Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, says he will drag three Members of Parliament (MPs) before the Privileges Committee for their absenteeism without the Speaker’s permission.
According to Okudzeto Ablakwa, there are two other NPP MPs who have absented themselves from Parliament above the fifteen days deadline, just like the MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Adwoa Safo.
He said it would be discriminatory for only Sarah Adwoa Safo to face the law if the other two MPs are allowed to go scot-free.
To ensure fairness and equity, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee noted his intention to haul all three MPs before the Privileges Committee.
“All I am saying is that let us apply the law fairly. Let us not be discriminatory. I have gone through the votes and proceedings between October 24 and November 26, 2021, in our last meeting and I have discovered that the Honourable Henry Quartey and the Honourable Kennedy Agyapong missed eighteen working days consistently and consecutively. They have breached article 97(c) clearly and they have also flouted order 16(1) of our standing orders.
“I am saying that I welcome the discussion on the need for all Members of Parliament to take their work seriously for us to eschew absenteeism and to punish same. Therefore, let us apply the law fairly in a non-discriminatory manner and let us ensure that the Privileges Committee when they come to sit on the matter relating to absenteeism, sit and consider all three MPs. So the matter must be put in a context that is fair, balanced and non-discriminatory,” he told Evans Mensah on Top Story.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa claimed he has evidence that the two MPs were also absent from Parliament without permission from the Speaker.
“If you go through the voting and procedures they are captured under the category of absent so they are not absent with permission for those eighteen working days and it’s a clear breach and I have done my checks and some of them have even conceded that they really have fallen foul,” he said.
But the Deputy Majority Chief Whip, Habib Iddrisu believes it would be a premature call to haul the Dome Kwabenya MP before the Privileges Committee.
“If Members of Parliament are saying that they want to invoke Order 16 but actually Order 16 doesn’t precede Article 97 of the Constitution… I don’t think we have gotten there yet,” he told JoyNews’ Kwesi Parker-Wilson.
Meanwhile, the Deputy General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Obiri Boahen, has rejected calls for the outright suspension of Dome Kwabenya MP, Adwoa Safo.
Speaking on The Pulse on Tuesday, Nana Obiri Boahen explained that the party must apply the proper procedures before taking any final decision.
He argued that the Speaker of the House is the only authority to bring the MP to book due to her absence from Parliament; not the leadership of the party.
“If for one reason or the other a Parliamentarian is absent, it doesn’t lie in the mouth of the party leadership to bring that fellow to book… With all humility, we are not in a jungle, we are in a democratic country. We have three organs of government…if for instance, a Member of Parliament is absent for twenty or thirty days, it is the Speaker who will declare the seat vacant, anything short of that, legally that should not be the position,” he said.
Adwoa Sarfo’s absence in Parliament
The Dome Kwabenya MP has been absent from Parliament since the House resumed sitting this year.
She has also not been engaged in any government business for a while following an extension of her leave which was granted by the President in October last year.
The absence of the Dome-Kwabenya MP has raised concerns among the party’s rank-and-file amidst calls for her suspension and dismissal from the party.