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Speaker Refers 3 MPs Including Kennedy Agyapong To the Privileges Committee Of Parliament Over Absenteeism

The Speaker Of Parliament Alban Bagbin has referred three New Patriotic Party (NPP) Members of Parliament to the Committee of Privileges of Parliament over absenteeism.

Article 97 (1)(c) of the constitution says that a seat in Parliament will be declared vacant “if he (an MP) is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet”.

Speaking in reference to this Article and Parliament Standing Order, the Speaker of Parliament pinpointed the three MPs who included Member of Parliament for Assin Central constituency, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya constituency, Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, and Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central Constituency, Henry Quartey.

The Speaker of Parliament noted that records show that the three legislators have violated the fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament threshold as well as the permission in writing form directive.

The Speaker charged the Privileges Committee to deal with the issues with the necessary urgency and seriousness it deserves and then submit their report two weeks after the House reconvenes for voting.

In reaction to this, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak called on his colleagues to join hands in resisting the action of the Speaker in referring the three to the Privileges Committee of Parliament. He indicated that the House must not entertain petitions from people outside Parliament. He argued that “We will be doing ourselves disservice” to consider such a petition in the future when Parliament chances on a dictator as a Speaker.

But the Speaker of Parliament held that the petition to refer the three MPs to the Privileges Committee was addressed to himself and not to Parliament. He said it is for “me to exercise my constitutional mandate”.

On the part of the majority caucus, the referral of the issue to the committee was not contested but they argued that the decision on whether to retain the MPs or expel them is for the Privilege Committee of Parliament to take and not for the plenary to vote upon.

Member of Parliament for Nandom Constituency, Ambrose Dery said “It will be unconstitutional for the Privileges Committee to bring their report in the plenary to be voted upon”.

“The only disagreement I have is to submit the report for voting” Majority leader in Parliament, Kyei Mensah Bonsu added.

Source: opemsuo.com/Hajara Fuseini

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