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NPP MP Heads To Supreme Court To Seek Declaration Of Adwoa Safo’s Dome Kwabenya Seat Vacant

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The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Ahafo Ano North in the Ashanti Region, Suleman Adamu Sanid, has filed a suit at the Supreme Court seeking interpretation of Article 97c of the 1992 constitution.

Sanid’s application, filed at the registry of the Supreme Court on Thursday 27 October 2022, follows a recent ruling delivered by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, that the entire House will debate a report submitted by the privileges committee recommending the removal from office of the Member of Parliament for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, after she absented herself from 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament.

 

In documents available, the MP is praying the Court that by failing to appear before the Privileges Committee to explain her absence from Parliament, Sarah Adwoa Safo ceases to be a Member of Parliament.

 

 

MP for Ahafo Ano North , Suleman Adamu Sanid

 

 

MP’s contention

It is the contention of the Ahafo Ano North MP that the Speaker of Parliament’s ruling breached the clear provisions and laid-down processes set out in Article 97c of the 1992 constitution.

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Article 97c states: “A member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament 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 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”

This provision, Sanid says, prescribes a process for an MP to vacate his or her seat. He argues in his writ that, following the formal complaint filed in Parliament about the absence of the member for Dome Kwabenya, the Speaker referred the complaint to the privileges committee.

The committee moved swiftly to do its work and has since fulfilled all the laid-down procedures set out in the 1992 constitution, specifically those in Article 97c, Sanid says. All the Speaker is requested to do is to adopt the findings of the privileges committee and declare the seat vacant.

To this end, Sanid is praying the Supreme Court to declare Bagbin’s ruling, calling for the whole House to debate the report of the privileges committee before a collective decision is taken through voting, as unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect.

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Speaker’s ruling

 

In his ruling on Wednesday 26 October 2022, Speaker Bagbin said: “Any other committee of Parliament is subject to the consideration of the House by way of a motion. Again, I am inspired and convinced that this [is the] position of the law by provision of the constitution.

“The decision as to whether or not to admit a motion is the exclusive preserve of the Speaker.”

He added, “In view of the foregoing, the House is well within its rights to receive and consider the report of the committee and make a determination arising out of the recommendation … it is my ruling that the motion was rightfully admitted and the report of the committee is subject to the consideration of the House.

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“It goes without saying that the preliminary objection of the Majority Leader to the admissibility of the motion for the consideration of the report of the committee is hereby dismissed …” Bagbin said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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