In Parliament on Thursday, July 15 during a debate on the $28million car loan for lawmakers, Member of Parliament for Tamale Central Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed told some of his colleague MPs who oppose the facility not to pretend to be who they are not.
This comes after his colleague Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has said about the loan that the impression has been created as though the lawmakers in the house for their gains.
Contributing to a debate on whether or not this should be approved on Thursday, July 15, Mr Ablakwa said “The impression is created as though the 275 Members of Parliament of this house are here just for ourselves. We are not here for ourselves, we are here for the people of Ghana.
“We went to the people and offered ourselves with a vision to serve them and to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of our people and to achieve for our collective good a country that is based on success on progress, on development that our people will be well and duly served and that their wellbeing at all times will be our focus.
“That is what we wake up every morning to do. We need to reassure the good people of this country that it has never been about us.”
In reply, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed said “In as much as I agree with such admonishing, I want to entreat myself and my colleagues we shouldn’t be pretentious over such admonishment. It shouldn’t just come from our lips, we must be seen demonstrating that.
“If the four-wheel drive is a luxury to some members of parliament I say that it is not a; luxury to others. It is not an idea of us being admonished that we should demonstrate that we love the people of this country.
“That is our responsibility and let us see that in our action. I will want to caution myself and caution my colleagues when the cameras are before you don’t try to play saint when the cameras are before you don’t try to pretend to be who you are not because we know the conduct of everybody and if we begin to question the conduct of people, I don’t think that is what the people of this country want. I agree that doesn’t give us any car loan.”
Murtala Mohammed had told Mr Ablakwa to return the two cars he bought from loan facilities for legislators if he is a principled person.
He described the position taken by Ablakwa regarding the car loan facility for legislators as hypocritical.
He accused Mr Ablakwa of lacking principles relative to this matter.
Ghana’s Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta submitted to parliament for approval a loan agreement of $28 million pending consideration by the Finance Committee, a facility that has been approved by the House on Thursday, July 15.
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 amid 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 was 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.
“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 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 retune the other cars two cars,” he told Joy Prime on Thursday, July 15.
“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 at 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?”