Parliament intends to sue Akufo-Addo for refusing to sign Witchcraft, Armed Forces bills

Source The Ghana Report

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, says Parliament has planned to seek a legal interpretation over President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s stance not to sign some bills passed by the House in 2023.

Mr. Bagbin describes the decision of the President as unconstitutional and therefore there is a need to seek legal assistance for the bills to be passed into law.

“I want to end up by assuring you that I will be in touch with my good friend the President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo even though I disagree with him in his refusal to assent to our bills and I have given notice that we will be in court about this matter,” he said.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, maintains that it is not within President Akufo-Addo’s power to declare the constitutionality of the Bills in question. This responsibility solely lies with the Supreme Court, which is the only body that can address any claims of misuse.

President Akufo-Addo specifically identified the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, sponsored by MP Francis-Xavier Sosu, as having financial burdens associated with replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment.

The Speaker of Parliament, in an official response to the president, stressed, “The determination of any unconstitutionality is the sole purview of the Supreme Court, not the President. Hence, if there were concerns about Parliament acting beyond its constitutional authority, i.e., acting ultra vires, the appropriate course of action would be an action before the Supreme Court, not an executive declaration of unconstitutionality”.

“Again, the constitutional discretion vested in the presiding officer of Parliament, as per Article 108 and subject to Article 296, suggests that any allegations of misuse of this discretion should be contested in a court of competent jurisdiction, rather than being pre-emptively adjudicated upon by the President”.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, last year, refused to sign the Criminal Offences Bill of 2022, the Witchcraft Bill, and the Armed Forces Bill of 2023, citing the financial implications of the bills as his reason for refusing to assent to them.

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