Deputy Health Minister ‘muffled’ at PAC sitting

James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

Deputy Minister of Health Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu who was to represent the sector minister at the Public Accounts Committee sat through the sitting without uttering a word today.

He was unable to speak for his boss because some members of the committee mainly from the minority side prevented him from taking an oath before the committee. The oath would have enabled him to represent the Minister of Health Agyemang Manu.

The committee was looking into the audit report by the Auditor General on the disposal of government vehicles by the Ghana Health Service.

The MP for Kumbungu Ras Mubarak raised red flag about a possible conflict of interest when the deputy Minister stood up to take the oath. According to him, Kingsley Aboagye is the Ranking Member of the Committee, and therefore suggested that he stepped aside in the interest of the committee and himself.

Subsequently, other members from the Minority side, Richard Quashigah MP for Keta,  Clement Apaak MP for Bulsa South seconded their colleague, insisting that since there are two deputies at the Health Ministry, the other should be called to replace Agyemang Manu rather than the Ranking Member.

However,  the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee James Klutse Avedzi conceded that although this has been a regular practice, there have been several attempts to get ministers of state on parliamentary committees replaced albeit without success.

He however agreed that the Deputy Minister of Health who is the MP for Bibiani Anweaso Bekwai should be allowed to sit in for the substantive Minister Agyemang Manu but will not be allowed to take any oath. Other officials from the Ghana Health Service were allowed to take their oaths.

This compelled the Deputy Minister to sit quietly throughout the proceedings without uttering a word.

Nonetheless , the Director General of Ghana Health Service Dr. Nsiah Asare was present to answer questions pertaining  to the Auditor General’s report, with support from the Chief Director of the ministry Dr. Afisa Zachariah, Director of Administration of GHS Kofi Poku and Director of Finance at the Ministry, Ramatu Ude.

The committee was however informed by the Chairman of the committee James Klutse Avedzi that Agyemang Manu had early on communicated to him that he will be in India at the time of the committee sitting.

By Onua FM| Owoahene Omari Acheampong|

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