The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament had to turn away officials from the Bank of Ghana on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 when the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. Ernest Addison or any of his deputies failed to lead the delegation to appear before the Committee.
The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Kludze Avedzi sent the three man Delegation from the Central Bank packing to go and inform the Governor to appear in person on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 after he had consulted the Ranking Member of the Committee, Okyere-Agyekum Kofi and the other Members of the Committee present.
The Bank of Ghana was scheduled to appear before the Committee for the consideration of the Report of the Auditor General on the Statement of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payment of the Bank of Ghana for half year ended 30th June and 31st December, 2017.
The Members of the Committee felt slighted by the Central Bank’s disregard for the Committee for sending a team made up of only the Director of Financial Market, Mr. Stephen Opata as the Head of delegation; Chief Internal Auditor, Stephen Yenkyira Amo; and Deputy Director of Financial Market, Peter Agyekeh.
When asked why the Governor and any of his Deputies failed to appear before the Committee and why no communication has been made to the Committee about their absence ahead of time, the Leader of Delegation, Mr. Stephen Opata told the Committee that the Dr. Addison was unavoidably absent and the two Deputies have also been tied up in an unforeseen emergency meeting.
The Chairman of the Committee, James Kludze Avedzi in addressing the Committee Members on the issue, indicated that the Governor did not take the work of the Committee seriously by choosing not to appear before the Committee.
“The letter was inviting the Bank of Ghana headed by the Governor to appear before the Committee, I believe you received the letter inviting you to appear before the Committee, and the Governor decided to send you the Directors and communicate to us verbally this morning that they will not be able to attend…You think because when you communicate this to us at this late hour, we will not be in the position to postpone the hearing that is why you chose to do that and promising to follow up with a written request?” he said.
Contributions of Members of the Committee
Before the Chairman would issue his directive for the Governor to appear in person, he put it out for discussion and said, “The Bank of Ghana does not see the work of this Committee as important and he decided to send his Directors to appear before the Committee. I am leaving it for discussion.”
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, indicated that since 2007 when he assumed his office as the Governor, he hasn’t taken the work of the Committee seriously. He asked that he should be subpoenaed to appear.
“The Directors just mentioned that they were caught up in a very important exercise today and can you explain to us the very important exercise that they are involved in today. Besides, we have a plan to also do this work. I would request that Mr. Chairman, we have the powers to subpoena them to appear before the Committee. They cannot change our plans today,” he said.
A Member of the Committee, Ras Mubarak called for the postponement of the sitting until the Governor finds need to appear before the Committee. His call was supported by Richard Quashiga and Dr. Clement Apaak who are both Members from the Minority side of the House.
“The Directors from the Bank of Ghana would know that there is nowhere in this world where a Committee of Parliament is treated this way. My humble submission to the Committee, would be for a postponement of this meeting to a day when the Governor or his deputies would appear before the Committee of Parliament.
But let us also remind them that per the Constitution and the Standing Orders, Parliament is clothed with the necessary powers to subpoena the Governor of the Bank of Ghana to appear before the Committee to answer questions on the Auditor Generals Findings.”
The MP for Keta, Richard Quashigah said, “It appears that the head of the Bank of Ghana does not take us serious. That is an obvious disrespect to the Legislature. I do not recall since he assumed office as Governor, when he appeared before this Committee. I don’t recall. We have had past Governors appearing before this committee to respond to issues. I don’t see how different he is from those who were before him, his predecessors, which he finds too important not to appear before this Committee.”
Dr. Clement Apaak, the MP for Builsa South, on the other hand said, “When you have a Governor and two deputies and they have been summoned to appear through the Governor, before an important Committee of such nature and none of them is available and they choose to send Directors, Clearly that to me indicates that they don’t prioritize or value the work and purpose for which they were invited.
But we need to set good examples. Often times we talk about building strong institutions and that must start. Whoever is responsible for expending public resources who is required to appear before this Committee, must not have any excuse, let alone the Governor who has two deputies. I certainly agree with my colleagues that we will not proceed with this engagement until the requisite personalities expected to appear before us, lead the delegation from their institutions and this should apply to all.”
Source: Clement Akoloh || parliamentnews360.com