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Special Prosecutor, Zongo Development Bills laid before Parliament

By
Christopher Arko, GNA

Accra, July 18 GNA – The bills on the Office
of the Special Prosecutor and Zongo Development Fund has been laid before
Parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron
Michael Oquaye however referred the two bills to the appropriate Committees of
Parliament to work on the bills.

The Committees are the Committee of
Constitution, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Committee on
Finance and Committee on Local Government.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader in
seconding the motion stated that the Minority was not against the bill on
Office of the Special Prosecutor but rather were in support of President Nana
Akufo-Addo’s fight against corruption.

He called on 
Ms Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney General to lead the
process rather than her Deputy, Mr Joseph Kpemka since it was an important bill
that did not need delegation.

He said:’ for the purpose of Parliament and
the importance of the bill the Minister herself must come to the House and
respond appropriately.’

Mr Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Majority Leader
on his part stated that the substantive minister could not be present in the
House because she was with the President on another assignment.

He therefore requested the Speaker for his
indulgence for the substantive minister and to allow her deputy to lay the two
bills.

Dr Dominic Ayine, Member Parliament for Bolga
East raised a fundamental constitutional issue relating to the laying of the
two bills.

According to him, his checks with the
government printer, the Assembly Press in relation to the bill on the Office of
the Special Prosecutor showed that it had not been gazetted.

He stated that Article 106 and Order 120 of
the Standing Orders of Parliament required that before the bill was introduced
into the House, it must be gazetted 14 days prior to its introduction to the
House.

Dr Ayine therefore pleaded with the Speaker to
direct the Attorney General and Minister for Justice and the Minister for
Zongos and Inner-city Development to produce the gazetted notifications to the
House.

He said the bill on the Office of the Special
Prosecutor had a wide ranging implication on the rights of the people and it was
therefore important for the government to follow the due process.

Mr Mensah Bonsu, explained that Dr Ayine’s
quotation of the constitution on the floor of the House was out of tangent.

According to him, Article 106 (13) of the
constitution states: “Where it is determined by a Committee of Parliament
appointed for the purpose that a particular bill is of an urgent nature the
provisions of the proceeding clauses of this Article, other than clause one (1)
and paragraph (a) of clause two (2) shall not apply”. 

He explained that for the whole of Article
106, if a bill is determined as being of urgent character those provisions
other than accent shall not apply.

He said government considered the two bills as
urgent and that it was up to the Committee of Constitution, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs as well as the Committee on Finance and Committee on
Local Government working on the bill to determine otherwise.

GNA

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