Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament Frank Annor-Dompreh has described one of his colleagues, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, as a nuisance for allegedly cheapening the high office of parliament.
Ablakwa who is the MP for North Tongu on Monday revealed government was buying a six-bedroom apartment for a chancery in Oslo, Norway, at the cost of 12 million dollars, an amount he suggested was inflated.
He presented some documents to the Speaker of Parliament to ground his claim but the Speaker shot down the tendering of the documents on the basis they were inadmissible.
Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway rejected the claim by the MP and insisted that the government only expressed interest and “has not signed any agreement to purchase the said properties”.
But the minority on Tuesday demanded a presidential probe into the scandal as Ablakwa provided documents, including video evidence, to suggest government would have proceeded to buy the apartment if he had not raised the red flags over the issue.
President Nana Akufo-Addo however rejected the invitation to him to cause an investigation into the alleged scandal, maintaining that it lacked substance particularly so when no contract was signed on the purchase of the building.
Mr. Ablakwa described the president’s response as “unspeakably shameful”, but some majority members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament on Thursday held a news conference to lash out at the MP.
He’s cheapening Parliament
“The office of a member of parliament is not cheap, but our brother day in day out is cheapening this office. It’s a source of worry to some of us,” Mr. Annor-Dompreh stated.
He did not understand why Ablakwa, who is a ranking member of the committee could impugn criminality and corruption on the part of the Foreign Minister who he said has been cooperative and transparent on the issues of the building.
“If the minister had an intent for defrauding the state, she wouldn’t have displayed all these figures to us. The so called 16.5 million dollars is the offeree’s offer being put on the table. It has not been accepted so it cannot become a binding agreement,” he explained.
In his view, Ablakwa is beginning to show bad faith in his interaction with the committee, adding “We dont know what he is seeking to achieve” with what he termed falsehood being peddled by the MP.
Citing a recent Global Property Reporting global cities report of 2018, the chairman insisted that the agency fee, legal fees and document registration fee among others which the MP claimed to be illegal, are indeed legal.
He also expressed indignation at the MP for releasing official documents on social media.
“What are we doing to ourselves?…the least information you have you run to the media just to paint a negative picture. What are we doing to our country? He’s not respecting the Ghanaian people” and the media, he stated, adding Ablakwa has succeeded in confusing the local media.
They should ‘prep for more nuisance’
When reached for comment on the matter, Mr. Ablakwa said if exposing such corruption would make him a nuisance, “then they should prepare for more nuisance”.
He said he was glad that some leading members of the New Patriotic Party have gone on record to commend him for exposing such deal that would have ripped off the taxpayer.
According to Ablakwa, “It is not for him [Annor-Dompreh] to decide on who should be here, who he can work with, which other MP should be elected and all that. He should get off his high horse”.
He said if he got his facts wrong as is being claimed by some government officials, why then did the government back out of the deal
“Every single information i put out on this matter have been confirmed….What I expect the NPP to do is to concede and apologise to the people of Ghana and to commend us in the minority for being vigilant. That’s why we were elected here, that’s what members of parliament ought to do. I leave these matters to their conscience; I know that they have a troubled conscience.