The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has dismissed a private member’s motion on the floor of Parliament seeking to probe COVID-19 expenditure.
According to him, 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.”
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had early on admitted the motion from three Members of the Minority Caucus for an inquiry into the expenditure made by the government since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu; the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak; and the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, filed the motion which sought to constitute a bi-partisan parliamentary committee chaired by a member of the Minority to probe COVID-19 expenditure.
The Private Member’s Motion was captured in the order paper for Thursday, November 4th, 2021.
The Minority in Parliament had also previously petitioned the Auditor-General to audit government expenditure on food, and water government supplied to the vulnerable during the three-week COVID-19 partial lockdown period.
That petition invoked Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584), and called on the Auditor-General to undertake 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 signed 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.