The Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K Bagbin, has granted permission for a report from the Privileges Committee on three absentee Members of Parliament including Sarah Adwoa Safo to be tabled before the house for discussion.
The Speaker ruled that the privileges Committee’s report on the three absentee MPs could not be accepted as the final decision on the matter but should be subjected to a vote on the floor of the house.
This comes after Mr. Bagbin, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, dismissed attempts for the Speaker to declare some of the seats vacant without a formal debate of the Privileges Committee’s report.
The Committee had recommended outright dismissal of the absentee Dome Kwabenya MP from Parliament.
However, in his ruling, Mr Bagbin said, “the preliminary objection for the admissibility of the report is hereby dismissed in limine.”
The three members – Kennedy Agyapong, MP for Assin Central, Henry Quartey, MP for Ayawaso West, and Sarah Adwoa Safo, MP for Dome Kwabenya – were referred to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves from Parliament beyond the permissible period without any reason.
While Kennedy Agyapong and Henry Quartey appeared before the committee and attributed their absence to ill health, Adwoa Safo failed to honour the summons.
She attributed her long absence from Parliament to family issues, saying, among other things, that her son was unwell.
Adwoa Safo was subsequently sacked by the President from her portfolio as Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.
Prior to Parliament’s recess in July 2022, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu had, among other things, insisted that the Privileges Committee’s report should not be subject to debate in the House but the speaker however rejected the Majority Leader’s call.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu vehemently disagreed with the ruling adding that it is injurious to Parliamentary business.
But the Majority Leader disagreed with the ruling saying on the floor right after the ruling that “I totally disagree with the ruling. It doesn’t sit with the constitution and I must express my discomfort with this unfortunate ruling that has been made because it is very inconsistent. We will come back with a substantive motion to challenge the ruling.”