Sarah Adwoa Safo
Speaker of Parliament, Right Honourable Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin
By: Gregory Pilkington Amoah
Speaker of Parliament, Right Honourable Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, will deliver his ruling on embattled Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya Sarah Adwoa Safo, who was together with two other Members, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Henry Quartey cited for absenteeism and referred to the Privileges Committee of the House.
The Committee had finalised its report and reported back to the House for a decision to be made on whether or not the seats of these Members ought to be vacated as prescribed by law.
The capturing of the motion and its subsequent laying before the plenary generated rigorous debate among both caucuses of the House as the Members on the Majority and Minority sides offered varying submissions on the matter.
Majority Leader and Member of Parliament for Suame, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, raised a preliminary objection as to the decision to lay the report by Privileges Committee via a motion to the House for a decision to be made
He argued that the report was tabled to provide information and for the plenary to take a decision on it.
In his argument, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the committee’s report should not have been advertised as a motion which would require a determination.
For the Minority, Member of Parliament for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga, submitted that, per its gravity, the matter must be subjected to rigorous debate by, the House in order for a legally binding determination to be made which will then set a precedent to stand the test of time.
The Privileges Committee in its report had been split on the fate of Adwoa Safo who has been absent and out of the jurisdiction beyond the mandatory 15 days without permission.
According to a copy of the report, the Majority wants the seat declared vacant citing Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare v the Attorney General & 3 Ors, as legal authorities to buttress this decision while the Minority jumped to the defence of the absentee MP, saying under the rules of natural justice( Audi Alteram Partem which translates as Listen to the other Side), she still needed to be given a chance to explain herself.
The Committee in its report however excused the two other Members, Kennedy Agyepong and Henry Quartey, MPs for Assin and Ayawaso respectively citing that their reasons for absenting themselves were reasonable.
In his decision after a debate on the report by the Privileges Committee, Speaker Bagbin said due to the constraints of time, he needed an extended period to submit a written ruling owing to the weight of the matter as it raised both substantive and procedural issues in law.
He therefore adjourned the House Sine Die and said a written ruling will be delivered upon its resumption from recess.