John Kumah, a Deputy Minister for Finance, says he will not hesitate to head to court over what he says is the ‘unconstitutional’ loan agreement for the purchase of cars for Members of Parliament.
He says he has also submitted a memo on the matter, adding that if compelled, he, together with other legislators who are opposed to the agreement, will take legal action to enforce the law.
“I have submitted a memo… We can go to court to enforce our rights, and I’m telling you, we will go to court if we have to,” he disclosed on the Point of View on Citi TV on Monday, July 12, 2021.
The Deputy Minister asserts that giving legislators loans for personal vehicles while officials in other arms of government are provided cars for their work is unfair and must be addressed.
Mr. Kumah, who is also the MP for Ejisu mentioned that the loan agreement totalling $28 million for MPs to acquire cars for their official use is illegal, as the dictates of the constitution demand that the consolidated fund is billed for emoluments and benefits of members of parliament.
“By what reason are you saying that instead of charging it on the consolidated fund, you are giving me a loan. Loans for what? Let’s treat MPs fairly… They don’t deserve loans, they deserve cars charged on the consolidated fund,” he said.
According to him, said the provisions in the constitution that spell out the emoluments of Article 71 officeholders has existed since 1992, and have indicated that all such entitlements must be provided from the consolidated fund, and so the practice by successive governments to give car loans to Members of Parliament and Council of State Members is illegal.
“It is illegal and unconstitutional, and the fact that we have made mistakes in the past does not mean we should continue,” John Kumah added.
He further added that other elected officials such as unit committee and assembly members as well as Council of State members must be treated fairly by being provided their entitlements and emoluments funded by the consolidated fund.
Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for the South Dayi Constituency, Rockson Dafeamakpor, has backed the suggestions of John Kumah, adding that there is the need to follow to the letter the dictates of the constitution.
He also blamed parliament’s public affairs directorate for not sensitizing the public enough about the issues surrounding the entitlements of Members of Parliament before the recent controversy over the loan agreement.
“I blame the public affairs department of parliament. They ought to have been engaging in stakeholder consultation on this matter before time is due on some of these things,” he said. – CNR