A livid Speaker Of Parliament Alban Bagbinghas descended on his First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu for dismissing a private members’ motion seeking to investigate the government’s Covid-19 expenditure.
The unenthused Speaker said the First Deputy Speaker’s action is illegal and must not happen again especially as he has already admitted the motion.
While presiding over the sitting on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, Mr Bagbin said despite his disapproval of Joe Osei Owusu’s ruling, he will not take steps to reverse it.
“The penchant of the First Deputy Speaker [Joe Osei Owusu] to overrule my ruling is, to say the least, unconstitutional, illegal, and offensive. Be that as it may, I shall not be taking any steps to overrule the decision of the First Deputy Speaker to dismiss the motion as moved by the Hon. Ranking Member of the Finance Committee,” he said.
A motion from three Members of the Minority group for an inquiry into the expenditure made by the government since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 had been admitted by Speaker Alban Bagbin before the First Deputy Speaker overruled the Speaker’s decision while presiding over proceedings of the house.
Leader of the Minority Caucus, Haruna Iddrisu; the Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak; and the Ranking Member on the Finance Committee, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, filed the motion which sought to constitute a bi-partisan parliamentary committee chaired by a member of the Minority to probe COVID-19 expenditure.
The Private Member’s Motion was captured in the order paper for Thursday, November 4th, 2021
But Joseph Osei-Owusu while leading proceedings in Bagbin’s absence on Tuesday, February 22, 2022, dismissed the motion saying that the work of such a bi-partisan committee is already provided for by the Constitution, to be conducted by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Bagbin in 2021 took issue with Joe Osei Owusu over a similar incident when the latter overruled Bagbin’s directive to stand down the approval of the 2022 budget statement and economic policy.
“This is the second time the 1st Deputy Speaker has taken the chair and has made a ruling whose effect was to overrule a position I have earlier on established before the House,” he said.
The current nature of Ghana’s legislature has somehow deepened disagreements between the two major parties, particularly as the Speaker is aligned to the opposition party, coupled with the fact that no side has an absolute majority in the house.