AM Show host, Benjamin Akakpo (L) interacts with Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor (M) and Dr Kingsley Nyarko (R)

The Member of Parliament for Kwadaso, Dr Kingsley Nyarko, says the passage of the Electronic Transaction levy (E-levy) Bill is not illegitimate as suggested by the Minority in Parliament.

The Minority has said due to their walkout on March 29, the passage of the bill after the Speaker put the question to a Majority-sided Parliament is null and void.

But Dr Nyarko has explained that when Speaker Alban Bagbin put the question before the House for a voice vote, some members of the Minority were still in the Chamber, therefore adding to the number needed to take a decision.

“I remember that when the Speaker put the question, some of their members were in the Chamber. When Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu was making his submission, he did say that when he is done, they will wait for the majority leader to make his submission before they exited. But as soon as he ended, he left, and Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu yielded his submission.

“So whiles they were leaving, he (Majority Leader) prompted the Speaker to put a question. So he (Speaker) put the question when some of them were still in the Chamber.”

Speaking on JoyNews’ AM Show on Thursday, the Kwadaso MP said the Minority tried to evade, but for the cameras, they could not.

“I suspect some of them could have run, but for the cameras, they could not do that. At that time, it is between AYEES and NO and who is louder. I saw some of them when the question was posed. So the number to make the decision at that moment was there,” he added.

But interacting with host, Benjamin Akakpo on the show, the South Dayi MP, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, rejected Dr Nyarko’s submission.

Dr Dafeamekpor argued that what is prescribed in Standing Order 109 (1) and Article 48 of the Constitution is “present and voting” MPs for such a question to be put before the House for a decision to be taken.

Standing Order 109 (1) reads: “No question for decision in the House shall be proposed for determination unless there are present in the House not less than one-half of all the members of the House and except otherwise as provided in the Constitution, the question proposed shall be determined by the majority of the votes of the members present and voting.”

According to Mr Dafeamekpor, the instructive phrase in the provision is “present and voting.”

He stressed that the Standing Orders did not make provision for “present and not voting and walking out. Not present and deciding that you will not participate. That is the law.”

He added: “Where the leader of the Caucus declares to Parliament that myself and my battalion will no longer associate with the matters on this matter going forward, that ends the power of any member being present and having an effect on the proceedings.

“When we walked out, Majority Leader was in a hurry and urged the Speaker to put the question, and that was contrary to procedure.”

According to him, proceedings are stalled to ensure the House is put back in order when a walkout is staged.

“Walking out is a process. You just don’t vanish from the chamber,” he said.

In the absence of the Minority on Tuesday, the third reading of the E-levy Bill at the Consideration Stage was completed. After, Speaker Bagbin said: “Honourable members, the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill 2021 duly read the third time and passed.”

Due to the contention, Minority Leader of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, and his colleagues Mahama Ayariga and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa have dragged the Attorney-General to the Supreme Court over the approval of the Electronic Transactions Levy.

The Tamale South MP and his colleagues want the Supreme Court to declare that the said approval was contrary to law.

Meanwhile, Mr Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor has urged Ghanaians opposed to the passage of the bill to remain calm as the Supreme Court has been invited to address the matter.

“I am happy that we have gone to court. Our base should relax. Let the Supreme Court make its pronouncement. Whether the gavel falls on the left or right, it is the best way to determine the controversy in question,” he said.