Minority wants Joe Wise to recuse himself from Privileges Committee’s meetings

Minority wants Joe Wise to recuse himself from Privileges Committee’s meetings
Joe Wise

The Minority in Parliament wants the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament to recuse himself from the proceedings of the Privileges Committee which is set to probe Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo for breaching the rules on absenteeism in parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, on April 5, 2022, referred three Members of Parliament, namely Sarah Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey, and Kennedy Agyepong to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves from over fifteen sittings of the House.

According to the Speaker, the absence of the MPs without his permission constitutes a breach of the rules of the house.

But the Minority side says Joseph Osei Owusu, who doubles as the Chair of the Committee, has already made comments prejudicial to the conduct of Adwoa Safo, and as such, is not fit to preside over a matter concerning her.

The Speaker referred three MPs including Adwoa Safo to the Privileges Committee for exceeding the absenteeism threshold.

Speaking to Citi News, Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said the Minority will raise the matter when proceedings commence.

“Will Joe Wise be qualified to chair the meetings of the Privileges Committee? He has already concluded that he does not classify Adwoa Safo as part of the Majority, the Majority Chief Whip has also said the same thing.”

Meanwhile, Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh, Dompreh has expressed shock about the inclusion of Kennedy Agyapong and Henry Quartey in the list of absentee MPs referred to the Privileges Committee.

He says the records show that the two have been attending Parliament.

“I was only surprised about the two. I was not surprised about Adwoa Safo,” he said.

A former Member of Parliament for Kumbumgu Constituency, Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to deal with the matter of absenteeism in the House.

He cited Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; Henry Quartey, the MP for Ayawaso Central, and Ebenezer Kojo Kum, the MP for Ahanta West and Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central as MPs who he said had flouted provisions of Article 97(1)(c) of the Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 16(1) which frowns on Members absenting themselves for 15 sitting days without permission from the speaker.

Per Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution, a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat “if he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker, and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”

The petition copied the leadership of both sides of the House. Mubarak said according to Parliament’s Hansard, four New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs have flouted the rule on absenteeism and should be made to appear before the Privileges Committee of the House.

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