Private Legal practitioner and leading member of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Gabby Otchere-Darko on Tuesday represented Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta in the hearing of the Parliamentary Committee probing the basis for a vote of censure against him [Ofori-Atta].
The start of the hearing was held up because of a clash over the mode for tendering evidence at the committee.
Even before being sworn in to testify, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, and, Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, who were the first to appear before the committee, wished to utilise evidence in a manner that was contested.
The Finance Minister had written prior to the hearing requesting full particulars of the allegations against him in the Minority’s motion.
While the committee’s clerk said he had not received the formal record of the evidence from the Minority, Mr. Forson said he had sent the notice of evidence via hyperlinks because the clerk’s notice to him had come in a letter sent via WhatsApp.
As the debate escalated, the Minority members of the committee appealed for flexibility and the urgent handling of the allegations against the Finance Minister.
The Majority members on the committee pushed for a formal notice of the evidence to be tendered before proceedings continue.
Mr. Ofori-Atta’s lawyer, Gabby Otchere-Darko, expressed concern that his client would be caught off guard by the evidence and requested “full particulars of the facts in support of the allegations against the minister.”
He also said there would not be enough time to scrutinise the evidence outlined by the Minority.
“It would not be fair for the Minister of Finance to be ambushed right here without any preparation to start answering questions.”
“All we are asking for in the interest of justice is that we should be furnished with the full particulars of the facts in support of each of the allegations contained in the letter and then the supporting documents,” Mr. Okyere Darko said.
Despite the appeals, the hearing was allowed to proceed after the Minority Leader swore his oath and was allowed to give his testimony.