Alban Bagbin refers 3 NPP MPs to Privileges Committee
Majority Leader backs full implementation of committee’s report
Privileges Committee given 2 weeks to produce report after Parliament’s resumption from recess
Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Muntaka Mubarak, has filed a motion challenging the Speaker of Parliament’s decision to refer three NPP Members of Parliament to the Privileges Committee.
The affected MPs are Sarah Adwoa Sarfo (Dome-Kwabenya), Henry Quartey (Ayawaso Central), and Kennedy Agyapong (Assin Central).
Muntaka Mubarak, in a memo cited by GhanaWeb, urged Parliament “to revoke, cancel or rescind the referral made by The Rt. Hon. Speaker on the 5TH Day of April 2022, to the committee on Privileges to consider the issue of absence without permission from the House under Article 97 (1) (c) of the constitution and Standing Orders 15 and 16 of Honourables Sarah Adwoa Sarfo, Henry Quartey and Kennedy Ohene Agyapong.”
Earlier in the Parliamentary sitting of Tuesday, April 5, Speaker Alban Bagbin referred the three MPs to the Committee for reportedly absenting themselves for over 15 sittings without permission.
The Privileges Committee is expected to invite the MPs and hear any reasonable explanation they have to offer after which they will report to the House upon resumption form recess.
On the floor, the Asawase MP challenged the Speakers ruling stating that it was not his responsibility to raise the issue of the MPs absenteeism.
He also mentioned that the Speaker should not be allowed to take petitions from ‘outsiders’ seeking to remove MPs on grounds of absenteeism.
“Mr. Speaker, I disagree with your conclusion and Mr. Speaker I make reference to our standing order 76(1) and I read ‘every application to parliament shall be in a form of petition and every petition must be presented by a member of Parliament who shall be responsible for the observance of the rules of appendix A’.
“Mr. Speaker, you yourself alluded to the fact that MPs would raise a matter that would be raised to the privileges committee and civil society equally do same.
“Mr. Speaker with the greatest of respect I disagree with you when you Mr. Speaker want to do that yourself because it has to be a member of parliament who has to do that per our rules,” he said.
He outlined the danger of a Speaker taking petitions from outside the House.
“… If we allow Speakers to take petition from outsiders to refer MPs to Privileges Committee, colleagues we will be doing ourselves the greatest disservice.
“Because we will one day get a dictator speaker who will one day take statements from outsiders and begin to penalize Members of Parliament. It’s on this basis that I call on all of us that we resist the attempt by Mr. Speaker to refer our colleagues to the Privileges Committee,” he said.
Ras Mubarak, former Kumbungu MP, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to address the issue of absence in House.
His petition came on the back of the topical issue of Sarah Adwoa Safo reported absence without permission at the time.
In his petition, Ras Mubarak cited Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey, the MP for Ayawaso Central, Ebenezer Kojo Kum, the MP for Ahanta West and Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central as having breached Article 97(1)(c) of the Constitution which stipulates that an MPs shall vacate his seat; “if he 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.”