Adwoa Safo’s Seat Is Automatically Vacant, Clerk Must Inform EC- Joe Wise

Chairman of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu (Joe Wise), has stated that Dome Kwabenya Member of Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo has forfeited her seat following her failure to appear before the committee.

According to him, Adwoa Safo has fulfilled all conditions in the constitution warranting that her seat is declared vacant.

In an interview with Joy News, Joe Wise said it was not in the hands of the Speaker of Parliament nor the committee he chairs to do anything contrary to the constitutional provisions.

“Three things must happen for a Member [of Parliament] to automatically vacate his or her seat. If the member is absent for 15 sittings without the permission of Mr. Speaker in writing and is not able to offer a reasonable explanation to the Privileges Committee.

“If these three happen, then it is automatic [that the seat becomes vacant]. It is not for Parliament to do anything. It is not for the Speaker to do anything, it is not for the [Privileges] Committee to do anything,” he explained.

“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, and 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.

The Bekwai MP further stated that the report of the Privileges Committee will indicate that Adwoa Safo’s seat is vacant and will require the Clerk of Parliament to inform the Electoral Commission (EC) of the development consequently paving way for a by-election if it goes unchallenged.

“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 said.

Three MPs were referred to the Privileges Committee by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for absenting themselves for 15 consecutive sittings without permission.

They were Kennedy Agyapong, Henry Quartey and Sarah Adwoa Safo.

The Privileges Committee upon the directive of the Speaker invited all the MPs on scheduled dates however it was only Henry Quartey and Kennedy Agyapong who appeared before it to justify their absence.

However, all attempts to reach out to Sarah Adwoa Safo proved futile.