Bolgatanga Central MP Isaac Adongo has broken ranks with the Minority Caucus in Parliament in connection with the main opposition National Democratic Congress’ endorsement of Finance Minister-designate Ken Ofori-Atta.
The Deputy Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament told journalists: “I have stayed out of the media because of the question of why we approved Ken Ofori-Atta”.
“I did not want to drag my name in the mud when I do not have control over the processes leading to the approval of one of my fiercest critics”, he said.
To Mr Adongo, the new Finance Minister “can put GHS100 billion in this room and I will get him out as a Finance Minister but that is not my decision”.
He noted that Mr Ofori-Atta’s endorsement will not discourage him from continuing to hold the minister to account.
“As for Ken Ofori-Atta, we have another four years of battle ahead of us, and we are ready for him. I am not going to be daunted because Ofori-Atta has been approved and people are asking: ‘Why? If he was corrupt, yet was approved’. I must continue to hold the government to account. That will not demoralise me, although I know the majority of my people are not happy. I will continue to do my work.”
Mr Adongo reiterated: “I didn’t want to be seen as endorsing somebody I believe is a scam on Ghana. Ken Ofori-Atta epitomises all that is wrong with our financial and economic sector of Ghana and I am the last person to endorse such a move. That is why I wanted the records to show that I was absent that is why I didn’t even go there to sign”.
On the same day that Mr Ofori-Atta was passed, the General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, told Class91.3FM’s Kofi Oppong Asamoah on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 that it is in the interest of the main opposition party for Mr Ofori-Atta to continue being the Finance Minister since his “mess” will enable the party to win the next elections.
Mr Ofori-Atta, who served as Finance Minister in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s first term, was, by consensus, approved by Parliament, after his two-day vetting, to continue in the same portfolio in the President’s second term.
Explaining why the NDC supports Mr Ofori-Atta’s approval, Mr Asiedu Nketiah, who was recently appointed to the Parliamentary Service Board, told the Class Morning Show that his messing up of the economy will inure to the benefit of the electoral fortunes of the biggest opposition party.
“The party has taken this position because we think that the interest of the NDC will be better served if the President insists on Ofori-Atta becoming the next Finance Minister because, as far as we are concerned, he has messed up so badly that it will inure to the benefit of the NPP if they had a new face but once they have chosen to maintain him, he should be there, continue the mess, which will then pave the way for the NDC to come to power”, he noted.
Asked if the NDC then supports the approval of Mr Ofori-Atta to continue serving as Finance Minister, Mr Asiedu Nketiah responded: “Yes” but added: “If we were in power, Ofori-Atta will never get near the Finance Ministry but the situation is that they are in power and the party in power defines the national interest according to their beliefs, so, if the mess he is creating constitutes national interest, in the view of the NPP, let him go and continue because we consider it to be a mess and we now have reason to believe that Ofori-Atta has lost face in the national finance community, he has lost face domestically; the workers of the country have a problem with him and all that”.
“So, if a new Finance Minister were to be appointed, at least, he will have a reason to say that: ‘I’m a new person. Give me time to settle and so on before I come to deal with your issues’. He will have that breathing space. Unfortunately, Ofori-Atta will not have that breathing space”, he told Kofi Oppong Asamoah.
In his view, Mr Ofori-Atta must be allowed to continue to face the consequences of the “mess” he created.
“I’ve heard of policemen whose salaries were topped up during the elections and after the elections, deductions were made”.
“So, the person who was responsible will still continue to be there and they will be asking him those difficult questions”.
“So, we think that it is in our history that he should continue”, Mr Asiedu Nketiah stressed.
Ahead of his approval, the party, per a statement signed by Mr Nketiah, urged calm among its grassroots supporters, since whatever position the Minority Caucus takes with regard to Mr Ofori-Atta’s nomination, has been discussed and agreed with the leadership of the NDC.
The purpose of the letter, Mr Asiedu Nketiah explained, “is to indicate to our party’s rank and file that we have held several engagements with the leadership of parliament and we have charted a consensual position as to how they should handle the nomination of Ken Ofori-Atta and, so, they should not be surprised if there’s that decision coming from parliament and we did this because of what happened after the approval of some nominees early on because there was no such communication between the party and the grassroots”.
“There was pandemonium, sort of: everybody was angry, accusing people left, right centre; we don’t want the approval or otherwise of Ken Ofori-Atta to generate any such problems within the party”, he noted.