The National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa has charged his fellow Members of Parliament to undertake independent investigations of the activities of state institutions in order to make them accountable.
In a media engagement on Wednesday, October 11 2023, the Ranking Member of Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs noted that the initiative of Members of Parliament undertaking independent investigations will help strengthen parliament oversight responsibility.
He indicated that many of the scandals he has done shockingly revealed grand scheme of corruption and bad governance practice of state institutions which do not have any respect for the principles of rule of law.
“If you have to do your work as a member of parliament with full appreciation of the constitutional mandate of oversight responsibility that is really part of your mandate; to delve into matters. Don’t just sit back in parliament and wait for what is brought before you. As we are finding out in a lot of these scandals, most of these things are going on at the blind side of parliament.
“They don’t seek Parliament’s approval; they will not present it to parliament; you won’t find it in their annual report, you won’t find it in work plans and you will not find it in the budget approvals to parliament as well”.Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa
Mr Ablakwa further asserted that if Members of Parliament begin to undertake their independent investigations of the activities of state institutions, it will help reduce the many cases of corruption and bad governance practices in the country.
According to the lawmaker, the principle of oversight responsibility of Parliament as an institution requires all Members of Parliament to do independent investigations about the activities of state institutions especially the executive arm of government in order to make it accountable.
“If you just sit in parliament and wait for document before you interrogate, a lot will go wrong. Before you realize, so much harm have been caused. My understanding of oversight particularly financial oversight, checks and balances, making sure that the executive arm of government is checked and there is transparency and accountability, that we must all go a step further particularly as members of parliament to ensure accountability.
“Those who propounded the theory, intention was to ensure that no arm of government becomes power overbearing, either that it will lead to tyranny, autocracy, and the attendant vices which includes corruption, state capture, plutocracy and those atrocities which we don’t want in a functioning democracy”.Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa
Ablakwa Discounts Claims Of Doing the Job of Investigative Journalist
Moreover, Mr. Ablakwa indicated that his revelation of scandals under the current government does not mean he is doing the work of investigative journalist.
According to the legislator, investigation of the activities by state institutions is a cardinal function of every contemporary Member of Parliament.
“Often I hear a lot of people say is he not taken the job of investigative journalism, is he not stampeding their work; not at all, I am just carrying my constitutional mandate and going to the next level. And probably we are used to sitting back for the investigative journalists to bring these matters to the floor but I think that we need to investigate these matters as MPs”.Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa
He additionally stated that the Constitution of Ghana even mandate citizens to uphold the principle of oversight responsibility in order to prevent the wrongful plunder of state resources by government officials.
Mr. Ablakwa therefore called on all Ghanaians to be responsible citizens by demanding for accountability from state officials to ensure that the country is set on the part of growth and development.
“If you read the constitution very carefully, the responsivity goes beyond members of parliament, even citizens are required to do so; it is why we have the whistle blower Act that mandates citizens to blow the alarm when there’s wrongdoing or misuse of state resources or resources are being diverted. I believe if we all commit to this as responsible citizens we shall set this county on the part of growth and development”.Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa