On the first day of the hearing of Parliament’s ad hoc committee set to investigate a vote of censure motion against Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, there were heated exchanges at different points of the hearing.
These were either between the chairmen and members or between ordinary members and in some instances between the chairmen and the lawyer for the embattled minister as well as between members and the minister’s lawyer, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.
One of the stand-out episodes was between Gabby and a committee member in the person of Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the North Tongu Member of Parliament.
The trigger was when the MP started asking questions about supposed government expenditure that could be said to have led to fiscal recklessness, one of the grounds against which the Minority is seeking to remove the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
While Ablakwa attempted to use the National Cathedral project to buttress his point, Gabby interjected stating that the MP would be better off using a press conference for what looked like a political issue which was not stated in the seven-point censure motion.
This triggered an over two-minute back and forth between the two men as other members of the committee and the chairmen moved in to mediate.
Read the full transcript of the exchange below:
Gabby: he can hold a press conference to deal with those matters, I think that we are here for specific reasons, grounds have been stated, let’s stick to that. You know, we are not here for… it is not a political platform to make some political pronouncements. These are serious allegations, they are serious allegations, please, please
Gabby: No, there are rules here
Ablakwa: No, no, no. You won’t teach me how to do my work. No, no, no, he can’t come here and throw his weight around. He can’t teach me how to do my work. I take strong exception that I should go and hold a press conference. I won’t accept that.
Gabby: I am only 78 kilos, I am not going to throw it about.
Ablakwa: And you are not the chair, you don’t tell members what to do.
KT Hammond: Sammy, we appreciate the point you want to make.
Ablakwa: I will do my work, I am not going to hold a press conference, you will not teach me how to do my work.
Mr. Chairman, I think that those who appear before this committee must be guided. We work with Standing Orders and if you go through our Standing Orders, this committee can decide not to hear strangers.
Ablakwa: Once you are not a member of Parliament, this is how the Standing Order describes him. That is how the Standing Orders describe them. You can’t come and say we should go and hold a press conference, we are working and we are here to do a job, so, please. Let that be clear.
KT Hammond: Yeah, that’s fine, it’s clear.