Boycott without permission is absent from parliament – Speaker to Minority

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The Speaker of Parliament Rt, Hon, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin has caution the Minority Caucus to follow proper procedure when they want to exercise their constitutional right on boycotting parliament.

Giving a ruling on matter raised by Hon Okudzato Ablakwa MP for North Tongu seeking Speaker’s directive why votes and proceedings captured their boycott as absent without permission since it has a legal consequence under article 97(1c) of the 1992 constitution and standing order 16 on how a member can vacate his/her seat in parliament.

“On the issue of attendance article 97(1c) is very clear and it says “A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament if he is absent, without the permission in writing to the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen Sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet”.

Speaker further stated that,  “the import of that article is to the effect that, yes a member can chose not to attend sitting of parliament and member want to absent with permission, that must be granted by the Speaker in writing, so you can choose to attend and  chose not to attend but depending on your own actions you could be marked as absent with permission or without permission, the permission here means evidence not oral but in writing, so the burden is now shift onto you as a group to show evidence that Speaker has granted you permission to be absent in writing not verbal, the official report will captured Minority Leader statement that day, that anytime a  colleagues of yours is to attend court proceedings will solidarized with him and therefore you will be absent from parliament so the table office is right for marking the Minority absent yesterday.”

In support of Assin North representative James Gyakye Quayson’s prosecution, the Minority in Parliament once more chose to boycott parliamentary work.

The legislator is accused of forgery and perjury, and the High Court in Accra is expected to rule on the request for a halt of the case’s proceedings.

The lawyers for the troubled MP have asked the court to halt the case so that the Court of Appeal can review the trial judge’s choice to hear the case on a daily basis.

The Minority caucus has made the decision to skip Parliamentary proceedings and go to court with their fellow member as a show of support.

This is the second instance of Minority MPs skipping work to join a colleague in the legislature.

The Attorney General and Minister for Justice must drop Mr. Gyakye Quayson’s unfair trial, the caucus contends.

Proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday, July 11 were suspended following a near-empty House.

There were no members of the Minority at the time of start of proceedings while the number of Majority members (MPs) were barely 10.

The Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, decided to suspend sitting.

The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, called for a serious conversation on the decision by the Minority to boycott proceedings anytime three of their colleagues were to appear before the courts.

Source: Kwaku Boffah

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