Joe Wise throws out motion of Minority MPs to investigate Covid-19 expenses

Joe Wise throws out motion of Minority MPs to investigate Covid-19 expenses

A private members’ motion on the floor of Parliament seeking to investigate the expenditure of the Covid-19 funds has been dismissed by the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu.

He argued that the work of such a bi-partisan committee is already provided for by the Constitution, to be conducted by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

“All the committees of the house including the Public Accounts Committee are bipartisan, and the Public Accounts Committee is designed by nature to be chaired by members of the Minority. In all its form, the Public Accounts Committee, if it is minded to investigate anything related to the Covid-19 expenditure, fully sees to the authority and power to investigate that, particularly because all the accounting of it has been provided for in the budget which budget has been provided by the House and is before the committee. My view is that this motion ought not to have been admitted, and it’s improperly before the House.”

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had initially admitted the motion from three Members of the Minority Caucus for a probe into the expenditure made by the government since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

 Lawmakers who filled the motion include the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu; the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak; and the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, as they sought to constitute a bi-partisan parliamentary committee chaired by a member of the Minority to probe Covid-19 expenditure.

This Private Member’s Motion was captured in the order paper for Thursday, November 4th, 2021.

The Minority in Parliament had initially petitioned the Auditor-General to audit the government’s expenditure on food, and water supplied to the vulnerable during the three-week Covid-19 partial lockdown period.

The said petition invoked Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584), which called on the Auditor-General to commence a Special Audit into the expenditure on the GHS 280.3 million allocated for the provision of food and water under the Coronavirus Alleviation Program (CAP).

It was jointly endorsed by the Ranking Member on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, and Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, who indicated that the audit they anticipate will clear all doubts about how the funds were utilised.

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