Minister-designate for Communications and Digitisation

Five ministerial nominees out of the 30 so far vetted have been deferred by the Minority Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Appointments Committee to reappear for further questioning.

They are Communications Minister nominee Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Railways Minister nominee, John Peter Amewu, Roads Minister nominee, Kwasi Amoako-Attah, Attorney General and Minister of Justice nominee, Godfred Dame and Health Minister nominee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful has been accused of being discriminatory in the closure of some radio stations.

The nominee during her vetting two weeks ago said the National Communications Authority (NCA) acted in accordance with the Electronic Communication Law of 2008 in shutting down radio stations.

She stated: “Ursula has not closed down any radio station…it was by operation of the Law…the NCA conducted an audit exercise which indicated that 144 radio stations had committed several infractions which necessitated that they be sanctioned.”

Also, the NDC MPs cited flaws in her answers regarding the Kelni GVG CMP deal.

This Common Monitoring Platform (CMP) contract was set up with the objective of providing a means of verifying the information provided by telecom companies for tax revenue purposes in accordance with the law.

She, however, justified the implementation of the programme, claiming that it has helped the country to boost its tax collections from the sector.

Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu
John Peter Amewu

The Hohoe MP, John Peter Amewu, answered questions pertaining to the PDS contract and the beating up of a bailiff in his constituency.

During his vetting, Mr Amewu took responsibility for the botched PDS deal owing to the fact that he was sector Minister at the time.

However, he denied any involvement in the incident with the bailiff, claiming that he only found out a week after it has happened.

Roads and Highways Minister-designate, who the president described as the most outstanding minister during his first term, will also reappear before the Committee.

This is because he approved a $570 million motorway expansion project “without basis”.

The Roads Ministry this earlier year rejected calls by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament for the abrogation of the contract.

During his vetting, he again defended government’s decision to award the $570 million Accra-Tema motorway contract to a sole-sourced construction firm, Mota-Engil Engenharia Construcao Africa S.A.

He disclosed in a statement that the government undertook a transparent and competitive process between 2017 and 2020, using Public-Private Partnership arrangements to select the contract after failed attempts by the previous NDC government to procure the said works to another foreign contractor.

Godfred Dame

Godfred Dame, who has been nominated as Attorney General and Minister for Justice, has to return to provide clarity concerning three main issues.

For starters, the family of Gregory Afoko has petitioned the Committee against his appointment claiming that he was not truthful about the facts of the matter.

Mr Dame, who is a board member of the Public Procurement Authority, denied knowledge of some contracts that were awarded.

The 13-member Minority on the Committee, however, claim to have information that casts doubt on this claim.

Mr Dame also denied his involvement in the prosecution of former Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Inusah Fuseini, over his comments after the 2020 general election.

Meanwhile, Health Minister-Designate will also reappear before the Committee to answer more questions on the Frontiers Contract.

Mr Agyeman-Manu disclosed during his vetting that the procurement of Frontier Healthcare Services, as the sole company testing all passengers who arrive at the Kotoka International Airport, was done by a presidential task force that reports directly to the President.

He too will have to answer more questions on the matter.