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Victor Smith Survives Parliamentary Rejection Scare   
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Victor Smith, Eastern Regional Minister
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Members of Parliament by a majority vote on Thursday night approved Ambassador Victor Smith as Minister for the Eastern Region of Ghana, before rising for what is expected to be a long Easter break.

Ninety-seven MPs voted in support of the dismissed Rawlings spokesperson, whereas 61 lawmakers voted against his nomination, according to Citi News Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky.

The late Thursday night's vote followed a stormy debate by lawmakers on the report of the Appointments Committee of the House.

The Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho-led Committee, which vetted the nominee, had recommended in its report to the House that Mr Smith be approved for the job of Minister of State by "majority vote".

Soon after the vote, which gave the nominee's ministerial dream a crucial lifeline, the Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu made a direct call on President John Evans Atta Mills to "reconsider" his intension to appoint the former Ambassador as a regional minister.

The Suame MP believes the Majority in Parliament "got it very wrong" by voting in support of the nominee.

The Minority NPP had earlier during a debate on the nominee’s fate made a strong case for total rejection of the Minister-designate, claiming he lacked credibility and demonstrated crass lack of knowledge about the region he has been nominated to lead. But the majority NDC MPs put up a fiery defense for their party man, who is also the ruling party's parliamentary candidate for the Akyem Abuakwa North Constituency, with some calling him a man of honour.

Early on, MPs unanimously approved Buem NDC MP, Hon Henry Ford Kamel, as Minister designate for the Volta Region, describing him as a true gentleman.

The divisive vote on Mr Smith came after the Speaker, Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, ruled that the former Ambassador's fate be determined by a secret ballot, similar to what happened in the case of Foreign Affairs Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni and Deputy Minister for Finance, Fiifi Kwetey.

Before the crucial vote, Minority MPs taunted the former Ghanaian diplomat to Czech Republic, accusing him of being "a serial liar" and undeserving of the position of Minister of State. The Minority MPs’ raid on him followed his apparent retreat during his vetting from a string of damaging allegations he had previously made against the NPP rule during his days as Editor of the Standard newspaper cum spokesperson for former President Rawlings.

Mr Smith is on record to have accused the Kufuor administration of plotting to "assassinate" his former boss. He also published a number of reports in his now defunct Standard newspaper some of which accused then President Kufuor of massive corruption, citing an alleged US$5 billion crude oil deal with a Kuwaiti oil giant.

But, during his appearance before the Appointments Committee last week, the former diplomat retreated from his earlier allegation under pressure from Minority MPs on the Committee.
Source: Citifmonline.com

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