The Minority has rebutted claims by the Chairman of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu (Joe Wise), that the seat of Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo has been declared vacant.
Addressing the media in Parliament on Thursday, July 14, a member of the Committee, Alhassan Bashir Alhassan (A.B.A) Fuseini said the committee was even yet to come out with a report on the subject matter of absentee MPs.
In the specific case of Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Sagnarigu MP said although the Committee made all efforts to reach out to her to appear before it, “the Clerk of the committee made it abundantly clear that he cannot say for certain that the correspondence that Parliament sought to get over to her actually reached her."
To this end, he stressed that Adwoa Safo’s seat cannot be declared vacant since they have not heard from her.
Citing Standing Order 161 of Parliament, A. B. A Fuseini maintained that the Privileges Committee was not an island on its own to make decisions.
He stressed that every decision reached at the committee level must come before the House for other subsequent actions to be taken on it.
“No committee is an island unto itself or is a law upon to itself or authority…when it is constituted, it takes decisions and then implements. The Committee cannot implement decisions. It refers it to the plenary for a decision to be made and then through Mr. Speaker the requisite actions will be followed.
“Have you seen any matter in respect of the Privileges Committee on the floor of the House? Standing Order 161 (b) says that when that report has been made by the Committee, the Chairman of the Committee will have to move a motion on the floor of the House for a resolution to be taken…for Mr. Speaker to then put the question.
“That then becomes the decision of the House. We haven’t even had the opportunity to even get a report to be laid, for the report to be brought before the House, for the House to even consider the report and for a resolution on the matter to be taken. Look at all these steps,” the legislator said
Mr. Fuseini consequently described Joe Wise’s comments as “a mischievous rant” coming from “somebody who has a fertile imagination for mischief.”
Joe Wise in an interview with Joy News said the seat of Adwoa Safo is automatically vacant following her failure to appear before the Privileges Committee.
He indicated that the report of the Committee had recommended for the Clerk to write to the Electoral Commission indicating the vacancy in Parliament.
“In respect of the other two [Kennedy Agyapong and Henry Quartey], all our report will say is that they appeared before the Committee, they offered explanations, the Committee finds the explanations reasonable.
“She [Adwoa Safo] failed to take advantage of the opportunities given her…she failed or refused to explain why she’s absent. So in the absence of any explanation, the Constitution in Article 97(1)(a) kicks in that she must vacate her seat,” Joe Wise added.
“I think in accordance with the law, it is for the Clerk to declare [the seat vacant] or inform the Electoral Commission that a vacancy has occurred. That is what the constitution says and that is what our report will reflect in the House,” he added.
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