North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on July 30, 2022, took on a fellow lawmaker he described as a blabber, who had created the impression that he was ready to lose his seat in Parliament over unauthorized absenteeism.
Ablakwa’s social media post was centred on the issue of three New Patriotic Party, NPP, lawmakers who were referred to the Privileges Committee to explain the circumstances surrounding their absence from the House for more than 15 consecutive sittings.
Two of the accused persons appeared before the Committee – Kennedy Agyapong (Assin Central) and Henry Quartey (Ayawaso Central) while Adwoa Safo of Dome-Kwabenya failed to appear despite numerous opportunities including appearing on virtual platforms.
“It is interesting to observe that one of the male MPs who initially went to town with much blabbing and bluster that my research had done him a favour as he would be more than happy to vacate Parliament was rather the MP who apparently put up the most spirited and somewhat convincing performance at the Privileges Committee in a determined effort to keep his job as MP. Wonders will never end indeed,” Ablakwa’s post read in part.
The two male MPs were Ken Agyapong and Henry Quartey and it was the former, who months back called the bluff of Ablakwa, who had at the time threatened to report the trio to the Speaker because his checks showed that they had breached the rules of the House.
What ken Agyapong said in February
In February this year, Agyapong said on a radio programme: “Privileges Committee, Ablakwa claims I have absented myself for 15 days, I have my medical records so I don’t want to answer to them. I have my medical records.
“I was supposed to go back to America for review on the 27th of January, because of E-Levy and Ghana First, I have sacrificed it and I am here.
“I have read the law… it affects a person who has absented themselves from Parliament for fifteen straight days. Not the number of absenteeism across a term. If so, a lot of MPs will be sacked.
“I am not worried, you know how any person who stands by the truth is persecuted by the system? So, I am not worried, let them invite me, I will respect them and go there accordingly and give them proof,” he stressed.
In April 2022, Speaker Bagbin referred the three MPs to the Committee, following a petition filed by a former lawmaker, Ras Mubarak.
A Committee divided over Adwoa Safo
The Committee recently presented their report stating that the two MPs who appeared should be pardoned because they had given good explanations to the Committee, they were, however, at variance on the issue of Adwoa Safo.
The Majority side to which she belongs wants her seat declared vacant but the Minority insist that in the interest of natural justice, she must be heard at all cost before a decision is taken on her seat.
Speaker Bagbin said he was going to consult the ‘old lady’ before delivering his ruling in October when the House reconvenes. Adwoa Safo has not been at post since December 2021.