04 September 2016

Speaker Adjaho erred in throwing out ‘Ford motion’ – Stephen Darkwa

DarkwahA former Clerk of Parliament has said Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho erred in his outright dismissal of a motion brought before him by the Minority in respect of the controversial Ford gift scandal involving President John Mahama.

Stephen Darkwa who served in the House from 1961 to 1997 said Parliament is the highest forum to debate matters and the best the Speaker could have done on the controversial Ford scandal was to have the matter debated.

He was speaking on Multi TV and Joy FM’s news analysis program Newsfile, Saturday, in reaction to the drama on the floor of Parliament on Thursday.

Speaker Edward Joe Adjaho within 15 minutes shot down a motion filed by the Minority under Article 112 (3) of the Constitution requesting a bipartisan parliamentary probe into the circumstances under which a Burkinabe contractor and business man gifted President John Mahama a Ford vehicle after winning a contract from the government of Ghana.

The Minority averred that even though the aspects of their motion were before CHRAJ, any conclusion or report from CHRAJ will be sent to the Attorney General, an appointee of government and the matter would be dead on arrival.

They therefore urged the Speaker to invoke the powers of the House to exercise its oversight responsibility over the Executive especially when the matter in question [the award of contract to the Burkina Faso contractor to construct a $650,000 wall around Ghana’s mission in Burkina Faso] was already before the house.

However, the Speaker on Thursday dismissed the motion with the explanation that CHRAJ by the constitutional arrangements and rulings of the Supreme Court is clothed with the power to investigate issues of corruption, conflict of interest and abuse of power.

He said the motion which the Minority was inviting the House to interrogate was not fundamentally different from what was before CHRAJ. He would rather have CHRAJ investigate the matter than have a bipartisan parliamentary probe.

Speaker Doe Adjaho therefore dismissed the motion and adjourned the House sine die.

His conduct has been hailed by the Majority and lampooned by the Minority, whose leader described the action as “whimsical and capricious.”

On Newsfile, SN Darkwa told host Samson Lardi Anyenini ordinarily any motion brought before the House is filed, seconded, debated and then the Speaker rules on it.

He said it is only when motions are subjudice (under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere) that a matter cannot be debated on the floor.

Even though by his training he was not supposed to, publicly criticize the Speaker, even after exiting Parliament, SN Darkwa said for the public good and for education, the Speaker ought to have allowed the matter to be discussed on the floor before taking a decision.

He said there is always a majority in the house who would win the debate anyway if it is allowed on the floor.

He was also quick to add that the speaker has sole responsibility for the admissibility of a motion but stated unequivocally that it must be done in accordance with law.

But the Majority Leader Alban Bagbin who called into the show said the former Clerk has been misled into making the comments he made.

He stated that the matter was not before the Parliament and that it was only a request to the speaker who has the right to admit or reject it.

He said if the speaker had admitted the motion, he would have sent it to the clerk for onward submission to the business committee of Parliament to be tabled for discussion on the floor.

He however added that the Speaker had taken the position that the motion was not admissible and that is why he did not pass it on to the business committee of Parliament. He was unequivocal that the Speaker did nothing wrong in quashing the motion.



Source: Myjoyonline.com

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