Health Minister dodges parliament for third time

Members of Parliament’s Assurance Committee are furious about the continuous lack of “respect” exhibited by outgoing Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Agyeman Mensah.

After pleading with the committee to grant him a hearing to today; having failed  on two consecutive occasions to appear before it, the Minister again managed to keep the Members of Parliament waiting for hours without any show from him.

Dr. Agyeman Mensah was expected to give an account of his stewardship of some government projects such as the construction of various hospitals and the installation of an MMRI scanner at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

Unable to attend to the committee’s hearing, the Minister wrote a letter to apologise last week Wednesday and pleaded with the committee to grant him a hearing today, Joy News’ parliamentary correspondent, Elton John Brobbey reports.

Though Parliament does not sit on Mondays, the committee decided to grant his request. However Elton reports that as at 10am, members were seated in earnest but over two hours later, the minister was nowhere to be found.

His unexplained absence angered the members who, one after another, condemned the Minister’s behaviour.

Even though three officials from the ministry, including the Chief Director and Director of Operations, later showed up they had no knowledge of the whereabouts of their boss.

They could only confirm that the Minister arrived yesterday from an international assignment and was called into a meeting at the Flagstaff House today.

A member of the committee, Dr. Kwabena Twum Nuamah told Joy News the Minister’s action is a show of “gross disrespect” to Parliament.

He threatened that the committee would be compelled to invoke its powers under Article 103 to recommend appropriate sanction against the minister.

“He is not taking Parliament and the people of Ghana seriously,” Dr. Twum Nuamah asserted, “we will recommend to Parliament and the Speaker to treat the issue seriously”.

It is not clear whether the Minister’s failure to appear before the committee has anything to do with weekend’s ministerial reshuffle.

A statement signed by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah announced that Health Minister Dr. Kwaku Aggyeman Mensah has been reassigned to the Ministry for Water Resources, Works and Housing.

Officially, Parliament recognises him as the substantive minister of health since no official communication has been sent to Parliament from the executive, Dr. Twum Nuamah said.

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