All what the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted was for the Majority in Parliament to follow the law in handling the issues involving Dome-Kwabenya Member of Parliament Sarah Adwoa Safo who has been removed as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Tamale Central legislator, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, has said.
He said the NDC MPs were not in support of Adwoa Safo’s conduct of absenting herself from Parliament without permission.
“We never supported Adwoa Safo, all we wanted was that they should respect the law,” he said on the New Day show with Berla Mundi on TV3 Wednesday July 3.
He added “Adwoa Safo’s conduct as Minister is completely insulated from her conduct as a Member of Parliament. Our argument, as far as her role as Minister was concerned was that the president needed to have fired her if indeed she abandoned her post for over a year.
“Let’s insulate that from her parliamentary duty. Absenting herself from parliament for 15 days was the reason the speaker referred to the Privilege Committee,” he said.
She was one of the three NPP MPs who were hauled before the Privilege’s Committee for absenting themselves from Parliament without permission.
The others were Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central and Henry Quartey Ayawaso Central.
The Committee met Ken Agyapong and Henry Quartey however, could not meet Adwoa Safo because she was out of the jurisdiction.
In its conclusion, the Committee, by a majority decision, decided that “Hon Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Hon Henry Quartey admitted having absented themselves for more than the fifteen Sittings threshold. However, the explanations given by Hon Kennedy Ohene Agyapong and Hon Henry Quartey for being absent were found reasonable.
With regards to Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo, in spite of all the efforts made to invite her to attend upon the Committee, the Hon Member did not appear before the Committee to provide the reasons for her absence from the House without written permission for more than the fifteen Sittings threshold.
“By the provisions of Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution, the onus is on Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to provide a reasonable explanation to the Privileges Committee why she shall not vacate her Seat, for having absented herself for forty-two (42) Sittings, during the period under consideration.
“The Minority Members on the Committee concede that reasonable efforts were made to get Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to appear before the Committee, however, the Minority Members are of the view that, the lack of response of Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo to the numerous invitations of the Committee should be reported to the House without any conclusions.
“The above notwithstanding, the Majority, was of the view that, Hon Sarah Adwoa Safo failed to take advantage of the numerous opportunities and facilities offered her to provide reasonable explanation to the Committee with regard to her absence without leave.
“Therefore, pursuant to Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare v the Attorney General & 3 Ors, the Dome-Kwabenya should be declared vacant.”
But the Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, said he would not, in a rush, give a ruling on the recommendations made by the Privileges Committee.
He has therefore deferred his decision until resumption of sitting from break as Parliament rises today July 28, TV3’s Parliamentary Correspondent Komla Kluste reported.
Addressing the House on Thursday July 28, Mr Bagbin said he needed time to produce a reasoned written ruling on the matter.
“Honourable Members, I have consulted the old lady, the old lady has given me an advise and I think that advise is correct. The issue raised by the Majority Leader is both of substantive and procedural law.
“I need time to submit to this house a reasoned, written ruling. I cannot in a haste of today, give you the ruling. In the circumstance, I will urge this House for us to call it a day.”