Special Prosecutor and Zongo Development bills withdrawn

General News of Thursday, 27 July 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

2017-07-27

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu New11Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu

Parliament on Wednesday withdrew the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 and the Zongo Development Fund Bill, 2017.

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, moved the motion for the withdrawal of the motion.

He said in view of the determination that the Bills were not urgent in nature and that they might be taken through the usual legal processes, the Bills be withdrawn and re-laid.

The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, supported the motion for the withdrawal.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 is to establish the Office of a Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption.

The Special Prosecutor would prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney General.

With the Zongo Development Fund Bill, 2017, it is to establish the Zongo Development Fund as an authority to provide financial resources for investment in education, infrastructure and businesses to develop and transform the social and economic conditions of Zongo communities and to provide for the management of the Fund.

Earlier moves

An attempt by the Minority in Parliament to withdraw the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 was shot down in Parliament last Tuesday.

The Minority wanted Parliament to withdraw the Bill for it to meet the 14 days required for a Bill published in the gazette to stay before its introduction in Parliament.

That was after the presentation of the report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that the Bill for establishment of the Special Prosecutor was not of urgent nature.

The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, argued that, once the Bill was not urgent in nature and would go through the usual legal legislative procedure, it should be withdrawn for it to satisfy the 14 days that a gazetted Bill must go through before it was laid in Parliament.

He said per the law, a Bill had to be published in the gazette 14 days before its introduction in Parliament.

That, he said, was to be in agreement with the law.

But the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, rejected the suggestion for the Bill to be withdrawn.

He said an ungazetted Bill could be introduced in Parliament, and indicated that a committee could determine whether the Bill was of urgent nature or not.

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, ruled that the Bill be allowed to stay to meet the 14 days requirement.

Background

The Bill was laid in Parliament last week Tuesday by Mr Kpemka, Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and following the debate as to whether the Bill should be treated under a certificate of urgency, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, directed the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to determine the urgency or otherwise of the Bill.

The Zongo Development Fund Bill, 2017, which was also laid last week Tuesday, was referred to the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development and Finance Committee for consideration and report.

All the committee recommended that the Bills were not of urgent nature.

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