The Member of Parliament (MP) for Effutu constituency, Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, has said he would be scandalized if any serious Lawyer will support the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for ordering the arrest of some two civil servants over perjury.
The Effutu Lawmaker has berated James Klutse Avedzi, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for quickly calling in the Police to pick up the two for allegedly lying under oath after they’d appeared before it over financial malfeasance.
“I say this one with the law of emphasis- I’ll doubt if any serious Lawyer in this country, will ever dissent on this sacred legal position.
“Off course anybody for social justice, you in the media you can disagree because obviously you may want to look at it differently. A doctor or an engineer or anybody with any other profession, any Civil Society Organization or any Civil Society person may dissent, but I doubt if any Lawyer will ever say that this is not the position of the law. I may have to go back to the law school,” he argued in an interaction with host Kweku Owusu Adjei on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.5 FM Tuesday.
He noted that inasmuch as “we must arrest the canker of corruption in this country, in doing so we must be mindful of the known rules in jurisprudence.”
He fears parliament might be disgraced badly if anybody decides to test the law on the grounds of the Chairman’s actions.
“If you determine perjury, what steps are you supposed to take? you don’t just call in the Police to arrest the person lying under oath. And as a Lawyer, if I keep quiet on this, in future somebody will question that was there no legal person sitting on the committee who could have advised?
“I don’t want us to create a certain template where a Lawyer may want to test the law, and file a case regarding the issue and parliament would be disgraced because we faltered in due processes and were so quick in judging the persons involved.”
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) ordered the arrest of two District Finance Officers (DFO) who attempted to deceive the committee with fake pay vouchers when they appeared before it on Monday, January 20, 2020.
The duo, Isaac Akowuah, a former DFO and James Essilfie, current DFO of the Sefwi Akotombra District Assembly had appeared before the PAC a second time to respond to some queries raised by the Auditor-General in his report about the Assembly.
The two, last week appeared before the PAC which was considering the Auditor-General’s reports for 2015 and 2016 on the utilization of the District Assemblies Common Fund where they failed to produce 62 pay vouchers valued at GH₵126, 000.00 that had gone missing in the Assembly during the audit.
The Chairman of the PAC, Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, however, gave them a week to search for the missing pay vouchers and return to the Committee for further interrogation.
Re-appearing before the PAC at a sitting, Monday, the duo surprisingly produced nine pay vouchers valued at GH₵120,000.00 out of the 62 pay vouchers valued at GH₵126,000.00, thereby, raising a lot of eyebrows.
A member of the Committee, who sensed some foul play having glanced through copies of the nine pay vouchers sought the indulgence of the Chairman of the PAC to give members some ample time to analyze the authenticity of the pay vouchers produced by Mr. Akowuah and Essilfie.
Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, himself puzzled by the action of the two District Finance Officers, granted members of the committee five minutes to analyze the pay vouchers following which they came to a conclusion that the said pay vouchers were fake.
Infuriated by the attempt to deceive the Parliament, Chairman Avedzi, therefore, called for the arrest of the two.
“So you want to hold this Committee to ransom that the two of you will connive to come and deceive this Committee to take anything and get away with it. We are going to lock you. The Police will take a statement from you and that statement will be used against you in the law court. We will not prosecute you but the government will take over”, he noted before ordering the arrest of the two district finance officers.
The two DFOs were then picked up by Police personnel detailed in Parliament and sent to their station for further interrogation.
Any Committee of Parliament has the powers of a High Court and could therefore cause the arrest of public officials who lie before it or flout its directives.