Speaker shuts minority caucus down

Mr Edward Doe Ajaho,Speaker of Parliament (1)The Speaker of Parliament yesterday, threw out the minority caucus’ motion for a bi-partisan committee to investigate an allegation of corruption against President John Mahama.

Dismissing the motion, the Speaker, Edward Adjaho, said the matter was already before the Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJ) and, therefore, could not be investigated by Parliament.

He said Articles 286 (5) and 287 of the Constitution had vested CHRAJ with the mandate to investigate allegations of breach of Code of Conduct  for public officers, including the President, and added that the Supreme Court had also made a number of pronouncements pointing to the fact that such complaints were to be investigated exclusively by CHRAJ.

He cited a case between Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Dr. Omane Boamah versus Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey and the Attorney General, and indicated that the House would be guided by the interpretation put by the Supreme Court on such matters.

“It is my view, therefore, that CHRAJ is the institution vested with exclusive Constitutional authority to deal with all relevant matters relating to the breach of Code of Conduct of public officers, including this particular matter,” he said.

Furthermore, he said CHRAJ had the jurisdiction to investigate all matters of corruption and abuse of power.

“As the Speaker of this House, I am of the firm conviction that the constitutional bodies must respect each other in the performance of their duties, in order to avoid role conflicts.

“I am unable to admit this motion. I, hereby, direct the Clerk to return the motion to the member in whose name it stands, in line with Standing Order 79 (4). Honourable Members, since this is the matter that has brought us here, I adjourn the House sine die,” he stated.

After the Speaker had adjourn the House, the Minority, obviously stunned by the ruling, remained in their seats for some minutes before moving out of the Chamber.

The motion, moved by the Member of Parliament for Bekwai, Joseph Osei-Wusu, had 104 signatories from some members from the Minority side of the House.

It called on Parliament to set up a committee to investigate President Mahama for accepting a luxury vehicle as a gift from a Burkinabe businessman.

Members from both sides of the House had prepared themselves for a heated debate on the matter, but the Speaker dismissed the motion on the grounds that the House had no constitutional mandate to investigate matters before CHRAJ.

By Yaw Kyei

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