Vote of Censure: AG did no wrong – CDD

Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD)
Centre for Democratic Governance (CDD)

The Attorney General did no wrong to warrant the passage of a vote of censure on him by Parliament, Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana), has said.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Asante said the Attorney General, in his written response to Parliament, “only expressed his opinion” on why Parliament could not compel him to implement a resolution of the House.

“The Attorney General is the lawyer for the State and he is supposed to defend the Constitution. So, if the AG is expressing an opinion that Parliament is acting outside of its powers, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” he said.

Members of the Minority in Parliament this week filed a motion asking the House to pass a vote of censure on the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame.

In a memorandum to the Speaker, which was filed Tuesday by the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority accused the AG of “refusing without justifiable basis” to implement a resolution of Parliament passed on 29th October, 2021.

The resolution asked the General Legal Council to admit into the Ghana School of Law the 499 students who sat for and passed the entrance examination of the School for the 2021/2022 legal year.

The Minority also accused the AG of “impugning the image and integrity of Parliament through statements unbecoming of the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.”

Dr Asante said though Parliament had the power to pass a vote of censure on ministers of state, it was not the responsibility of the AG to admit the 499 law students as directed by the House.

“It is not in the power of the AG to do the admission. The admission is done by the Ghana School of Law, which is under the General Legal Council. So, the people who have to enforce Parliament’s resolution are not the Attorney General,” he said.

The aggrieved students could only seek redress in court because the resolution passed by Parliament was not binding on the Ghana School of Law, Dr Asante said.

Section 82 of the 1992 Constitution gives Parliament the power to pass a vote of censure on a minister of state.

A parliamentary censure is an expression of strong disapproval or condemnation of a public officer.

The law stipulates that a resolution by Parliament to censure a minister of state must be supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members of Parliament.

It says a minister of state in respect of whom a vote of censure is debated “is entitled, during the debate, to be heard in his defence.”

The law further states that where a vote of censure is passed against a minister, the President “may, unless the minister resigns from office, revoke his appointment.”

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