Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Member of Parliament for Suame, Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, strongly believes government needs to check the operations of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Speaking onOkay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’programme, Hon Kyei Mensah Bonsu, stressed that the Foreign Affairs Ministry is engaged in so many activities in missions abroad and it is incumbent on government to ensure that their operations result in value for money for the state.
“Some where last year, a property in Nigeria which belonged to the Foreign Affairs Ministry and valued seven million (7 million gh) was valued less by some officials and sold for less than one million (1 million).
“You see when these things happen then government will need to check the operations of the Foreign Affairs ministry and ensure that some of these things are prevented for us to get value for money,” he added.
Condemning what happened at the foyer of Parliament House on Monday, Hon Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the Majority Leader, pointed out that the minority had no right to invade the minister’s privacy.
Hot Verbal Exchanges
A nasty drama was witnessed in Parliament on Monday when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, engaged the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa in a heated verbal exchange.
The wild confrontation ended with trading of insults at each other over a purported property which the ministry was seeking to buy to serve as a chancellery for Ghana’s mission in Norway.
According to the Minister, Hon Okudzeto Ablakwa had claimed her outfit was inflating the cost of the 100-year-old building by asserting the Ministry quoted $12.1million for the building instead of $3.5million.
Mr Ablakwa, who is the Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, revealed the Minority’s investigation uncovered that $16.5million presented to the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament as the budget for the new mission in Oslo, the Chancery and the Ambassador’s residence is “outrageously high.”
“It is outlandishly inflated,” Mr Ablakwa said during approval of the budget estimate for the ministry on Monday.
The building, he said was bought in 2014 for NOK 25.2million which is equivalent to $2.9million and per a Norwegian newspaper, in 2017, the property was sold to an unknown buyer for NOK31million which is equivalent to $3.5million.
“Then our Foreign Ministry is buying this at NOK105million which is equivalent to $12.1million. A property that was sold for only $3.5million last year, August last year. What’s going on? Where is the due diligence? Who did the evaluation report?” he said stating the Norwegian press are describing the entire transaction as ‘unethical’.
Not enthused by the claims of the Minority, Ms. Botchwey and the North Tongu lawmaker engaged in verbal exchanges in the lobby of Parliament.
She was also not happy that Mr Samuel Nartey George, the NDC Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram had brought out his phone and was filming the verbal exchanges.
CHRAJ Must Probe This
Meanwhile, the NDC Minority in Parliament has indicated its resolve to go to the Special Prosecutor or the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to open a probe into the controversy surrounding the planned purchase of building in Oslo for the use as Ghana’s embassy.
According to ranking member on the foreign affairs committee of Parliament Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the desire to approach the Special prosecutor stems from the fact that parliamentary probes in recent times have been watered down by the majority in the house with their numbers.
“We may give our evidence to CHRAJ, or the special prosecutor to investigate. We haven’t accused anyone, we are not interested in personalities it’s just the principle.
“Cash for seat probe and other issues have not given us confidence in parliamentary probe, the majority often take advantage of their numbers.”
The comment comes as the Minority insists Ghana has gone beyond the expression of interest matters relation to Oslo building which they claim has been overpriced.
“As we have pointed out…the seller of the property has an agreement which have tended in evidence before and Ghana made some demands on the seller and the seller proceeded to carry out those demands and contractors are on site,” Mr. Ablakwa told the media on Thursday.
Source: Isaac Kwame Owusu/Peacefmonline.firstname.lastname@example.org