Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has debunked claims that Parliament could not sit early on Monday, December 20, 2021, as scheduled because the Majority side were not ready for the passage of the Electronic Transfer Levy Bill (E-levy).
According to him, there is no truth in the allegation that he (Majority Leader) has communicated to the Speaker to leave the House because they did not have the numbers.
“I cannot for the life of me understand when people who purport to be Christians…decide deliberately to engage in falsehood”.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu refuted the claims when he addressed a press conference in Parliament House t explain a few things because of wild rumours and allegations flying about in relation to what happened last Monday.
Narrating the chronology of events, Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that when the E-levy Bill was brought to Parliament, it was referred to the Finance Committee by the Speaker.
He said the Finance Committee decided to sit at 1000 hours initially on Monday morning but subsequently, they rescheduled the meeting period to 12 noon because the NDC Minority decided to have a caucus meeting on that Monday, which they have programmed at 10am.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the Finance Committee then elected to meet at 12 noon, adding that he then engaged Speaker Bagbin and told him that after their meeting, they would be required to write their report, and the leaders would have to look at the report before it is printed.
He said he suggested to the Speaker that, being the case, the earliest that Parliament could sit would be 2 O’clock but the meeting span beyond 15 hours since there were few issues that the Finance Committee had to resolve whether the E-levy Bill be taken under Certificate of Urgency and the rate of 1.75 percent charge.
Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also stated that just after 15 hours he sent a message to the Speaker given the circumstances, the earliest that the House could sit would be about 17 hour because the Finance Committee meeting had just closed at 15:17 hours and at 16:30 hours, he and Minority Leader would go and see him before Parliament resume sitting.
He said later, his clerk informed him that the Speaker had entered the Chamber and so left his office and went to the Chamber when they were about to finish with prayers and then dealing with other matters in relation to financial bills that had to be cleared.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu also queried Speaker Bagbin motives for leaving use without any further communication to the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu whom he assured that he was coming to take over from him and never return leading to the fight in the Chamber.
It would be recalled that the decision by the First Deputy Speaker to take leave of the Speaker’s chair for the Second Deputy Speaker to take charge allegedly to enable him to participate in voting, occasioned disagreement from the Minority, leading to a fight over the Speaker’s sitting area.
The brawl saw dozens of the opposition parliamentarians exchange fisticuffs with their colleagues on the majority side while some officials of parliament tried to protect the Speaker’s seat and the mace of parliament from being attacked.
However, calm returned moments after, before the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, adjourned the sitting