Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

The Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has rejected Speaker Alban Bagbin’s  ruling that gives clearance for a report from the Privileges Committee on the three absentee Members of Parliament to be discussed on the floor of Parliament. 

Reacting to the Speaker’s ruling at a press conference at Parliament House on Wednesday, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said: “The Speaker erred in referring the matter to the House” and threatened to challenge the decision. 

“I disagree with the ruling. It doesn’t sit with the constitution, and I must express my discomfort with this unfortunate ruling that has been made because it is inconsistent. We will come back with a substantive motion to challenge the ruling,” he said. 

Mr Bagbin, on Wednesday, gave clearance for a report from the Privileges Committee on three absentee Members of Parliament to be tabled and debated in the House. 

Mr Bagbin dismissed attempts by Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu to declare some of the seats vacant without a formal debate of the Privileges Committee’s report. 

In his ruling, Mr Bagbin said: “The preliminary objection for the admissibility of the report is hereby dismissed in limine.” 

However, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu insisted that the ruling of the Speaker should have been based on the reports of the Privileges Committee. 

“I am insisting that the Speaker is wrong in his understanding of the Constitution. He has taken us on an obsequious journey that is not helpful to the growth of Parliament. The matter doesn’t rest with plenary,” he said. 

On July 28 2022, Mr Osei- Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Suame raised a preliminary objection that the Privileges Committee report on the three absentee MPs should be considered as information and not a motion.  

Mr Bagbin on May 4 referred Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome-Kwabenya; Mr Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central and Mr Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves from 15 sittings of the House without his permission during the First session of the Eighth Parliament. 

The committee failed to achieve a consensus in its recommendations on whether absenting herself for more than the mandatory 15 days without permission warranted her seat being declared vacant. 

However, before going into a recess in July, Mr Bagbin deferred his ruling on whether the Dome-Kwabenya seat should be declared vacant or not following Madam Safo’s failure to honour a meeting by the Privileges Committee on her continuous absence from Parliament. 

The Majority Caucus in Parliament wants the seat declared vacant without delay in line with stated constitutional provisions. 

Most MPs on the committee cited 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, in this regard. 

Meanwhile, the Minority MPs on the committee, however, argued that according to the principle of natural justice, the seat should not be declared vacant because Madam Safo did not provide her side of the issue to the committee. 

The committee, subsequently, determined that the excuses from her two other colleagues, Mr Kennedy Agyepong and Mr Quartey, for absenting themselves were reasonable. 

It was conserved that Madam Safo failed to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to explain her absence without leave. 

However, per the copy of the report made available to the Ghana News Agency by a source before recess, members of the committee gave a split decision on the fate of Madam Safo. 

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.