Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the majority leader and minister for parliamentary affairs, said he will discuss the Minority group’s ongoing boycott of parliamentary proceedings on days James Gyakye Quayson is in court with his colleague Minority Leader Cassiel Ato Forson.
On days when Collins Dauda, the Minority Leader, Assin North and Asutifi South MPs appear in court, the Minority has decided to boycott House proceedings.
The Minority Group abstained from proceedings on two separate occasions in opposition to James Gyakye Quayson’s ongoing trial.
The Majority Leader responded to the choice in a media interview by calling the Minority’s actions disappointing and urging cooperation between the two sides.
“Boycotting proceedings is an unfortunate decision in the House. I hope I will be able to talk to my colleague, and we will move from there and continue with the dialogue that we have been having because we may not agree on everything, but we should still remain one House.”
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.