The Office of the Speaker of Parliament has explained that the recent trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin for a routine medical check-up is part of his conditions of service.
The trip was embarked upon just a day after he ruled to reject the 2022 budget statement and the government’s economic policy under controversial circumstances.
He went on the trip with two members of his staff – his aide and one secretary – as well as his spouse and Head of the Parliamentary Clinic, Dr. Prince Kofi Pambo.
“The current Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, being mindful of the times in which the country finds itself, traveled with a comparatively skeletal staff, taking into consideration the economic situation in the country and bearing in mind, the need for frugal and prudent spending,” a release issued by his counsel, Magnus Kofi Amoatey, on Monday, November 29 said.
It explained that there are records to show that all his predecessors, particularly in the Fourth Republic, embarked on similar trips, and even the entire leadership of the House are entitled to the same.
His office is, therefore, not happy about reports on the trip, particularly on the reason why he is accessing healthcare abroad rather than home.
“Indeed, the Speaker has on a number of occasions stated openly and continues to maintain his position to Members of Parliament to help safeguard the public purse and so has been mindful of same in all his dealings as Speaker.
“The Office of Speaker wishes to assure the general citizenry of its commitment to protecting the public purse at all times.
“Parliament is also committed to seeking the best interest of the people they represent and will continue to always do so.”
It further explained that the Majority and Minority members may disagree on issues on the floor “but these are all based on procedures, which govern the work of the House and which are strictly adhered to without fear or favor”.
“The office will advise that the health issues of the speaker and that of other office bearers are not politicized as anybody could be taken ill at any time.”
The Speaker is expected back home on Tuesday, December 14, 2021.