Hot ‘clashes’ during K.T. Hammond’s vetting and why they happened
The MP, who has been nominated by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to head the Ministry of Trade and Industry, had to answer pertinent questions regarding his person and qualification for the suggested position.
In the process, the MP had some clashes with some members on the Appointments Committee who sought to get his responses to some questions.
This is what ensued as broken down in this article:
K.T. Hammond vs Mahama Ayariga
The Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, was the second member on the Appointments Committee to question the nominee for the trade and industry ministry.
Ayariga sought to find out whether K.T. Hammond was conversant with the report to parliament about the number of staff in the presidential office as a precedence to a question about the size of government and why a special advisor will be sitting at the Office of the President.
This is how the conversation went.
I’m sure as a member of the House, you are conversant with the annual report to parliament of the staff of the presidential office because all of us are given a copy of the report.
That does not necessarily make you conversant with it. You may have a copy but that does not make you conversant with it, you know what I mean.
Well, the assumption is that, if you are as intelligent as you claim, you will be conversant with it.
At this point, the Chairman of the Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu (Joe wise), asked Mahama Ayariga to withdraw his statement.
Honourable, that is unparliamentary, and you have to withdraw it.
Mr. Chairman, the nominee must realise that he is before a serious committee. You can do whatever you do with us outside the sitting of the parliament. When you come before the committee and you are on national television and everybody is viewing, you must take us serious.
I’m asking a question, let me finish asking the question and if you have an answer, you can give your answer. If you tell the whole country that you’ve not been paying attention to the papers that have been given to you, that is up to you.
We are working on your nomination and you are interjecting and directing everybody.
Honourable member, it’s me, I’m to regulate the meeting so if I’m failing, I’ll take responsibility.
K.T. Hammond vs Kwame Governs Agbodza:
The posturing of K.T. Hammond, which appeared as jovial to many during the vetting, seemed to have gotten on the wrong side of the Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Kwame Governs Agbodza.
He took the chance during this period, after Mr. Ayariga had made a point about the trade and industry minister nominee, to reiterate his displeasure about his witty posturing during questioning.
This is what Kwame Governs Agbodza said:
At a time of our country where people are in real difficulty making ends meet, I’m of the view that the nominee is very affable and we all know, but when you are about to take a position as a trade minister, you need to take up a posture that is more serious than being friendly to us.
K.T. Hammond vs Suhuyini:
The Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, also sparked some ‘fire’ from the nominee when he sought to raise a question about previous findings from a judgement debt commission in 2001, when Kobina Tahir Hammond was a deputy energy minister under the John Agyekum Kufuor administration.
This is how the conversation went:
The constitution under Article 94.2 – A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament unless—
d – has been found by the report of a commission or a committee of inquiry to be incompetent to hold public office or is a person in respect of whom a commission or committee of inquiry has found that while being a public officer he acquired assets unlawfully or defrauded the State or misused or abused his office, or willfully acted in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the State, and the findings have not been set aside on appeal or judicial review;
Mr. Chairman, based on this provision in the constitution, I wish to get the nominee’s response on a matter involving the sale of a drill ship in 2001 when he was deputy minister of energy.
A matter that came before the judgement debt commission and the probe on that same ended with the view that the honourable nominee before us represented both parties in the transaction – acting as the advisor to government, and also secured finance from a third party for the purchase of the ship from the government.
The commission also noted that he had not disclosed his financial interest in the transaction and had taken advantage of his position to gain benefit for himself and his associates.
Indeed, the commission concluded that honourable K.T Hammond had breached his fiduciary duties by facilitating the transaction without ensuring that the government received fair value for the drill ship. Mr. Chairman, I want to find out from the honourable nominee if this finding has been set aside.
Mr. Chairman, I’m not sure what he is reading, is it his own printout or the government’s? I don’t know what he is talking about, let him give us properly what he is talking about. This is the first time in my life I’m hearing what he is talking about.
So let him give us the documentation.
At this point, the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Wise interjected again –
Did you appear before any such commission?
Did the commission make any such finding?
Absolute balderdash. No, Mr. Chairman
What did you say?
Mr. Chairman, no.
No, you used a word that is totally un-parliamentary, please withdraw that.
Mr. Chairman, with respect to you, I take it out but no, there is no such findings about me.
Honourable nominee, the question was from me, your answer was to me, and I felt offended.
Minority Leader Ato Forson also chipped in;
Cassiel Ato Forson:
Mr. Chairman, part of the work we are doing here is to examine the nominee’s temperament, so the nominee must ensure that he answers questions with the right temperament. We are colleagues and obviously if your colleague asks you a question, you have a duty to answer his questions. You may be provoked, but please the use of such words are un-parliamentary and should not be repeated.