The Dome-Kwabenya Member of Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo, has disclosed that she has not been served any notice to appear before Parliament’s Privileges Committee.
In an exclusive interview on JoyNews’ The Pulse on Thursday, the Gender Minister said she only heard of the meeting through her interview on the channel.
“I am not aware such a thing has been given to me. I am just hearing it from you. As we speak, I don’t know that I have been invited.
“I have to be served,” she added.
A Ranking Member on the Committee, Ricketts Kweku Hagan, told JoyNews in earlier interview that the Committee has officially written to all three New Patriotic Party’s MPs referred to the Committee.
“As far as I am concerned, I have not been informed by the Clerk that they have said they can’t come or whatever, so I assume that if they have received the invite, then we expect to see them.
“Only Hon. Kennedy Agyapong is the one that I know has asked for permission which myself and the Chairman discussed and we obliged that he can have that,” he stated.
But Madam Adwoa Safo has denied any knowledge of the hearing.
Meanwhile, she says she will return to the country from the United States when her son is fit and healthy.
Adwoa Safo explained that she is currently taking care of her unwell son and has to ensure all is settled before she resumes her duties as an MP and a Gender Minister.
The embattled legislator was expected to appear before the Privileges Committee of Parliament on Friday, May 27, but the scheduled meeting has been postponed until further notice.
Referral to Privileges Committee
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, referred three members of the House to the Privileges Committee, for their continuous absence in Parliament.
The three are; the Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey and Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong – all from the New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s side of the House.
According to the Speaker, the three legislators had breached the 15-day absence rule, hence his decision to refer them to the Privileges Committee for the necessary actions to be taken.
Delivering his ruling on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, April 5, Mr Bagbin explained that based on the relevant provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament, the named NPP lawmakers are guilty of the absenteeism threshold for Members of Parliament.
“I have accordingly come to the irresistible conclusion that a Member who absents himself or herself from 16 sitting days of Parliament in a particular meeting, without the permission in writing of the Speaker, falls squarely within the ambit of Article 97, clause 1(c) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 16(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament,” he stated.
But reacting to this ruling, the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, disagreed with the Speaker.
In his opinion, the Speaker cannot on his own accord refer the said Members to the Privileges Committee.
According to the NDC lawmaker, if such a ruling is allowed to prevail, a problematic convention will be created for Parliament.
He, therefore, urged his colleagues on both sides of the divide to rally against the Speaker’s directive concerning the three NPP lawmakers.
“The danger, colleagues, as we sit in this chamber is this; if we allow Speakers to take petitions from outsiders and suo motu, [refer] members of Parliament to it, colleagues, we’ll be doing ourselves a great [disservice].
“Because we will one day get a dictator Speaker who will simply take statements from outsiders and begin to penalise individual members of Parliament. It is on this basis that I call on all of us, to resist the attempt by Mr. Speaker to refer our colleagues to the Privileges Committee”, he stated.
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