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Minority Screams At Abongo: Go Away, You Are Not A Minister!
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Albert Abongo - Outgoing Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing
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The Minority in Parliament on Wednesday, 27th January, 2009 protested vehemently against the decision to allow the outgoing Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr. Albert Abongo, to answer questions on behalf of the Ministry.

They argued that since Mr. Abongo has been removed from office by the President, he cannot answer questions on the floor of the house. The MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu Ankomah, who led the minority side, argued that the Minister as far as he knows had been relieved of his position and he does not know the capacity in which Hon. Abongo would answer the questions.

He contended that the President has communicated to the house that the Minister of Works and Housing is no more the Minister, because he has been replaced. “If the President wants him to stay in office till a new person takes over, he should indicate it for the purposes of the business of the house”, he said.

The outgoing majority leader, Alban Bagbin, however, disagreed with the Sekondi MP’s line of argument. He explained that in the appointment of a Minister of State, an instrument is used, but the procedure has not been stated in the constitution or any law. He added that if the appointment is to be revoked, until the instrument of revocation is issued, the Minister could still be at post.

According to him, the minority cannot interpret revocation to mean communication from the President, either by word for a letter to the house, to inform members of the new changes he has made.

He said the termination occur when parliament gives prior approval, and the President firms up that approval by giving instruments of appointment.

When this is done, then that amounts to a revocation of the earlier appointments of the Minister. “Madam Speaker, I believe strongly that the use of the word revocation means it must be specially done not just by a letter. I therefore think that the Minister is rightly before the house as the current Minister and should be allowed accordingly”.

But MP for New Juaben South, Hon. Hackman Owusu Agyeman thinks the assertion of the majority leader was neither there nor there. He argued that once parliament has received communication from the President to that effect, the person ceases to be a Minister. He mentioned that since the constitution is silent on the issue and does not provide an overlap, then they should go by the practice.
Source: The Chronicle

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