General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
The Parliament of Ghana has received the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 despite stiff opposition from the Minority in Parliament who alleged there were some illegalities in the process of presenting the bill to the house.
In a forceful attempt to prevent the laying of the bill, NDC MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, contended the bill was unfit to be presented to the House because due process was not followed.
The Bolga MP was of the view that the Bill had not been gazetted fourteen (14) days prior to its introduction to the legislature, and as such amounts to illegality on the part of the government.
“Mr Speaker, one key thing of the Standing Orders which require that before a Bill is introduced in this House, it must be gazetted 14 days prior to its introduction into this House. And the Majority Leader has just pointed out that there is some disparity – so we want to see the gazetted evidence so that it conforms to what is being laid here,” he noted.
Order 120 (1) of the Standing Orders of the House which is premised on Article 106 (2) of the Constitution of which forms the basis of Dr. Ayine argument reads “Except as provided in Orders 119 and 112 no Bill shall be introduced unless the text of the Bill, with no variations other than such as, in the opinion of the Parliamentary Draftsman, are of a trivial or drafting character, has been published in the Gazette fourteen days before the date of its introduction in the House.”
In a quick response to the Minority, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that once the bill has come to the house on a certificate of urgency, the argument put forward by the Minority is flawed and should not be allowed to stand. After both sides of the house had presented their arguments, per his discretion Speaker, Rt. Hon. Prof. Mike Oquaye referred the Bill to the joint committees on Local Government and Rural Development and Finance for consideration and report to the House.
Meanwhile, in an interaction with the media, President Nana Addo stated that the purpose of establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor is to attack corruption as a crime and not as an agenda to witch hunt past government officials.