Home News Politics I am vindicated by public hearing of Censure Committee – Bagbin

I am vindicated by public hearing of Censure Committee – Bagbin

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Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin

Speaker Alban Bagbin says the public hearing conducted by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Censure Motion against Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, has vindicated his decision to refer the matter to the Committee.

This, he said, had also allayed the fears of all those who had thought otherwise.

Mr Bagbin made the remarks on Thursday in his formal communication to the House prior to the commencement of the debate of the Censure Motion against the Finance Minister.

It will be recalled that on Tuesday, 10th November 2022, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the National Democratic Congress Minority Leader, moved a motion calling on the House to resolve to pass a vote of censure on Mr Ofori-Atta in accordance with Article 82 of the 1992 Constitution for mismanagement of the nation’s economy.

The Motion for the vote of censure was based on seven grounds as stated on the Order Paper.
Mr Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip seconded the motion.

After the motion had been seconded, the Speaker decided to refer the matter to an Ad hoc Committee and in consultation with the Leaders, constituted an Eight-Member Ad-hoc Committee to inquire into the matter and report to the House within seven working days for debate and vote.

Speaker Bagbin said the referral of the matter to the Ad-hoc Committee was vehemently objected to by some Members of Parliament and the public.

He said the school of thought opined that the procedure adopted by him was irregular and unsupported by law and insisted the debate on the motion should proceed and vote taken that day. He noted that the call for a vote of censure was novel in this Parliament.

“What I sought to do, after extensive consultation, was to provide for a procedure to guide the House. And I am convinced, my decision to refer the matter to a committee of the House is the right thing to do,” the Speaker said.

He said the controversy emerged on the procedure to adopt to provide a fair opportunity for the Minister to be heard in defense.

He noted that the disagreement centered on the import of Clause 4 of Article 82, which states that “A Minister of State in respect of whom a vote of censure is debated under Clause (3) of this article is entitled, during the debate, to be heard in his defense”.

He said that it was important to note that Article 82, Clause 3 of the Constitution, specifies that the vote of censure “shall” be debated by the House.

He said the constitutional provision was repeated in Order 108 (b) of the Standing Orders of the House; which indicates that Minister of State in respect of whom a vote of censure was debated was thus entitled to two procedural rights was entitled to be heard in defense and entitled to be heard during the debate.

The Speaker said so far as debates in Parliament were concerned, Articles 101, 110 and 111, of the Constitution and Order 86 of the Standing Orders of Parliament set out in great detail the rules which regulate debates in this House.

He reiterated that a reading of the Order and the Constitution, would leave no doubt in any anyone’s mind that it provides only for Members of the House and by virtue of Article 111 of the Constitution, includes the Vice-President, or a Minister or Deputy Minister, who was not a member of Parliament.

He said these were the only people who were allowed to speak and debate during plenary sittings of the House.
Defined by Article 295 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 7, “sitting” “includes a period during which Parliament is sitting continuously without adjournment and a period during which it is in Committee.”

He said all other persons outside this category, were referred to as strangers. Defined by Standing Order 7, “stranger” means any person, other than the President, Vice-President, Mr Speaker, Ministers and Deputy Ministers who were not Members or officers of the House.

He said clearly this Standing Order had included the President and Mr Speaker, but in the case of Mr Speaker, Standing Order 90 settles the matter.

“Mr. Speaker shall not take part in any debate before the House”.
He said both the Constitution and the Standing Orders require that the Minister against whom a vote of censure motion was moved is entitled to be heard in defense.

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