Civil Society Group Odekro has issued a damning report on how absenteeism by parliamentarians has cost the taxpayer ¢1.4 million in the last year.
According to the 54-paged reports, 54 Members of Parliament (MPs) during the time absented themselves from parliament without permission in clear violation of the constitution.
The report identified eight of the 54 top absentees which included chairmen of committees and some Minority MPs who have no other business at the level of the executive.
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“Overall 54 MPs reached and crossed the 15 sittings absence without permission threshold, thus violating Article 97(1)(C) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, since there is no material evidence that they sought permission in writing from the Speaker.
“Of this statistic, 34 chronically absentee MPs (representing 62.9% of the 54 absentee MPs) double as Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State,” the report said.
Three MPs who scored a perfect attendance record included Atwima-Nwabiagya South legislator, Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere; Bortianor-Ngleshie Amanfro, Habib Saad and Sene West MP, Twumasi Kwame Ampofo.
Majority of those who absented themselves from the House are New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs who also double as either Ministers or Deputy Ministers.
Some of the absentee Ministers include Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Samuel Atta Akyea, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Catherine Afeku, Joe Ghartey, Ambrose Dery, Ignatius Baffour Awuah and Kwasi Amoako Atta.
Others are Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Joseph Kofi Adda and Dominic Nituwul among others.
Among the notable Deputy Ministers who have been absent without permission are Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah, Daniel Nii Titus-Glover, Anthony Abayifaa Karbo among others.
Other notable nine opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs who have been absent from parliamentary proceedings include Alban Bagbin, Sampson Ayi, Dr Dominic Ayine, Casiel Ato Forson and Samuel George.
Suggesting some reformative measures to check absenteeism, Odekro said the House can have an automation of the process of requesting for permission to be absent.
It said the current process whereby MPs must manually fill out the ’Leave of Absence’ has proven to be ineffective.
Odekro, however, accepts that there are occasional urgent emergencies MPs must respond to in their respective constituencies which might make it impossible for an MP to come to the House and file an official request to be absent.
“This will broaden avenues of seeking the explicit permission of the Speaker in writing to be absent,” it said.
Also, Odekro recommends that MPs who have sought permission in writing to the Speaker should have duplicate copies of approved ‘Leaves of Absence’.
“This is to draw a distinction between approved and unapproved leaves of absence,” it added.