Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin has said he investigated the work of the privileges’ committee on the absentee Members of Parliament especially regarding Dome-Kwabenya lawmaker Sarah Adwoa Safo.
He says the work of the committee was unsatisfactory hence his decision to refer the matter to the plenary for a debate by the entire House.
“I went behind to investigate what happens at the committee sittings and I am not satisfied with it,” he said at a press conference in Parliament on Friday.
His comments come at a time New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmaker for Ahafo Ano North in the Ashanti Region, Suleman Adamu Sanid is challenging the decision at the Supreme Court.
Mr Adamu Sanid is praying the Supreme Court to declare Mr Bagbin’s ruling as as unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.
He filed the suit at the apex court on Thursday October 27.
It was his view that the Speaker violated the provisions and laid-down processes set out in Article 97c of the 1992 constitution which states that “A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament 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 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”
Mr Bagbin ruled that Parliament will debate on the removal or otherwise of Adwoa Safo.
Delivering his ruling in Parliament on Wednesday October 26, Speaker Bagbin said “The house is well within its right to receive and consider the report from the committee and make a determination.
“It is my ruling that motion be was rightfully admitted.”
But the Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu was unhappy with this ruling.
The lawmaker for Suame said “The speaker is totally wrong in his understanding of the law, that is why I repeated that he has sent us on a very obsequious path, it doesn’t help Parliament.”
Sarah Adwoa Safo absented herself for more than the stipulated 15 days.
The Majority caucus wanted her seat to be declared vacant but this was opposed by the Minority, who felt she should be heard first.
The Speaker also questioned the authority of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs to declare her seat vacant.
In March, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu disclosed that Sarah Adwoa Safo had requested a month-long leave from the House.
Subsequently, the Speaker referred her case and that of two other MPs, namely Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso Central and Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central, to the Privileges Committee for hearing.
Speaker Bagbin, who deferred ruling on the matter before parliament went on recess, promised to do so when sitting resumes.
In a formal communication to the House on Tuesday, the Speaker noted that because there were few things to transact just after the assumption, he deferred the ruling to Wednesday.