The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, yesterday indicated that 15 Members of Parliament (MPs) had smuggled their names into the Votes and Proceedings as present when they were absent.
Mr Osei-Owusu, who stopped short of mentioning the names of the MPs, said the legislators in question were not in Parliament on Wednesday, June 12, 2019, but their names had been captured in the Votes and Proceedings – the provisional record of the previous sitting – as being present on that day.
He said the practice, which had been ongoing for sometime now, was not good and cast a slur on the integrity and credibility of MPs and the Legislature as a whole.
Mr Osei-Owusu, who is the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Bekwai, made the disclosure following an objection raised by the Deputy Minority Leader and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Avedzi.
Mr Avedzi had complained that though he was present in Parliament last Wednesday, he was marked absent.
Mr Osei-Owusu said that practice of being absent and getting names in the register was bad and should not be encouraged by Parliament, adding that “we should not encourage the practice where people either enter their names and go and do their private business or sit in their office, watch proceedings [on television] and claim that they are in the chamber.”
He said there were many MPs whose names appeared as present whose traces never showed anywhere.
“As I go through [the votes and proceedings], I have marked about 15 names from the record of yesterday that I did not see anywhere [near Parliament], they don’t belong to the committees which were meeting yesterday. I know for a fact.
“How did their names get into our record…..and this borders on our integrity and it is important that we do not give room for people to doubt our integrity. There are some people I have noted. Every day I check and their names are here [in the votes and proceedings] but I haven’t seen them here in a whole month”, Mr Osei-Owusu said.