Minority Chief Whip’s motion to rescind referral of 3 MPs to Privileges Committee dangerous – Majority leader
Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has urged the Speaker of Parliament to reject the motion of rescission filed by the Minority Chief Whip challenging the referral of 3 NPP MPs to the Privileges Committee.
The Majority Leader, speaking to the press on Friday, said the motion filed by Mr. Muntaka Mubarak does not follow the standing orders of the House.
“I don’t see where his strength is. A motion on rescission. What are you rescinding?” he quizzed.
On April 5, Speaker Alban Bagbin referred the Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey and Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong to the Privileges Committee for breaching the absenteeism threshold for Members of Parliament.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued that the Speaker followed procedure to inform the House of his decision to refer the three NPPs.
According to the Majority Leader, since the Speaker was passing on information, a motion of rescission cannot apply in this case.
“What the Speaker did that day, we got to the point where we have communication, so the Speaker said he was coming by communication to give some information. What he did was communication. How do you come by a motion of rescission? A person gives you information and say I’m rescinding the information you are giving. It has no place in our procedure. It is a dangerous thing that he is doing.”
The Majority Leader warned that should a motion of rescission on communication be tolerated, “we could have a situation where the President communicates to Parliament and the next day someone rises and says let’s have a motion of rescission to the information the President has provided.”
Speaking on the floor of the House on April 5, the Minority Chief Whip said the Speaker is not clothed with the powers to independently refer the conduct of Sarah Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey and Ken Ohene Agyapong to the Privileges Committee, because it must be a Member of Parliament who initiates that process.
But Speaker Bagbin disagreed. He said there is a vast difference between a petition to the Parliament and a petition to the Speaker.
“I have not taken away petitions to Parliament. When I read the subject matter of the petitions and I see that the petition is to Parliament, usually, I refer the petitioner to the constitutional provisions and our standing orders, and the legal office will bear me out, that advice is written to the petitioners to route the petition through a Member of Parliament.
“That doesn’t prevent the public or any person from writing a petition to a Speaker. That is different from a petition to Parliament. What I referred to was a petition to the Speaker, calling on me as Speaker to perform my constitutional duty,” the Speaker added.
However, Muntaka Mubarak maintained his position. In view of this, the Minority Chief Whip filed a motion seeking to revoke Speaker Bagbin’s referral.
“That this Honourable House resolves 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,” portions of the memo read.
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