‘Dying’ MP Driven In Ambulance To Parliament
To ensure government doesnot lose its quest to get approval for the passage of three fresh taxes, a New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) stunned many Ghanaians, after he was rushed to the august House in an ambulance to add to their side, even after he was involved in a ghastly motor accident.
The MP, Mohammed HardiTufeiru, representing the people of Nantonin the Northern Region,had gotten himself in an accident around the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) in Accra, while allegedly hurrying to Parliament, which was considering the much-rejected new taxes for government.
It is unclear, if Mr.Tufeiru was driving the car himself or his driver, when the accident happened in the late hours of Friday, March 31, 2023.
Photos of the accident, which were splashed on social media, showed a mangled saloon vehicle belonging to the MP, which he was involved in the accident with.
A video of the ambulance carrying the lawmaker was also later seen on the environs of Parliament,where he was brought from the vehicle in a stretcher to ostensibly pave the way for him to be counted, instead of moving from the accident scene to the nearest hospital.
Even though Parliament has a clinic, it is alleged that they may have closed by the time he arrived there.
Though many were surprised at the decision taken by the MP, his colleague and MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, has justified the action, saying any of them would have done that, considering the fact that the stakes were high and the numbers in this particular Parliament.
He said his information was that it was the injured lawmaker that suggested that he should be brought to Parliament first to vote.
Speaking on TV3’s Keypointsprogramme on Saturday, Mr.Ayariga said his side didnot see the MP, who is also a Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, but his information is that, he had a deep cut on his forehead.
Journalist with the EIB, Francis Abban, who shared the photos, said “Tonight the first 3 revenue bills (Excise Duty Amendment Bill, 2022) has been passed by 137-136 majority decision. Big twist is that the MP for the Norton Alhaji HardiTufeiru was made to vote first, even though he was not physically available in the Chamber at the time of voting. Speaker Alban Bagbin justified the reason for allowing his vote to be counted, stating that he only followed procedures.”
“Members who are incapacitated shall upon reporting their incapacity to the Speaker through the Clerk shall be recorded. We have some of our members that are incapacitated and what I did was to ask the Whips to go and physically see them to assess their incapacitation and whether they are of sound mind.” I did not do anything untoward. I only followed the rules,” Starr Fm’s Morning show host quoted Mr.Bagbin as saying.
In fact, this is not the first time such incident is happening. Recall that in 2021, another MP who was also not well and allegedly admitted at the hospital was driven in an ambulance to come and vote for the controversial Electronic levy, popularly known as e-levy.
The MP, who was then the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, had been out of the House due to ill-health. He later this year resigned as a minister, but he is still an MP.
The new taxes are the Growth and Sustainability Levy Bill 2022, Excise Duty Amendment Bill 2022 and the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2022.
Many interest groups, including importers andthe Ghana Union of Traders Association, had kicked against their coming into being, but the government had argued the taxes were crucial for its bailout with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The groups said the passage of the taxes will worsen the already dire situation in the country, adding it will scale up unemployed.
The Minority had also promised they were not going to support the passage of the taxes, but, in the end, the Majority used its slim number to pass them, following which the House rose for the Easter break.
Government is expected to raise about GHC4billion annually in domestic revenue mobilization.