Special Prosecutor, Zongo Devt fund, 2017 bills laid for consideration by House

Prof. Mike  Oquaye,Speaker of Parliament

Prof. Mike Oquaye,Speaker of Parliament

The Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 and the Zongo Development Fund Bill, 2017, have been laid before parliament for consideration.

The presentation of the bill by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, begins the process of legislative approval for the framework which government intends to fight public and private sector corruption with.

It is one of the major electioneering campaign promises of President Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 presidential and parliamentary polls.

The Zongo Development Fund Bill, laid by Alhaji Boniface Abu-Bakar Siddique, the Zongo Minister, on the other hand is the vehicle government plans to use in funding developmental programmes in Zongos and inner cities across the country.

The Minority, however, objecting to the presentation of the bill on legal grounds said the decision by the government flouts due process.

A former Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Ayine, MP, Bolgatanga East, said his checks from the Assembly Press indicates that the two bills have not been gazetted.

He said laying the bill, without recourse to Article 160(2b) of the 1992 Constitution and Order 120 of Parliament’s Orders which stated that any bill to be laid in parliament gets gazetted 14 clear days before its introduction was illegal.

Dr Ayine said the minority was not against the bill but wants due process of law to be followed.

But Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, arguing under Article 106 (13) of the Constitution said there is an exception once the bill was an urgent one.

“Government,” he said “considers the two bills more than urgent” and added that it did not err in laying the bill without first gazetting it.

Speaking with journalists after proceedings, Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga said members were yet to see the bill which has been laid.

Failing to say if the government, through the majority caucus, was perpetrating an illegality, Mahama Ayariga said “based on his [Dr Ayine’s] checks, if it is indeed the case, then there is a clear breach of the Constitution.”

A Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Dindiok Kpenka reacting to the Minority’s claims in an interaction with the media said his colleagues got it wrong because the government triggered Article 106 clause 13 of the Constitution to lay the bills.

Giving an insight to the bills, Mr Kpenka, MP, Tempane, said the Special Prosecutor will have a seven year fixed term to ensure that he had security of office to fight corruption without fear or favour.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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