time to go round to oversee the activities because we are always glued to our seats to do a whole lot of activities. In Kenya, MPs have three

months for oversight activities and they are given money in connection with that. So Committees must be well resourced. After resourcing Committees, they must go on monitoring tours after which they must present reports.

Mr Speaker, Budget Statements are approved, moneys are expended and afterwards, they present the Auditor- General's Reports to do post-mortem. Do we fight corruption by naming and shaming, checking the activities after their commissions? We must be proactive in fighting corruption.

Mr Speaker, if we exercise our oversight responsibilities very well, we could win the fight against corruption.

Mr Speaker, I remember when I was a member, we went for about a week's programme. At the end of the programme, nothing was given and then somebody asked, do we fight corruption this way? [Laughter] -- So Mr Speaker, we must recognise APNAC as a lead crusader against corruption. If they are well resourced, I believe -- [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker, I so submit.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:04 a.m.
Any person from the Majority's front bench?
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much. First, I commend the Chairman of APNAC -- Ghana, the Hon Emmanuel Kwesi Bedzrah for this Statement. My only worry is that this Statement should not be made on a weekend, Saturday,
when it may not perhaps get the necessary exposure that we would have wanted it to have in the media. This is because corruption is a bane of this nation and I am looking forward to us having another opportunity to have this expose at a much bigger forum.
So once again, let me thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and to also appeal to Hon Colleagues that it is our responsibility to take the Executive to task. The Executives are the spending officers and it is our collective responsibility as MPs to be interested in oversight. That means every MP naturally should belong to APNAC.
Mr Speaker, so I would want to use this platform to appeal to Hon Members to join up with APNAC to fight corruption, and the current President, the Hon Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah is one person that I know would lead the network to achieve greater success for this Parliament and the country.
Mr Speaker, the statistics that our Hon Colleague has given are really dire revelations when he said to us that six out of ten countries considered most corrupt in the world for the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. This is really something that should knock our conscience. Six out of ten of the most corrupt countries in the world are from sub- Saharan Africa. He is not telling us about Africa but sub-Saharan Africa. This really is something that we should lament on as Africans.
Mr Speaker, we are told that the cost of corruption to the continent every year is about US$150 billion, an amount that is seven times the amount received by sub- Saharan Africa as aid every year.
Mr Speaker, the African Union (AU) has admitted to this. The AU is an organisation populated by the Heads of States and Governments in Africa. The question we ask them is on what measures they are employing to deal with this canker in their various home countries?
Mr Speaker, the alarming statistics and development at continental levels were what indeed compelled the AU to declare the year 2018 as anti-corruption year in Africa. Yet, across the length and breadth of Africa, many countries have remained mute on this subject matter for 2018. Not much has been heard in the various countries about this fight against corruption.
So what is happening to our Heads of States and Governments when they have noted this profound self-inflicted wound on Africa?
They have asked that this year, 2018, be declared the year of awareness for the anti-corruption agenda. The year is coming to a close and yet across the length and breadth of Africa not much is heard.
Mr Speaker, the AU now has a unit in charge of anti-corruption. Unfortunately, last two years, within that unit itself, some developments happened. That unit within AU which is supposed to advise the Heads of State and Governments on matters of anti-corruption got themselves entangled in some messy issues. How do we fight corruption this way?
Mr Speaker, we are told that, in Ghana, we lose about the equivalent of US$3billion annually to corrupt activities.

I do not know of the basis of that, but indeed if that is true, Mr Speaker, that could also be very mind boggling.
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu) 11:14 a.m.

Mr Speaker, now, US$3 billion should be equivalent to about GH¢14 billion. Our Budget for this year is in the region of about GH¢75 billion, and so we are talking about something in the region of 20 per cent of the national Budget. If that is what is happening, we should be lamenting.

The World Bank itself has a report that about 20 to 25 per cent of all loans that are procured by developing countries, end up in private pockets. What do we do about this?

Mr Speaker, article 35(8) of the 1992 Constitution provides and with your indulgence, I read:

“The State shall take steps to eradicate corrupt practices and the abuse of power.”

We have been told about the plethora of laws that this Parliament has made to fight corruption; the rest of it is left to us.

Today, Parliament is in the process of crafting another law; the Right to Information Bill (RTI). That will be good to add to the arsenal. Parliament is coming under pressure, we should be doing this, we should be acting fast on that; that is good.

However, within the scheme of the law that we did in respect of Local Government, there is a clear provision about how to access information at the level of the District Assemblies.

I am told on authority that ever since we crafted that law in the year 2016, across the length and breadth of this country, no single citizen of this country has used that medium to access information from the District Assemblies.

So where is this pressure coming from? Parliament should pass the RTI, whereas we have this law?

We know the kind of corruption and rot going on at the District Assemblies and two years down the lane, not one citizen has used that vehicle to access information. And so what are we talking about? It is like making many laws and not applying them. That is serious.

Mr Speaker, the preamble of our Constitution provides, and again I read with your indulgence:

ALMIGHTY GOD 11:14 a.m.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:14 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, I have not left office. [Laughter] --
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am only reminding you that you might have declared your assets before you became an Hon Member of Parliament. I do not know whether you have done so as an Hon Second Deputy Speaker but the Constitution will require you to do that.
Mr Joseph Y. Chireh 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the venerable Hon Majority Leader is veering into areas he should not go into. He is pontificating that people leave office and they do not declare assets. Has he become the Auditor-General? This is because we all filed that and nobody sees them as my Hon Colleague said.
So he should not be challenging you the Speaker, that you did not filed your assets when you left office as an Hon Member of Parliament. He is generating conflict in this debate.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have not said what the Hon Member is attributing to me. I have neither said that the Speaker has left office nor am I
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:14 a.m.

pontificating. I am only reading what the Constitution provides just to serve as a guide; we have to live by the Constitutional provision.
Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:14 a.m.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader knows very well that by Standing Order 90, you cannot take part in the debate. He is making certain categorical statements about you, tempting you to enter the terrain of debates. I just want to draw the Hon Majority Leader's attention to Standing Order --
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:14 a.m.
Standing Order 93(5). Please, content of speech.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, as I said, I am only reminding all of us that when we file our assets at the beginning of office, at the end of office, we should also file. That is what the Constitution provides. It is just a timeous reminder to ourselves that we need to do this.
It says Ambassadors, Head of Ministry or governments departments or equivalent office in the Civil Service, chairman, managing director, general manager and departmental head of a public Corporation or company in which the State has a controlling interest; and such officers in the public services and any other public institution as Parliament may prescribe.
Mr Speaker, the point that I would want to make is that, in respect of article 286 (5j), Parliament has not even come out with any law, stipulating those other officers who have not been mentioned in
the Constitution, yet we are required to do that.
Mr Speaker, for instance, today, we have mentioned these public officers as listed in article 286 (5), but we do not have the heads of the anti-corruption officers; for instance, serious fraud officers like the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation (EOCO) and the District Chief Executives (DCEs), they are not mentioned here. Parliament is required to make the law and bring all these people in to it.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, I thought that we passed a law where all those officers had been mentioned. I am talking about the Asset Declaration Act. We mentioned all these officers, including accounts officers. It is a very detailed list.
Mr Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, you would remember that in that list for instance, we do not have the Council of State, but they should also be in it.
So I am saying to us that we should look at it. If we would want to fight corruption, then there are institutions that we have left out, which should be brought in so that they would also know that they also come under this ambit. That is the point that I would want to make.
Mr Speaker, having said so, I agree, and of course, looking at even the legal definition, we all know the effects of corruption. How does the legal definition of corruption help us as a country to fight corruption?
In legal terms, corruption is defined as misdemeanour, but what are the sanctions? Perhaps, we would need to have a second look at this.
Mr Speaker, somebody made mention of political parties, and I believe that financing of campaigns that my Hon Colleague talked about was a very good example. We know what the internal elections of political parties lead to; indeed, it disables political parties to fight corruption.
We all know, and yet we behave like ostriches. How is the conduct of our internal elections helping us to fight corruption? Nobody wants to talk about that, yet we do know that it is a recipe for disaster for us as a country.
Mr Speaker, we should be careful and keep saying to ourselves that we should be looking closely at article 55(9) of the Constitution, which is on political parties. It provides, and with your permission I quote:
“The members of the national executive committee of a political party shall be chosen from all the regions of Ghana”.
Mr Speaker, the question is, by these elections that we conduct, how are we able to fulfil this? How is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) able to fulfil this? We are in violent breach of the Constitution by what we do.
Mr Speaker, again, the word is “choosing”; whether we select or elect, the end product is choosing. Choosing is an omnibus -- So we can do what we please. Elsewhere in the advanced democracies, they do not hold elections to elect leaders at the various levels.
Political parties have their central administrations and immediately a parliamentary candidate is selected, he brings his own organisers on board. That administration exists at the regional level and at the national level. That is how it should be done.
We know that this exercise that we do injects corruption into our body politics, yet we pretend that nothing is happening. We would bring this country down by our conduct and the way we conduct our affairs. So, we should be careful.
Mr Speaker, having said so, and by way of concluding this, somebody has said that the Auditor-General is a tool for Parliament.
Yes, the Auditor-General everywhere is a tool for Parliament in the performance of our oversight responsibilities. That is why the Constitution provides in article 187 (5) that the Auditor-General, when he finishes his job should submit his report to Parliament; that is how it is supposed to be.
So he is supposed to assist us to perform our oversight responsibilities, especially with regard to the spending officers of this country.
Mr Speaker, however, by whatever circumstance, this Constitution says to us that if we see anything wrong somewhere, Parliament -- Our Parliament cannot draw the attention of the Auditor-General to any suspected cases of improprieties. It is rather the Executive -- the President, who should direct him.
The President, who Parliament is supposed to oversee, the Constitution rather affords him with the opportunity
Mr Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu 11:24 a.m.

in article 187 (8), to be the one to rather draw the attention of the Auditor-General in this. What kind of Constitution are we operating?

Mr Speaker, therefore, we disable ourselves and allow for these corrupt practices to go on by various ways. When it comes to our Committees, today when we talk about oversight, everybody talks about the Public Accounts Committee, but the Public Accounts Committee only engages in post-mortem exercises. Every Committee is charged with the power or the responsibility of oversight.

What exercise we are going to do now is financial control or the power of the purse. When we have budgets and we are scrutinising the allocations and so on, that is the power of the purse in every Parliament.

Mr Speaker, after we have given the money out, the Committee system is to follow up on the sectors in the application of the moneys, but we do not do that.

We disable ourselves, and especially so, when our own Standing Orders provides that a Committee cannot act on anything until referral is made to the Committee in plenary. By our own rules of procedure, we inflict further damage and further wound on the operations of the Committee system.

Mr Speaker, we are therefore not helping ourselves as a country and as a Parliament in the fight against corruption. We should all come together, because corruption is the bane of our development, and it keeps our people further down.

So we should come together as a collective force to define ways and agree on ways to proactively fight corruption.

One of the reasons we would want to reconstitute our Committees is this, yet, even before we come out with the reviewed Standing Orders, people are up in arms against Leadership that we would see what they would do to us if we bring it. Do we really want to reposition Parliament and the Committees to help us in the fight against corruption?

Mr Speaker, once again, I thank my Hon Colleague, the Hon Bedzrah for bringing this issue up. I believe that in good time, we shall have much more opportunity and a greater platform to advocate strongly on this and to carry the entire nation with us in our fight against corruption.

Mr Speaker, once again, I thank you very much.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Members, before we proceed, I have in my hand a communication from the President in the form of a letter to Parliament, through the Rt Hon Speaker. It is dated 30th November, 2018.

Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Members, on behalf of the Rt Hon Speaker, I received a highly spirited and blessed group this morning who were members of the Hannah Prayed Ministry and Fellowship.
They came to present a petition through the Rt Hon Speaker to Parliament, and the petition is in the nature of a Statement. It is actually a prayer, and I believe it is important that this prayer be read on the Floor of the House.
So in consultation with Leadership, we have agreed that Hon Moses Anim, Member of Parliament for Trobo should read this prayer, not just to the hearing of Members of Parliament but to the hearing of all the citizens of this nation.
It is a word of blessing to all of us, so Hon Member, you may now proceed to read the Statement.
STATEMENTS 11:24 a.m.

Mr Moses Anim (NPP--Trobo) 11:24 a.m.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to read the petition with the headnote “Symbolic Presentation to the Speaker of Parliament”.
We, the members of Hannah Prayed Ministries in conjunction with other well -meaning Ghanaians under the leadership of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Lady Prophet Sylvia Ametorwobla on this day, 1st December, 2018, have undertaken a prayer walk praying and interceding for the land of Ghana.
We have prayed for:
1. National Unity
a. We pray that the nation will be united in our diversity;
b. We pray that we will have one vision in spite of the political differences;
c. And one national identity in spite of ethnic differences; and
d. And for unity among Christians.
2. Prosperity and Wealth;
a. Wealth of Ghana will ‘benefit Ghanaians;
b. Ghanaians will take up the commanding role of the economy; and
c. Ghana's prosperity will benefit the rest of Africa.
3. Spiritual Revival in the Land.
a. Falsehood will be swept away; and
b. True men and women of God, will emerge to lead the people of the land in the true worship of God.
We hereby present this statement to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Professor Mike Oquaye, imploring him as the leader of the House of Parliament, which is the representation of the people of the whole country, to stand with us in agreement on the above prayer topics.
We humbly ask that this Statement be read to the House that all Hon Members will also join us in beseeching the Lord on the above.
We are confident that standing on the scripture, Matthew 18:19, “If two agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father
in heaven”, our prayers have been answered and we shall all testify that indeed our God is a prayer answering God, as we .witness the coming growth and progress of our motherland Ghana in all spheres.
May the Lord bless you and all the Members of the august House of Parliament with long life, “good health and peace with God in the name of His Holy Son Jesus Christ.
Lady Prophet Sylvia Ametorwobla Founder.
Hannah Prayed Ministry
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Members, indeed, may the Lord bless all of you and grant you long life, good health, peace and prosperity.
Hon Members: Amen!
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, any guidance, or should I proceed to public business?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Members, at the Commencement of Public Business, item 4, Motions.
Hon Chairman of the Committee on Health?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:24 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I have been advised by some of the Members of the Committee that there are a few issues relating to this and so we could take the Motion on Monday when we are able to resolve those issues that Hon Members have raised.
So we could stand down Motion 1 captured on the Order Paper as item number 4.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:24 a.m.
Hon Members, we would accordingly stand down items 4 and 5.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I may also want to apply that we stand down items 6, 7 and 8, because the Finance Committee that is supposed to lead us has gone to a location outside Accra to do some considerations that were referred to them. In that regard, we are not able to deal with items 6, 7, 8 and 9 as well.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, the Hon Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is not yet back.
Parliament has sent him outside the jurisdiction. The other Committee Members who have been part of the Consideration Stage are also outside. Some of them have joined the Finance Committee at the other location which I just described. So I am not sure we are able to deal with the item captured as 10 on the Order Paper -- Consideration Stage of the Right to Information Bill, 2018.
Mr Speaker, let me plead with Hon Colleagues that we certainly need to deal with this. Having finished with the debate on the principles of the Budget Statement, I would want to re-invigorate the Standing Winnowing Committee to deal with the issues relating to the amendments proposed, such that next week we would be able to do some work on the RTI.
Mr Speaker, I would want to plead that in the absence of the Committee Members, we stand the Consideration Stage of the RTI Bill down as well.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Member, we will, by compulsion, be forced to stand down all the other items and I believe we would have to call it a day since critical Hon Members that are to lead us in the consideration of these items are performing other very important duties of this House. We would have to defer them to Monday.
I would proceed to call on Leadership to do the right thing, it being 11.48 a.m., for us to take a bow.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank Hon Colleagues for responding to the prayer of Leadership and indeed, of the Business Committee to have this Sitting today.
Mr Speaker, the Hon Governs Agbodza, who is now the champion of new phrases in this House, says to me that this endeavour is a “cash and carry” one. Mr Speaker, I would respond appropriately to him next time around, but I know that we should lift up our game in other matters relating to the welfare of Hon Members and staff as well.
Mr Speaker, let me thank Hon Colleagues once again. Today is a Saturday and I am happy with the significant numbers that we have seen in the Chamber, and to show appreciation to Hon Members for what they have done today.
Mr Speaker, on that note, I move that this House adjourns and reconvenes at 10 o'clock in the forenoon of Monday, 3rd December, 2018.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Any seconder?
Mr A. Ibrahim 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion for adjournment.
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Hon Members, I will put the Question.
Question put and Motion negatived.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought I had a different version of what happened -- [Laughter] -- but you have declared what you heard. Mr Speaker, I would want to implore you, I do not challenge your ruling, and I dare not, that you put the Question again. [Laughter.]
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
Hon Majority Leader, you know that what you heard is of no consequence in this matter; it is what I heard that determines whether it is “Yes” or “Noe” and it was very clear and loud that the Noes had it.
We would go through the same Motion again. The Motion has been moved by the Hon Majority Leader.
Mr A. Ibrahim 11:44 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion, and to say that when the first Question for the amendment was moved, I realised that my Hon Colleagues opposite tried to say “Aye” but the voice did not come out, so the issue of welfare must be taken seriously. [Laughter.]
Mr Second Deputy Speaker 11:44 a.m.
I will put the Question again.
Question put and Motion agreed to.
ADJOURNMENT 11:44 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.52 a.m. till Monday, 3rd December, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.