Joe Wise reacts to Bagbin’s remark on dismissal of motion for probe into COVID expenditure

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The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu has denied claims that he overturned a ruling by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to admit a private member’s motion seeking to probe the government’s COVID-19 expenditure.

According to him, the speaker did not rule on the motion. He said at the time the speaker was exiting the chair, an objection was raised against the motion, which required that the arguments from both sides be listened to, and a decision given, which he did in favour of those against the motion.

“After I heard the arguments from the proponent of the motion and the adversaries, I was convinced that the objection was well-placed, and I, therefore, sustained it. It was never a review of any decision earlier taken by Mr. Speaker to admit the motion to set up a special committee, as he seems to suggest in his formal communication,” Mr. Osei-Owusu noted in a statement.

He said the recent comment by Alban Bagbin on his conduct sets a dangerous path for Ghana’s democracy.

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“To say that my ruling is offensive, illegal or unconstitutional because he would have ruled differently is, in my view, a rather dangerous approach to democracy.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, on Wednesday took on his first deputy, Joseph Osei-Owusu over the latter’s decision to dismiss a private member’s motion seeking to probe the government’s COVID-19 expenditure.

According to him, such actions are illegal and offensive and must not reoccur, especially when he had already admitted the motion.

Bagbin said despite his disapproval of Joe Osei-Owusu’s ruling, he will not take steps to reverse it.

“The penchant of the First Deputy Speaker [Joe Osei-Owusu] to overrule my ruling is, to say the least, unconstitutional, illegal, and offensive. Be that as it may, I shall not be taking any steps to overrule the decision of the First Deputy Speaker to dismiss the motion as moved by the Hon. Ranking Member of the Finance Committee,” he said.

But Joe Osei-Owusu in his statement expressed his reservation about the Speaker’s position.

He strongly expressed the view that he as a Deputy Speaker of Parliament or any member, while presiding “exercises the same powers and applies the same Standing Orders and Constitutional provisions to manage the House while on the Chair. It is not the case of the President and his Vice, as Mr. Speaker suggests.”

“Mr. Speaker’s last description of my ruling as illegal, unconstitutional and offensive is most unfortunate and epitome of intolerance of different views,” he added.

Read Joe Osei-Owusu’s full statement below:

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