Following the cheap attempt by pro-government newspapers, to use medical trips of Speaker Alban Bagbin, to equalize on behalf of the embattled Akufo-Addo government after the Speaker’s chide of the president in regards to his comment on the Supreme Court ruling on deputy speakers, some executives of the opposition NDC responded in kind.
Mr. Evans Amarh, Deputy Constituency Organizer of the NDC in Tema East, led a press conference in Tema on Monday to remind the pro-NPP media that the wastage of public funds is actually more befitting blame for the government and not the speaker.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the dirty hatchet job that pro-NPP media are doing for the government is nothing but a crowning shame to the incompetence and corruption that has led to where we are as a country.
It is interesting to note that the very government that the pro-NPP media are trying to use Rt. Hon. Bagbin’s supposed wastage of public funds to equalize for is the same government which has paid $120,000 bribe to Dome Kwabenya MP, Adwoa Sarfo, to try to convince her to end her strange vacation in the United States and return to Parliament,” Mr. Amarh said.
He added, “Between the government funding the medical bills of the Speaker, the third highest ranking person in Ghana and paying bribes to entice an irresponsible MP who has run away from parliament to come back, which is more useful? We dare say the spending on the Speaker is more useful!”
The press conference had been thronged by other members of the NDC in the constituency, including Mr. Bernard Aryee Quaye, who is the NDC’s Wulomo youth organizer.
It was provoked by a mischievous story by some pro-NPP media, the ruling party’s main newspapers, which claimed that the Speaker has since assuming the speakership spent US$1.1million on medical trips to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
A piece of complete yellow journalism, the story had quoted supposed sources in parliament and guesstimated the actual amount involved, claiming Bagbin may have spent US$200,000 per trip and that this was so because the Speaker used to travel with many people even though the story also claimed that the highest number of people the Speaker is known to have traveled with is only six (6).
But, the story is coming after the Speaker scolded president Akufo-Addo after the president praised the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that deputy Speakers who sit in for the Speaker in his absence can still vote.
Many have said that the ruling amounts to the judiciary trying to tell parliament how it must do its job, hence violating the principle of the separation of powers.
According to Mr. Evans Amarh, who is tipped to win as Constituency Organizer, “the public media attacks on the Speaker by the NPP is a joke because while the attacks target the Speaker, all that the Speaker did was to speak the minds of Ghanaians.”
He said, “Many of us are not happy that after removing Charlotte Osei and replacing her with Jean Mensah at the Electoral Commission, and filling the Judiciary with judges, president Akufo-Addo is now trying to make parliament too a victim of the assault on our democratic institutions by adding parliament.”
He pointed out that, “when the Speaker spoke, he spoke out as the head of one of the independent organs of government, and he had every right to rise up and defend the independence of the legislature that he leads as Speaker.
“if this is why Speaker Bagbin is under attack, then it is very unfortunate and a plan that will fail because we the tax payers know that spending on the health of the Speaker is very important; more important than paying Adwoa Sarfo bribes,” Mr. Evans Amarh said.
Mr. Bernard Aryee Quaye, who flanked Mr. Evans Amarh pointed out that, “the bribery allegation is not the concoction of us in the NDC, it was exposed by the man who was sent to pay the bribe into Adwoa Sarfo’s dollar account, the NPP’s own Kennedy Agyapong.”
He also pointed out that for some reason, it is only the trips of the Speaker that the pro-NPP media seem to be concerned about; “what about the millions that president Akufo-Addo is wasting on expensive private jets charging US$14,000 per hour? What about the other government officials?” he asked.