There were heated exchanges on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday over the laying of the Office of the Prosecutor Bill.
The Minority in parliament contended that the bill must be withdrawn from the house because it was not laid according to proper procedure.The Caucus earlier yesterday tried to prevent the Bill from being laid on the same grounds.
The Minority Chief Whip cited Order 78 of Parliament’s Standing Orders as being breached hence the need to withdraw and appropriately re-lay the bill.
But the Majority leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu contended that Muntaka’s claims were not legitimate.
Muntaka Mubarak argued that copies of the Bill brought to the House for perusal were not sufficient.
The first Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Wusu, however, directed the Clerk of Parliament to make copies available for the MPs.
The setting up of the office of the Special Prosecutor was one of the key campaign promises made by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo which he explained was necessary in the fight against corruption in the country.
Confusion over Special Prosecutor’s office
There have however been varied opinions about the creation of the office.
Whereas some believe it is in the right direction, the Minority Members of Parliament had threatened to go to court over the matter.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, in an earlier Citi News interview insisted that, the Special Prosecutor’s office could not be established without tinkering with Article 88 of the constitution, which deals with the role of the Attorney-General.
“…That is my understanding of the law. It belongs to the executive chapter of the constitution which is entrenched; therefore you cannot be seeking to review that through an Act of Parliament… I am certain that article 88 is entrenched, and not that which can be reviewed simply through a process of an Act of Parliament,” he explained.
Funding for special prosecutor in limbo – MP
Though the President has indicated that the office will be operational within the stipulated time, he failed to mention how government intends funding its operations.
The Chairman of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee, Ben Abdallah had earlier stated that he did not know where the funding for the office will come from although he maintained that the office “is one of the priorities of government.”
“…Government has given a deadline around next year 2018, so let’s wait and see if the promise is not realized taking into consideration the deadline, then we will be right in taking government to task. Because as I’m talking, we don’t even know where the money will be coming from, whether it will be provided outside this budget estimates, but by the government or it’s going to come from somewhere else, we can’t tell,” he said.
“But let’s not be judgmental at this time of the day by saying that there would be a conflict of interest with respect to where government is to get funding from be it from a particular entity or individual. Probably the money will be provided for by the government itself,” he added.
By: Duke Mensah Opoku/citifmonline.com/Ghana