Tamale Central Member of Parliament Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed has dared his colleague National Democratic Congress (NDC) lawmaker for North Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa to return the two cars he bought with loan facilities for legislators if he is a principled person.
He described the position taken by Ablakwa regarding the $28million car loan for legislators as hypocritical.
Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta submitted to parliament for approval a loan agreement of $28 million pending consideration by the Finance Committee.
This is for the purchase of 275 vehicles for members of the 8th Parliament.
This move has divided opinions among members of the Ghanaian public and also the legislators themselves on whether or not this is a good decision in the midst of the severe economic hardship Ghanaians are saddled with.
Okudzeto Ablakwa on Wednesday, July 14 revealed that he and some of his colleague lawmakers from across the political divide had made progress in getting parliament to reject the 28million car loan facility for the legislators.
He stated that he and his colleague from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Patrick Boamah cosponsored a private member’s motion which the Rt. Hon. Speaker admitted for urgent debate this week.
“Glad we made major progress today in our efforts to have Parliament reject the US$28million MPs’ car loan facility.
“Really elated that my colleague NPP MP, Patrick Boamah and I cosponsored a private member’s motion which the Rt. Hon. Speaker admitted for urgent debate this week,” he said in a tweet.
Mr Boamah who is the Vice-Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee has said in an earlier interview that if he has his way, he will tell the legislators to reject the facility.
“For me, if I have my way I will tell my colleague MPs to reject that facility for the simple reason that all the other arms of government vehicles are procured for them without having to go through this process where the media is always on the back of MP s for contracting a loan.
“I don’t see the reason why we should be the subject for this public bashing,” he told journalists on Wednesday July 7.
Commenting on this development, Mr Murtala said “I remember in the coffee shop he ( Okudzeto Ablakwa) called me while he was standing with the contact person of one of the companies and he was asking me whether I will take my car from that company, so where is the principle in this? Since when did he realise that taking the car is unconscionable?
“He has gotten two cars and a new MP who is coming who doesn’t even have a motorbike, whose constituency is farther than his, whose constituency is broader than his, who also needs to discharge his responsibilities by being mobile, such an MP should not be given a car? Let us get serious in this country.”
“This is not a principle. Then he should return the other two cars,” he told Joy Prime on Thursday July 15.
He added “Okudzeto is not just a colleague Member of Parliament, myself and him we have come a very long way. He has taken the loan two times. I went to Parliament with him the same time when he took the car loan. In the Seventh Parliament, I wasn’t there but he took the loan.
“So where is the principle in this? Since when did he realize that taking the car was unconscionable. Who is he trying to deceive?
“This is not a principle position. I remember in the coffee shop he called me while he was standing with the contact person of one of the companies and he was asking me whether I will take my car from that company, so where is the principle in this? Since when did he realise that taking the car is unconscionable?”