-Advertisement-

-Advertisement-

Majority Leader wants Adwoa Safo out of Parliament

Source The Ghana Report

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has urged the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, to declare the Dome-Kwabenya seat vacant quickly.

He insists that will be an act of upholding the country’s 1992 Constitution in his verdict on Dome-Kwabenya MP Sarah Adwoa Safo.

Earlier, on 28 July 2022. the Speaker deferred a judgment on Adwoa Safo’s fate over her absence from the House for more than 15 sittings without written authority.

The MP has been absent from Parliament since November 2021.

The Privileges Committee of Parliament unanimously advised, stating that “the Dome-Kwabenya seat is automatically vacant by operation of law.”

According to the Committee, Ms Safo was required under the requirements of Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution to give a convincing justification to the Privileges Committee as to why she should retain her position despite missing 42 sittings of a legislative session. This is a result of the MP’s failure to utilize the many opportunities and resources made available to her to present a plausible justification.

The Majority Leader, whose side has been greatly hurt by the MP’s ongoing absence from the House, demanded that the Speaker follows the dictates of the law and kick Ms Safo out of Parliament.

“I am not happy with what the likely implications will be, but the law must be obeyed. I had Adwoa Safo as my deputy,” he told TV3 in an interview.

Background

The issue of absenteeism came to light after a former MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker in March 2022.

Mr. Mubarak cited four MPs: Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey; MP for Ahanta West, Ebenezer Kojo Kum; and Assin Central MP, Ken Ohene Agyapong.

He said the MPs had flouted provisions of Article 97 (1) (c) of the Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 16 (1), which frowns on members absenting themselves for 15 sitting days without permission from the Speaker.

Per Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution, a Member of Parliament 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.”

Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin subsequently referred the three MPs to the Privileges Committee.

Adwoa Safo’s reasons for absence

In an earlier interview, Ms. Safo said she was not served to appear for a probe on absenteeism.

The legislator, who has been criticized for abandoning her ministry and parliamentary duties, said no information had officially reached her desk.

“I have served in Parliament for over 12 years and a practicing lawyer for 18 years. I know the rules, but as I sit here, I have not been served…No official document has come to me.

“I don’t have to be served through the media. I have to be served personally, and I don’t have to be served through third parties,” she insisted.

She explained that she was currently in the United States attending to pressing family issues and would return after taking care of her sick son.

“As you can see, I am here in the United States taking care of my son, and I don’t know how I am supposed to appear before the Committee. If the Speaker says you have been summoned to the Privileges Committee, the Committee then sets its own modalities on when we are to appear, but I don’t have any information on that,” she said in an interview on Joy News on Thursday, 26 May 2022.

She insisted she would only return home when her son was declared fit and healthy.

Committee’s Report

On 13 July 2022, Parliament’s Privileges Committee, after completing its probe, decided to let the entire House determine the fate of Ms. Safo.

The Committee indicated that on three different occasions, Ms. Safo failed to honour a zoom invitation to explain her absence from Parliament.

In the case of the other absentees, the Committee, by a 15-12 majority decision, determined that the excuse from Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong and Ayawaso Central MP Henry Quartey was tenable and, thus, they should not lose their seats.

“With Kennedy Agyapong, there were 15 votes against 12, likewise Henry Quartey. In Adwoa Safo’s case, the chair of the Committee said since she had never appeared before us, we did not vote. We have thus decided to hand her over to Parliament to determine her fate,” a member of the Committee and MP for Akwatia, Henry Boakye-Yiadom, revealed.

Below is the full report submitted by the Committee:

Download (PDF, 134KB)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You might also like