Debates of 30 Jan 2020

PRAYERS 11:35 a.m.


Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon Members, we have the Votes and Proceedings of Wednesday, 29th January, 2020 for correction.
Hon Members, any corrections?
Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Hon Members, we also have the Official Report of Monday, 25th November, 2019 for correction.
Hon Members, any corrections?
Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Ablakwa 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am so grateful.
Mr Speaker, at column 3478 of the Official Report, on the first paragraph, which gives us the report on the contribution of the Hon Minister for Works and Housing, the word “aval” as we see there should not be so. It should rather be captured as “avowed”. Therefore, it should be corrected accordingly.
Mr Speaker, also at column 3512 of the Official Report, on the fifth paragraph, the word “mole” as captured there, should be captured as “MOLE”. So that one should also be corrected accordingly.
Finally, on the first paragraph of column 3525 of that Official Report, the phrase captured there should rather be “Integrated Recycling and Compost Plant.” It should therefore also be corrected accordingly.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker 11:35 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Ablakwa.
Hon Members, any further corrections?
In the absence of any further corrections, the Official Report of Monday, 25th November, 2019 as corrected-- is hereby admitted as the true record of the proceedings.
Hon Members, we would move on to Statements. We have a Statement on the state of cyber fraud, using false accounts created in names of Hon Members of Parliament and other prominent citizens in the country.
The Hon Member for South Tongu, the Hon Woyome, would present that Statement.
STATEMENTS 11:35 a.m.

Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome (NDC -- South Tongu) 11:35 a.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity
to make this Statement, though short but very important.
Mr Speaker, the spate of internet fraud in the country is rising to alarming levels which thus calls for an immediate action to be taken, and it must be done now.
Mr Speaker, in recent times, many Ghanaians, mostly the vulnerable and the needy who are desperately looking for employment and other educational support, are falling victims to these schemes by these syndicates of fraudsters who have created fake Facebook and social media accounts in the names of public officers, especially Members of Parliament and other prominent people in society.
Mr Speaker, these fraudsters download profiles, images and other information on Members of Parliament and on other prominent personalities and thus use them to make the page appear credible and believable.
In some instances, it is almost impossible to tell which of the multiple accounts in the name of the Members of Parliament is the credible official account.
Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Member, for this timely Statement.
Yes, Hon Samuel George?
Mr Samuel Nartey George (NDC -- Ningo-Prampram) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I wish to commend the Hon Member who made this Statement because this issue of impersonation of Members of Parliament (MPs) and senior prominent citizens of this country is an issue of grave concern.
A random search of MPs currently in the Chamber who are on Facebook would reveal multiple accounts held and created by fraudsters in our names. Just three months ago, I had to officially report to Facebook on my own to shut down four fake accounts in my name. I have received complaints from both the Hon

Mr Speaker, these are real challenges that exist and occur in our names and great steps need to be taken.
Mr Speaker 11:45 a.m.
The Hon Minority Leader has been Minister for Employment and Labour Relations before. I do not know when the Hon Majority Leader became in charge of employment in this country.
You may proceed.
Mr George 11:45 a.m.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
I believe that we must take a four- pronged approach to resolve this matter. First and foremost, there is a major role that the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) needs to play for MPs, Ministers of State and Government
appointees. Once in public office, NITA must be able to take steps to protect the official accounts of MPs and Ministers of State.
Again, NITA needs to liaise with the local office of Facebook, because when I officially complained to Facebook and showed them four accounts that were fake, they wrote back to me and said that I had established enough grounds for them to shut down two of the pages.
However, with the other two pages, even though I had sent all the documentation to prove that I was the person and those accounts were not mine, they said I had not shown sufficient evidence. So those two fake pages are still open. However, if NITA was the one liaising with Facebook's office in Ghana, those would be well taken care of.
Mr Speaker, thanks to you, when I attended a conference in Berlin on internet governance, this was a major issue that came up. [Interruption] Yes, I have submitted a report to Mr Speaker. [Laughter] The issue of protecting MPs and public political figures on the internet, the circulation
Mr Ras Mubarak (NDC -- Kumbungu) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful for the opportunity to make a comment on this particular issue.
I think that the Statement that has been made needs to be put in proper perspective and the Hon Member who made the Statement needs to be commended. He talked about cybercrime and in doing so there are various forms that we need to adduce our minds to.
Mr Speaker, these are some of the recognised cybercrimes. We have what we call cyberstalking, online identity theft, online child abuse, ransomware attack and internet fraud. These are all elements that fall under cybercrime, so what my Hon
Colleague talked about would fall under online identity theft.
In our criminal procedure, identity theft is a crime and ought to be dealt with per the tenets of our legal provisions. What I think MPs ought to do to safeguard their online identities would be to first verify their accounts. Once your account is verified by Twitter, Facebook or whichever social media you use, it is difficult for others to fake your accounts.
However, there are instances where MPs, public figures and others have had their identities stolen. What we need to do is to do a lot of public education to alert our young folks that online identity theft is just like any other identity theft and when one is caught stealing anybody's identity, they could be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Mr Speaker, I would however encourage Hon Colleagues and all others who use social media to endeavour to verify their accounts. If you put in my name on Facebook for instance, there are about 12 Ras Mubaraks that would appear. My
account however is verified and it would be the first that would pop up. So, this is an encouragement to MPs to also endeavour to have their social media accounts verified.
Mr Speaker, with these few words, I want to thank you for the opportunity.
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:45 a.m.
Mr Speaker, let me commend the Hon Member who made the Statement.
I largely agree with most of what Hon George and Hon Mubarak said, particularly in context with publicity. Giving this matter the needed publicity is important. Clearly, this is a phenomenon that we cannot just wish away. I am a victim and I am sure many of my Hon Colleagues are also victims. For one reason or the other, we thought that this matter would die naturally. Clearly, it is gaining ground and the perpetrators of this crime are not ready any day to stop engaging in it, so we also have to advise ourselves.
Mr Speaker, personally, when it affected me I reported it to the Ghana Police Service. With the greatest respect to the Ghana Police Service,
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh (Nsawam-Adoagyiri) 11:55 a.m.
I was not too impressed with the attitude and the way the matter was handled. I feel that we have to build the capacity of the institution's relevance to be able to resolve this challenge.

Mr Speaker, we must also admit that as Hon Members of Parliament we also have a personal responsibility. We cannot just be expectant that institutions mandated by law to deal with such phenomenon would be the only bodies which would be expected to deal with it.

If one is a Member of Parliament or a public figure and he is engaged in social media, he has to go the extra mile to ensure that he manages these media himself so that some of the basic problems associated with them, as the last speaker mentioned -- that even with Facebook where we have cases of impersonation, there is a responsibility on the impersonated person to report the matter to Facebook for them to work on it. That cannot be wished away; we have to religiously pursue that path too.
Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Annoh-Dompreh.
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (NDC-North Tongu) 11:55 a.m.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement that has been ably made by my Hon Colleague.
Mr Speaker, it would appear that our Public Address System is quite challenged today. [Interruption] -- [Laughter.]

Mr Speaker, I will try and make the best out of the situation. I commend Hon Woyome for the Statement. This is a matter that is of grave concern to a lot of us.

As I speak, when we carried out a search on Facebook on my name more than 40 accounts popped up and, every day a new account is created by fraudsters in my name. I would report to Facebook to pull them down but in no time they are back. What is very worrying is that, the fraudsters engage in the fraud by

luring the unsuspecting general public using mobile money numbers because it is not just about impersonating one on Facebook. They are not really just about looking for friends or accumulating or stealing our friends; they want to profit from the crime and they have mobile money numbers that they use.

Mr Speaker, so, apart from reporting to Facebook, some of us have had to take note of the numbers of those who have managed to get back to us, especially, victims. We forward these numbers to the Telcos and we do not seem to get that proactivity that we expect.

It appears that the Telcos are also challenged. I think that what happened with the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card registration that was carried out some years back does not appear to have really worked. It is very easy now for people to come by SIM cards and register them with all kinds of fake identities and use them to perpetuate this fraud. They are using social media in all of its forms, connected with mobile money to just dupe the unsuspecting general public.
Mr Speaker 11:55 a.m.
Thank you very much.
Hon Minority Leader?
Minority Leader (Mr Haruna Iddrisu) 12:05 p.m.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity and to specially thank my Hon Colleague, Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome for bringing this Statement to the fore.
I would comment on this Statement personally as a victim, as this gives me the opportunity to redeem a lost reputation. I have had to issue five Statements as Haruna Iddrisu that I have nothing to do with advertisement related to payment of money between GH¢300 and GH¢500 for purposes of recruitment into any institution in the public service.
Mr Speaker, repeatedly, I have had to ask my head of Secretariat to issue a public disclaimer. For the records, I have never opened either a Facebook or Whatsapp account nor engaged in any communication at the level of social media, except by way of electronic mail. Therefore, any person associating me with anything on Facebook is a criminal and fraudster and should be apprehended by the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and dealt with decisively in accordance with law.
Mr Speaker 12:05 p.m.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader. Hon Majority Leader?
Majority Leader (Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu) 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, let me also express my profound gratitude to the Hon Member, Mr Woyome who made the Statement -- for this very important Statement that he has submitted to this House. At least, it offers us all a platform to dissociate ourselves from the manipulations of criminals and fraudsters outside.
Social media exist to inform, educate and entertain those who access the media. We must recognise
that it has come to stay; it is a powerful medium, even though when it started, it was to complement the formal or the mainstream media. However, today, we must recognise the fact that it has taken the center stage.
Unfortunately, now the trend that the social media is assuming is degenerating into wrong attributions, judifications and compromising the integrity of persons and institutions.
Mr Speaker, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are now seriously infested with criminals and fraudsters and they pretend to be representing the interest of persons and institutions that they have no association with.

Mr Speaker, these fraudsters prey on persons outside the jurisdiction in particular, and I know of complaints that often come from the United States of America, Canada and UK. These people have their local collaborators. Mr Speaker, on two occasions when I had to complain to the police, they identified local collaborators and we sent their numbers to the police, but
Mr Speaker 12:15 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader, thank you very much.
In fact, this is a very important Statement, and I would respectfully urge the Hon Leaders to take this matter up on behalf of the House, especially since matters of reputation can be seriously compromised.
However, it is also important to say that the delegation was fully and properly composed and led by the Hon First Deputy Speaker, as well as Hon Abena Durowaa Mensah and
Hon Samuel Nartey George. Hon Members, the two-to-one was fully applied, and they were Hon Members of the Committee on Communications. This is just for clarification thereof. There was no kokofu of any dimension.
Hon Members, we have a little challenge with the volume of the audio in the House, so let us manage to see what we can do after the laying of the Papers. So please let us strain our ears a little.
Hon Members, at the Commence- ment of Public Business -- item numbered 4. Presentation of Papers -- Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:15 p.m.
Mr Speaker, the Finance Committee has not finished working on the items numbered 4 (i) and (ii) so we would not deal with them, rather we would take item numbered 5.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Members, item numbered 5 -- Presentation and First Reading of Bills. Item 5 (a) -- Hon Minister for Education?
Minister for Education (Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh) 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, before I present the Bill, I seek your leave to withdraw an earlier Bill.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Members, we are aware that there is a challenge. So let us strain our ears.
Dr Prempeh 12:25 p.m.
On Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, Mr Speaker admitted the Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management Bill to the House. I seek your leave to withdraw the earlier Bill and to present the Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management, Ghana Bill,
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Minister, please proceed. You may now present the new Bill captured as item numbered 5(a) on the Order Paper.

Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
The Hon Minister sought to withdraw a Bill laid earlier. I granted him permission to withdraw, and he has laid the new Bill.
Alhaji Muntaka 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, he wanted to withdraw a Bill, but needed to give the reason to enable us take a decision whether it has to be withdrawn or not. When that decision is taken, then he could go ahead to withdraw.
Mr Speaker, he said he wanted to withdraw the Bill that was laid in October, 2018. Why does he want to withdraw that Bill since the title and everything seems to be the same as the new one?
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, with respect, item numbered 5(a) is the Chartered Institute of Human Resources Management, Ghana Bill, 2019 and 5(b) is the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana Bill, 2019. The titles of the two documents are not the same. They are different.
However, having said so, I believe the Hon Minister is coming under Standing Order 132 which provides:
“Either before the commence- ment of Public Business or at the commencement of any stage of a Bill, the Member in charge of the Bill may make a Motion without notice for its withdrawal.”
Mr Speaker, this is exactly what the Hon Minister did. If the Hon Member wants the Hon Minister to adduce reasons, he could say so, that could he please inform us about what he was doing?
However, Mr Speaker, by the rules, he is not under any obligation to provide the justification.
Mr Speaker 12:25 p.m.
Hon Minority Chief Whip, the withdrawal has been made and the substitution made accordingly.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, if the House would indulge him, then he could lay the Bill captured as item numbered 5 (b).
Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana Bill, 2019
An Act to establish the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Ghana as a regulatory body to set standards in the marketing profession and to provide for related purposes.
Presented by the Minister for Education (Dr Matthew O. Prempeh). Read the First time and referred to the Committee on Education.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I thought we would deal with items numbered 6 and 7. I have a discussion with my Colleagues on the Committee on Defence and Interior to have winnowing on the Narcotics Control Commission Bill tomorrow evening. So certainly, we would not consider that.

However, I thought we would be able to deal with items numbered 6 and 7. Unfortunately, we are not hearing one another. On account of that, I would want us to adjourn to enable the technicians work on the system in the Chamber. If this is agreeable, I would want to move that this House adjourns until tomorrow at 10.00 a.m.
Mr James K. Avedzi 12:25 p.m.
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.
ADJOURNMENT 12:25 p.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 12.33 p.m. till Friday, 31st January, 2020 at 10.00 a.m.