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How Public Enterprises minister-designate was nearly turned away from being vetted

In what would have been a first, at least during the ongoing vetting at the Appointments Committee of Parliament, the minister-designate for Public Enterprises, nearly didn’t have his day in Parliament.

This came about after the Ranking Member on the Committee, Haruna Iddrisu, making reference to an Executive Instrument sent to the House by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was conspicuously missing the said ministry.

In seeking clarity, he stated that while the president has the executive authority to appoint, he must do so according to law.

“Chairman, I have a preliminary, fundamental objection to us proceeding with the vetting of our colleague. I have no problems with his person, I know that he’s a Member of Parliament but I have here, a letter dated 21st January, 2021, signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. It has a sub-heading, Central Government Ministry, 29, Public Enterprises, Hon. Joseph Cudjoe.

“And Chairman, I have also in my hand here, Executive Instrument, EI Civil Service Instrument of 2021 and it lists ministries of the service and it ends at Ministry of Youth and Sports. Conspicuously lost in the EI is the Ministry for Public Enterprises, as I indicated in 29 of the president’s list.

“If we do proceed to vet the honorable Cudjoe, are we vetting him as minister, minister-of-state, minister heading a secretariat, because within the meaning of EI 12, there is no ministry of Public Enterprises. I know there was some letter from the Office of the President on some of these issues so Mr. Chairman, I am demanding for clarity: what are we seeking to do? Are we considering the honorable Joseph Cudjoe for a non-existing ministry which is not a creation of law, or a creation of statute, or we are just considering him.

“I have no issue and I can have no issue in questioning the mandate of the president in Article 78 which gives him the executive authority to appoint ministers, but he must do so in accordance with law. To what ministry is honorable Joseph Cudjoe going?” he questioned.

This was followed by a response by the Deputy Ranking Member on the Committee, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, who explained the peculiar circumstances involved in the matter, wondering if there should be a specific EI stating the creation of such a new ministry.

After a few minutes of going back and forth, seeking clarity on exactly what should be done about the peculiarity of the situation, the Chairman of the Committee ruled that the vetting continues.

However, a question from one of the members brought back the matter, causing yet again, another non-consensus on what the next step should be.

Eventually, it was agreed by the Committee that they go on a recess, to seek better clarity, even if requires calling the Office of the President, before they return.



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