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Minority moves to remove Finance Minister from office

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Ken Ofori-Atta — Minister of Finance

The Minority in Parliament has commenced a process that seeks to remove the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, from office.

The caucus which has 137 members in Parliament has so far gathered over 100 signatures to kick-start a Vote of C ensure proceedings against the Finance Minister.

This is in accordance with article 82 of the 1992 Constitution, which provides a detailed procedure of removing a minister of state through proceedings in Parliament.

For such a motion to be successfully moved, it requires at least one-third (92) of the signatures of all members of Parliament and considering the numbers of the Minority, meeting this requirement appears to be fulfilled.

However, the requirement for the motion to be supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds (183) of all the members of Parliament, in order to pass a vote of censure on a Minister of State, will not be met by the Minority in Parliament without the support of members from the Majority side

If the motion is admitted, the Minister for Finance will be the second Minister in recent times to have such a motion filed against him, following that of the Minister of Health, which is still pending.

Pressure to resign

The move by the Minority follows the decision of the country to formally seek support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the Finance Minister had publicly stated that the country will not do so.

This had led to pressure mounting on the minister to resign, with some arguing that he was the right person to lead the country’s discussions with the IMF, considering his earlier stance on an IMF programme.

The Finance Minister has, however, stated that he would not resign stating that “it is almost like telling a father to resign from his children because he has changed his mind.

“There are times that decisions have to be made for the survival of a country and, therefore, if circumstances such as COVID or the Ukraine war occur which are not typical, it does change the environment, and sensible people will change their minds,” he said.

Constitutional provision

Article 82 of the 1992 Constitution states that;

(1) Parliament may, by are solution supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of Parliament, pass a vote of censure on a Minister of State.

(2) A motion for the resolution referred to in clause (1) of this Article shall not be moved in Parliament unless—(a) seven days’ notice has been given of the motion; and

(b) the notice for the motion has been signed by not less than one-third of all the members of Parliament;

(3) The motion shall be debated in Parliament within fourteen days after the receipt by the Speaker of the notice for the motion.

(4) A Minister of State in respect of whom a vote of censure is debated under clause (3) of this article is entitled, during the debate, to be heard in his defence.

(5) Where a vote of censure is passed against a Minister under this article the President may, unless the Minister resigns his office, revoke his appointment as a Minister.

(6) For the avoidance of doubt, this article applies to a Deputy Minister as it applies to a Minister of State.