Bagbin, Mensah-Bonsu square off on Ford gift debate

Mr Algban BagbinThe Majority and Minority leaders of Parliament on Saturday found a neutral platform to slug out the controversial Ford gift scandal involving President John Mahama.

Mr. Alban Bagbin led the charge in support of the decision by the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho to throw out the motion brought by the Minority for a Parliamentary enquiry into the scandal.

Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu He said the Speaker cannot be faulted for throwing out a motion he believes was inadmissible in the first place.

The Minority was hoping the Speaker of Parliament will, at least open the floor for a debate on the controversial Ford gift scandal, even if he will not accept the Minority’s call for a bipartisan committee to investigate the matter.

However in less than 12 minutes the Speaker had ruled on the matter, dismissing the motion and adjourning the House sine die.

The Minority quickly organised a press conference to vent their frustration at the Speaker and to accuse both the president and the majority of running away from a probe.

A former clerk of Parliament, SN Darkwa who claimed the Speaker may have erred in his summary dismissal of the motion.

The former clerk who served Parliament from 1961 to 1997 said Parliament is not only the highest institution responsible for making laws but the highest forum to debate matters; and the least the Speaker could do was to allow a debate on the matter before ruling.

However the Majority Leader Alban Bagbin disagreed with the clerk and said the clerk was misled into believing the motion was already before Parliament.

“The matter was not before Parliament. The matter was a request to the Speaker. In the request the Minority had to give a reason for the request for the Speaker to recall Parliament and therefore a draft motion indicating the reason for a recall was attached to the request.

“If the Speaker had admitted the motion that would have been processed through the Clerk of Parliament and would have been brought to me the Chairman of the Business Committee and I will have to submit a draft business statement to the Business Committee which is made up of all shades of opinions in Parliament,” Mr Bagbin explained.



He added that once the Business Committee sets a date, the matter returns to the table office of the clerk who puts it on an order paper and indicated that since all these processes were not followed, the motion could not have been said to be in Parliament.



Responding, Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said at no point in Parliamentary history had a business gone straight to the Business Committee either from the Executive or from a private member’s motion.


At all times, he argued, the Speaker through the Clerk sends a matter to the business committee and wondered why on this occasion the Speaker refused to do same. –



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