The Chairman of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Joseph Osei- Owusu, has reiterated that it is a constitutional imperative for the seat of the Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, to be declared vacant once she failed to appear before the Committee.
Speaking exclusively to JoyNews, the Bekwai MP explained that the vacancy is automatic once the MP – despite several opportunities afforded her – failed to appear before the Committee to explain why she was absent for more than 15 consecutive sittings.
“The words of the Constitution are clear. If you are absent for 15 sittings, you did not seek permission from Mr Speaker to be absent, then you should vacate your seat unless you give an explanation to the Privileges Committee to their satisfaction and the explanation is reasonable,” he said.
The Minority had fought off the Chairman’s position insisting that since the Dome-Kwabenya MP had not been heard, her seat could not be declared vacant.
But Mr Osei-Owusu, who is also the 1st Deputy Speaker, says it cannot be argued that the MP was not heard when they offered her all the opportunities to offer an explanation.
He explains that the onus is on the MP to avail herself not the Committee to chase her.
“We used all the rules and all the procedures and went beyond those procedures which Parliament said we should [use to] reach her. We went beyond that and advertised at places where we know she’s active on social media.
“So, whatever effort Parliament ought to make to offer her the facility to explain herself has been done. It is her choice whether to discharge that responsibility placed on her to offer her a reasonable explanation or not. If she chooses not to offer any explanation, then the law should apply,” he added.
The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection is currently in the United States.
Speaking to JoyNews earlier on why she had left her parliamentary and ministerial duties, she said her son is unwell and would return when his condition becomes stable.
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