Mr Paul Boama-Sefa, a farmer, has filed a suit seeking an order restraining the Speaker of Parliament from proceeding with any processes related to the Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021 Bill.
The suit suggested that the journey of the bill should be truncated until the statutory provisions of section 100(1) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) are complied with.
Mr Boama-Sefa, who is the plaintiff, who also joined the Attorney General to the suit, sought an order directing the Speaker, his deputies, his agents, assigns and privies to ensure compliance with section 100(1) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) before any further steps were taken in respect of the Bill.
It also sought a perpetual Injunction restraining the Defendants from further breaches of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
The plaintiff averred that, sometime in 2021, the Promotion of the Bill was presented to the Speaker by eight Members of Parliament as a Private Members’ Bill.
It averred that, subsequently the Bill was laid in Parliament on June 21, 2021, by these MPs, namely: Samuel Nartey George (MP for Ningo-Prampram), Dela Adjoa Sowah (MP for Kpando), Emmanuel Bedzrah (MP for Ho West) and Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini (MP for Tamale North).
The rest are Helen Adjoa Ntoso (MP for Krachi West), Rita Naa Odoley Sowah (MP for La Dadekotopon), Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor (MP for South Dayi) and John Ntim Fordjour (MP for Assin South).
The Plaintiff averred that, by a letter with reference number PS/CCLPA/21/20, the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament (the “Committee”) requested the Attorney General to “provide the Government’s position on the Promotion of the Bill.
Mr Boama-Sefa averred that by a letter dated October 19, 2022 (reference number L.I.7/2021), the Attorney General provided his response to the Committee.
The plaintiff further said the letter by the AG detailed the Government’s official position on the Bill, including the need to protect human rights and adhere to the statutory requirements for laying a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament.
He averred that in the said letter, the AG said: “It is observed that the Bill is not accompanied by a fiscal impact analysis required by section 100(1) of Act 921. The stipulation in section 100(1) of Act 921 is rendered more imperative by the character of the Bill as a private members Bill.”
The plaintiff said that the non-compliance with the statutory requirements relating to the laying of the Bill and the complete disregard of the AG’s advice indicated an intention by the Speaker not to comply with the express provisions of Act 921 and by extension the laws of Ghana.
Article 100 of the 1992 Constitution gives authority and empowers the Speaker, as the person presiding over Parliament, to manage and direct the affairs of Parliament.
The plaintiff said the provisions of Article 100 of the 1992 Constitution place a responsibility on the Speaker to ensure compliance with procedures prescribed by statute in parliamentary proceedings when he is presiding.
Mr Boama-Sefa averred that the Speaker had intentionally failed and/or neglected to perform his lawful duty to enforce or ensure compliance with section 100(1) of Act 921.
He also averred that the Speaker had exhibited, by his public utterances and conduct on numerous occasions, his determination to allow the Bill to go through the legislative process despite being fully aware of the statutory conditions precedent for laying the Bill.
He said allowing the Bill to proceed without ensuring compliance with the statutory condition’s precedent would set a bad precedent for law-making processes in Parliament and erode the rule of law.
Mr Boama-Sefa averred that the Bill is non-compliant with the clear statute provisions of Act 921, and it infringed the legal processes for presenting a Private Member’s Bill.
The plaintiff indicated that the Speaker would not perform his lawful duty to ensure compliance with the statutory requirements for the laying and consideration of the Bill unless compelled by the Court averred that all the processes leading to the consideration of the Bill by Parliament were rendered nugatory by reason of it being tainted with illegalities.
The plaintiff wanted a declaration that the Speaker had a non-discretionary obligation to ensure that all statutory requirements relating to the presentation and/or consideration of the Promotion of the Bill placed before Parliament, including the requirement for the Bill to be accompanied by a fiscal impact analysis when it was first laid before Parliament, were complied with.
The plaintiff wanted a declaration that the failure of the Speaker to perform this non-discretionary obligation and the failure of the Attorney General to insist and ensure that the requirement that the Bill be accompanied by a fiscal impact analysis when it was first laid before Parliament was complied with, had rendered all processes in respect of the Bill to date invalid and void, by reason of illegality.