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Appointments Committee has no power to disqualify ministerial nominees – Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu

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Majority Leader Osei-Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has said that the Appointments Committee of Parliament has no power to disqualify any ministerial nominee.

He told TV3 that the power to disqualify a nominee is assigned to the plenary.

His comments follow the decision by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmakers on the Appointments Committee of Parliament to reject three of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s ministerial nominees.

They are Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Fisheries and Aqua Culture minister-designate Mavis Hawa Koomson, and the Minister-designate for Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto.

The NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) said they were not convinced by the answers these nominees gave during their vetting.

They accused Mr Oppong Nkrumah, who is a Member of Parliament for Ofoase Ayirebi, of being untruthful with his answers.

Mr Mensah-Bonsu, who is also the nominee for Parliamentary Affairs, said: “The Committee doesn’t have the power to disqualify anybody. That authority is vested in the plenary so that is where the authority lies.

“I understand that some issues have been raised about some of the nominees. Five of them I am told, they are asking them to submit further and better particulars on some responses they gave, so, that will not be a rejection.

“In the case of three others they are saying that they may find it difficult to approve of them. Saying that you find it difficult to approve of them should not be reduced to personal consideration.

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“It should be grounded in law. What does the law say? The law about Ministers of State is predicated on the provision of Article 78 which provides that the President shall appoint Ministers of State.”

The MP for Suame added: “The qualification criteria which says that a minister shall otherwise qualify to be a Member of Parliament is set out in Article 94.

“Unfortunately, in Ghana, the focus of the vetting is not soo much on the technical competence of a person for a particular ministry. Given that the president has the power to reshuffle the person that they nominate without the person who has been vetted having to come back to parliament to resubmit themselves.

“I have indicated to my colleagues that when a person is nominated for the Ministry of Finance and maybe the following day the president shifts him to the environment or to health, will he submit it himself to parliament again? Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen in our part of the world, so because of that we normally relate with the general qualification.”

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