General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
The bills on the Office of the Special Prosecutor and Zongo Development Fund has been laid before Parliament.
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye referred the two bills to the appropriate Committees of Parliament to work on the bills.
They are the Committee of Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Committee on Finance and Committee on Local Government.
Seconding the motion, the Minority Leader, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu in seconding the motion stated that the Minority was not against the bill on Office of the Special Prosecutor.
He called on Ms Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General to lead the process rather than her Deputy, Mr Joseph Kpemka since it was an important bill that did not need delegation.
He said:’ for the purpose of Parliament and the importance of the bill the Minister herself must come to the House and respond appropriately.’
Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader on his part stated that the substantive Minister could not be present in the House because she was with the President on another assignment.
He therefore requested the Speaker for his indulgence as her deputies lay the bill.
Dr Dominic Ayine, Member Parliament for Bolga East raised a fundamental constitutional issue relating to the laying of the two bills.
According to him, his checks with the government printer, the Assembly Press in relation to the bill on the Office of the Special Prosecutor showed that it had not been gazetted.
He stated that Article 106 and Order 120 of the Standing Orders of Parliament required that before the bill was introduced into the House, it must be gazetted 14 days prior to its introduction to the House.
Dr Ayine therefore pleaded with the Speaker to direct the Attorney General and Minister for Justice and the Minister for Zongos and Inner-city Development to produce the gazetted notifications to the House.
He said the bill on the Office of the Special Prosecutor had a wide ranging implication on the rights of the people and it was therefore important for the government to follow the due process.
Mr Mensah Bonsu, explained that Dr Ayine’s quotation of the constitution on the floor of the House was out of tangent.
According to him, Article 106 (13) of the constitution states: “Where it is determined by a Committee of Parliament appointed for the purpose that a particular bill is of an urgent nature the provisions of the proceeding clauses of this Article, other than clause one (1) and paragraph (a) of clause two (2) shall not apply”.
He explained that for the whole of Article 106, if a bill is determined as being of urgent character those provisions other than accent shall not apply.
He said government considered the two bills as urgent and that it was up to the Committee of Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Committee on Finance and Committee on Local Government working on the bill to determine otherwise.