A-G Freezes MPs HIPC Cash

Members of Parliament (MPs) are crying foul over the government’s decision to freeze their quarterly Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Funds, arguing that such a move was an attempt to stifle development in their various constituencies.

According to the members, from January till date, not a single pesewa had been released to them as their share of the HIPC Fund, and wondered what the government was doing with their money.

Compounding their woes was the failure of the government to disburse their share of other statutory funds, including the Health Fund, District Assemblies’ Common Fund, and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).

The MPs, especially the Minority Caucus, have, therefore, threatened to boycott government business if the situation was not solved immediately. Some of the members, who spoke to The Chronicle in an interview, described the situation as an indication of a cashless economy, and urged the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to change its ways, in order to save the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian.

The Accountant-General (A-G), The Chronicle learned, has frozen the HIPC accounts of Members of Parliament at the instance of the government, making it impossible for the legislators to access the funds for development projects in their various constituencies. It was not clear what necessitated the government to freeze the HIPC accounts.

NDC MPs in jubilant mood

While the hearts of the minority members were filled with gloomy thoughts over the above-mentioned issue, their colleagues on the Majority side of the House were in a jubilant mood, still celebrating President Mahama’s confirmation to the highest office of the land by the Supreme Court late last month.

The Supreme Court pronounced Mr. John Dramani Mahama as the President-elect in the 2012 presidential election in the protracted eight-month election petition hearing.

The majority MPs stormed the House dressed in white clothes in response to the emergency sitting summoned by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho.

Over one third of the NDC MPs who turned up for the emergency sitting were all dressed in white apparel, an indication of their victory in the election petition case.

First time of non-payment

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Agyarko Emmanuel Kyeremanteng, in an interview with The Chronicle, confirmed the non-payment of their HIPC funds and other statutory funds mentioned above.

According to him, it was the first time the government had failed to release the funds to them since the beginning of a year. He took a swipe at his colleagues on the majority side for not sharing in their plight.

“They are dressed in white when all these funds have not been paid. They should tell us what they are celebrating. Never play the fiddle when Rome is burning,” he said.

On his part, the Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Kwarteng Kwaku Agyeman, said he was amazed by the action of the majority MPs, who were dressed in white.

To him, the basic concern of the government should be on how to fix the problem of unavailability of funds that promote development, and not jubilate over the outcome of the court case.

“Members of Parliament wearing white and celebrating the fact that the national economy is in difficulty tells negatively about politicians – that we care less when in power. We have a court ruling that keeps us in power, and that is good. So, we don’t mind if health, educational and other issues are not being addressed?” he questioned.

He maintained that in the third quarter, the government should be showing remorse for its inability to fix problems, arguing that “these are statutory funds; it is the law that said we must make this expenditure first and foremost. We are not doing that, and this has affected work at the local government level, and work that flows out of these accounts are not being done.

“The NDC was not voted into power to win court cases, but to bring improvement; that is not being done because of the reckless expenditure they incurred in 2012. The fiscal situation has become so tight that the government cannot transfer funds to assemblies to do their work,” he said.
But, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Ahmed Alhassan Yakubu, said there was the need for them to give a parliamentary celebration of their victory after the court verdict.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Mion further explained that their being in white was to tell the general public their appreciation of a peaceful trial.

He added that there was no need for them to continue engaging themselves in the court case, adding that they must double their work as politicians to cover the eight months that were lost during the petition.

Adding his voice to the reason why they wore white, the MP for Salaga South, Abubakar Ibrahim Dey, said, “I am happy we have come to the end of the court case without any chaos.”

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A-G Freezes MPs HIPC Cash

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