The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has asked the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin to rule on the matter involving Dome-Kwabenya lawmaker, Sarah Adwoa Safo based on what the Constitution says.
According to him, the constitution has spelled out clearly what should happen to a lawmaker who absents himself or herself from Parliamentary duties without permission and also failing to avail himself or herself to a process to deal with the situation.
“I am hoping the Speaker will do what the constitution requires,” the Suame legislator told TV3’s Berla Mundi on the New Day show on Wednesday, August 10.
“I am not happy with what the possible consequences will be. Adwoa Safo served as my Deputy,” he added.
He further accused the Minority in Parliament of shifting their position on the matter.
He stated that when the petition against Adwoa Safo and two other New Patriotic Party (NPP) legislators was referred to the Privilege’s Committee by Speaker Bagbin, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak rose and challenged the Speaker that he could not refer the matter to the Committee on his own.
That was their position on the matter, he told Berla Mundi.
But they have suddenly changed their position, he added.
“The Minority keeps shifting goalpost on this matter. When the Speaker ruled and referred the matter on 5th April, the Minority Chief whip rose and said he disagreed with the Speaker. His disagreement was that the Speaker could not on his own refer that matter to the privilege’s committee, that was the position he took , initially that was their position that the Speaker can do that. I said I disagree with him , the speaker can do that,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The Committee met Ken Agyapong, MP for Assin Central, and Henry Quartey, Ayawaso Central however, could not meet Adwoa Safo because she was out of the jurisdiction.
In its conclusion, the Committee, by a majority decision, decided that “Hon Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Hon Henry Quartey admitted having absented themselves for more than the fifteen Sittings threshold. However, the explanations given by Hon Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Hon Henry Quartey for being absent were found reasonable.
With regards to Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo, despite all the efforts made to invite her to attend upon the Committee, the Hon Member did not appear before the Committee to provide the reasons for her absence from the House without written permission for more than the fifteen Sittings threshold.
“By the provisions of Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution, the onus is on Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to provide a reasonable explanation to the Privileges Committee why she shall not vacate her Seat, for having absented herself for forty-two (42) Sittings, during the period under consideration.
“The Minority Members on the Committee concede that reasonable efforts were made to get Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to appear before the Committee, however, the Minority Members are of the view that the lack of response of Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to the numerous invitations of the Committee should be reported to the House without any conclusions.
“The above notwithstanding, the Majority, was of the view that, Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo failed to take advantage of the numerous opportunities and facilities offered her to provide reasonable explanation to the Committee with regard to her absence without leave.
“Therefore, under Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare v the Attorney General & 3 Ors, the Dome-Kwabenya should be declared vacant.”
But the Speaker Alban Bagbin, said he would not, in a rush, give a ruling on the recommendations made by the Privileges Committee.
He has therefore deferred his decision until resumption of sitting from break as Parliament rises today July 28, TV3’s Parliamentary Correspondent Komla Kluste reported.
Addressing the House on Thursday July 28, Mr Bagbin said he needed time to produce a reasoned written ruling on the matter.
“Honourable Members, I have consulted the old lady, the old lady has given me an advise and I think that advise is correct. The issue raised by the Majority Leader is both of substantive and procedural law.
“I need time to submit to this house a reasoned, written ruling. I cannot in a haste of today, give you the ruling. In the circumstance, I will urge this House for us to call it a day.”
Meanwhile, the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu has served notice that the Majority will go to court if the Speaker does not rule on the matter based on what the constitution says.