Speaker, Majority leader clash over Adwoa Safo ruling

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Majority leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu clashed with Speaker of Parliament Alban S.K. Bagbin following a ruling that the Privileges Committee’s report that recommended the Dome-Kwabenya seat to be declared vacant is not final.

The Speaker ruled on Wednesday, October 26 that the Committee’s report should be placed before the entire House for a decision to be made.

According to him, the report is subject to the consideration of the house.

The Majority leader, however, insisted the recommendation of the Privileges Committee is final and the report it submitted to the House was a way of communicating to the House its work and not subject to debate.

He accused the Speaker of contorting the ruling of the house to suit what he deems appropriate and stressed the 1992 Constitution is clear and makes no exception.

Speaker Alban Bagbin referred Madam Safo, Mr. Henry Quartey, MP of Ayawaso Central, and Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP, Assin Central, to the Privileges Committee on May 4 for absenting themselves from 15 sittings of the House without his permission during the First Session of the 8th 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, Adwoa Safo failed to present herself during the Committee’s sitting to explain her absence without leave.

The Majority argued for the seat to be declared vacant without delay in line with stated constitutional provisions.

The Majority cited Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare v the Attorney-General & 3 Ors, in this regard.

The Minority on the other hand 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 story to the Committee.

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