Joseph Osei-Owusu is not fit to Chair Privileges Committee for Adwoa Sarfo’s case – NDC MPs

Joseph Osei-Owusu is not fit to Chair Privileges Committee for Adwoa Sarfo’s case – NDC MPs

The Minority Caucus in parliament is demanding that the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu do not participate in the proceedings of the Privileges Committee which is set to investigate legislator for Dome Kwabenya Sarah Adwoa Sarfo for defying the absentee’s rules in parliament.

On April 5, 2022, Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, referred three lawmakers, namely Sarah Adwoa Safo, Henry Quartey, and Kennedy Agyepong to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves for over fifteen sittings of the House.

The Speaker explained that the continued absence of the lawmakers without his permission constitutes a breach of the rules of the house.

But the Minority caucus has accused Joseph Osei Owusu, who doubles as the Chair of the Committee, of making prejudicial comments about the conduct of Adwoa Safo, and as such, is not fit to preside over a matter concerning her.

Three lawmakers including Adwoa Safo were sent to the Privileges Committee for exceeding the absenteeism threshold.

 Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim, said the Minority will raise the matter when proceedings commence.

“Will Joe Wise be qualified to chair the meetings of the Privileges Committee? He has already concluded that he does not classify Adwoa Safo as part of the Majority, the Majority Chief Whip has also said the same thing.”

However, Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh Dompreh was surprised about the inclusion of Kennedy Agyapong and Henry Quartey in the list of absentee MPs referred to the Privileges Committee.

He indicated that the records show that the two have been attending Parliament.

“I was only surprised about the two. I was not surprised about Adwoa Safo,” he said.

Former  Kumbumgu Constituency lawmaker, Ras Mubarak, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to deal with the matter of absenteeism in the House.

He mentioned that following  Dome-Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo; Henry Quartey, the MP for Ayawaso Central, Ebenezer Kojo Kum, the MP for Ahanta West and Ken Ohene Agyapong, MP for Assin Central as MPs who he said had flouted provisions of Article 97(1)(c) of the Constitution and Parliament’s Standing Order 16(1) which frowns on Members absenting themselves for 15 sitting days without permission from the speaker.

 Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution stipulates that a Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat “if he is absent, without the permission in writing of 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.”

The petition was copied to the leadership of both sides of the House. Mubarak explained that according to Parliament’s Hansard, four New Patriotic Party (NPP) MPs have flouted the rule on absenteeism and should be made to appear before the Privileges Committee of the House.

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