The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) of Sekondi Constituency in the Western Region, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, has said that the NDC Minority in Parliament is rehashing old and debunked allegations against the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Mr Mercer said the allegations of misreporting were first raised in May 2020, and rejected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as being untrue.
He, therefore, wondered why the Minority would use the same issues as bases for a motion of censure against Mr Ofori-Atta.
He made the observation at the first hearing of the Ad Hoc Committee on the motion of censure brought against the finance minister.
It was in response to the presentation of Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, which centered on misreporting of the fiscal deficit, fiscal treatment of expenditures above or below the line and general public sector accounting.
The MP said the past Country Representative of the IMF, Dr Albert Touna Mama, had debunked the allegations on Joy News File in May when he was called to respond to them when first raised by Dr Forson.
“Indeed, the said Dr Touna Mama was the Country Representative of the IMF, he was called to respond to allegations on misreporting of figures that the Finance Ministry had presented to IMF and he said all the figures were known by the IMF and therefore it was untrue that there was misreporting,” Mr Mercer said.
IMF compelled to clarify
In May 2020, Dr Touna Mama said that whilst his outfit tried “as much as possible to stay out of debates” they felt compelled to clarify statements made by Fact Check Ghana concerning the $1 billion IMF COVID-19 relief fund to the government.
Fact Check Ghana, an affiliate of the Media Foundation for West Africa, through its website, stated that government of Ghana presented data to the IMF which was different from figures in the annual budgets for 2018 and 2019.
But speaking on Joy FM’s News File Programme in May 2020, the IMF Country Representative to Ghana, Dr. Albert Touna Mama suggested that Fact Check Ghana misrepresented the facts because the government was not the one that presented the figures that the IMF published in its statements as Fact Check Ghana reported.
Difference in methodology
The IMF Country Director explained that the difference in figures was as a result of a difference in the methodology of calculation, adding that the figure in fiscal deficit in their statement was a figure they generated themselves from the data government presented to them, having added financial and energy sector payments in line with their methodology, which is different from government’s methodology.
Earlier, Mr Ofori-Atta, asked the committee for a fair hearing.
He asked that he be furnished with the documents that they intended to rely upon to execute the motion of censure initiated against him.
The minister’s lawyer, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, said the rules of natural justice and fair hearing required that the accused was not only heard but also necessarily be furnished with the documents that formed the bases of the allegations made against him.
Source: Graphic online
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