Let special Prosecutor bill 2017 travel full haul

Banda Ben Abdalla

Banda Ben Abdalla

The Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has recommended that the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 travels the full haul before it gets passed into law because it contains “weighty issues.”

This is because in the view of the committee the bill is not of urgent nature and should not be treated as such.

The bill was laid and read for the first time last Tuesday, pitching the Majority against the Minority over the propriety or otherwise of the decision to lay the bill without recourse to minimum legislative requirement.

While the Minority argued that the bill was not gazetted as demanded by the 1992 Constitution, the Majority caucus said it was brought to the House under the certificate of urgency.

The back and forth between the New Patriotic Party majority and the National Democratic Congress minority  led to the Speaker, referring the matter to the committee for determination if the bill should be passed under a certificate of urgency.

Presenting the committee’s report on the floor of Parliament on Friday, the Chairman of the Committee, Banda Ben Abdallah said after perusing the bill, the committee came to the conclusion that a broader stakeholder consultation was needed ahead of the passage.

“Going through the memorandum and the body of the bill itself, we realised that the bill carries a lot of weighty issues that need to be discussed.

“That therefore needs a broader stakeholder consultation and this cannot be done within a short period of time,” he said.

These reasons, the Offinso MP said informed their decision to allow the bill to travel the full haul.

“It was therefore the considered opinion of the committee that in view of the reasons above mentioned, this bill is not one that must be treated under the certificate of urgency.

“It therefore needs to be taken through normal legislative process,” Mr Abdallah submitted.

Supporting the committee chair, the ranking member and Tamale Central lawmaker, Innusah Fuseini said the committee came to that conclusion because there was the need to establish an institution that can endure the test of time.

He said the Office of the Special Prosecutor needed to engender confidence in all involved so as to “secure and guarantee the integrity and neutrality of such an important office.”

The majority and minority leaderships of the House, lauding the recommendations of the Committee said their intervention will only be good for Ghana’s democratic governance.

The Office of Special Prosecutor, as captured in the governing NPP’s manifesto, is one of the frameworks which government intends to fight public and private sector corruption.

By Julius Yao Petetsi & Eunice Cofie

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