Home News Criminal Offences Amendment Bill is now law – Speaker

Criminal Offences Amendment Bill is now law – Speaker

Politics Conference Speaker
Alban Bagbin

Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has informed Parliament that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has already assented to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill into law.

He said the Bill was submitted to the President for assent by a letter dated 3rd August 2023, and assented to the same day by the President, even though written 2nd August 2023.

He said the Bill was gazetted as the Criminal Offences Amendment Act 2023
(Act 1101) published and made available to the public; saying “So, it was no longer a Bill, it is now an Act”.

The Speaker made these remarks in a statement to the House in his response to the President’s memorandum dated December 12th to the House declining to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, 2023 (which is now an Act), the Criminal Offences Amendment Number Two Bill, 2023 and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill, 2023.

Speaker Bagbin said after the passage of the other two Bills, that is the Criminal Offences Amendment Number Two Bill, 2023 and the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, 2023, they were sent to the President for assent, which he declined to give his assent.

The President based his refusal on a detailed examination of the relevant constitutional and executive frameworks, notable Article 108 of the Constitution and Section 100 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).

The President’s assessment concluded that the Bills introduced as Private Member’s Bills failed to align with constitutional provisions and he concluded that given their significant Fiscal implications, the Bills should not have been introduced without a comprehensive fiscal impact analysis and without being initiated by or on behalf of the President.

He said the foundation for his disagreement with the President on his refusal to assent to the three Bills was anchored on four critical aspects of constitutional interpretations and procedure adherence.

Firstly, the Speaker, noted that the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, 2023, had been assented to by the President on 3rd of August 2023, which had been gazetted and that it had been published and was now an Act (Act 1101).

“The President can no longer come back and say that he will not assent to it as a Bill, when it is now not a Bill. It is already an Act. And it was communicated to Parliament with copies of the assent Bill, which was published as an Act and sent to us and it has been made available to the public already as an Act,” he said.

The Speaker said: “In the absence of a judicial determination from the Supreme Court, the President’s unilateral assessment of unconstitutionality does not hold legal water. It is a departure from the established legal procedure, norms and practices that govern our constitutional democracy.”

“The appropriate lawful response if there were genuine concerns about the constitutionality of the legislation, action of this house we agree to seek judicial review from the Supreme Court.

“The steps taken by the President in this matter reflect a misunderstanding of the constitutional process and undermining the principles that uphold our democratic governance.”

The Speaker, after his delivery, opened the floor of the House for remarks from Members.
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament, and his Deputy, Mr Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin appealed to the Speaker for them to be given time to study both his statement and the memorandum from the President, to be in better position to contribute to the statement.

Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, the Minority Chief Whip and National Democratic Congress (NDC) for Adaklu, proposed for the consideration of the Speaker that January 16th, 2024, be fixed for the House to be recalled debating on the Speaker’s statement.

Speaker Bagbin said he together with the Leadership of the House would consider the proposal and fix a date for it.

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