Adwoa Safo expected to appear before Privileges C’ttee July 6

The Privileges Committee of Parliament has caused to be published summons to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome Kwabenya, Sarah Adwoa Safo, to appear before the Committee on July 6, 2022.

Adwoa Safo, who is also the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, according to a statement issued by the Public Affairs Directorate of Parliament, is expected to appear in person or via Zoom, to answer queries for her absence without permission for more than 25 sittings during the first meeting of the second session of the House. 

The summon, the statement said it forms part of the committee’s work, referred to it by the Speaker, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, pursuant to Article 97(1)(c) of the Constitution, and Orders 15 and 16(1) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, for consideration and report to the House. 

It comes weeks after the third-term lawmaker claimed she did not have an invitation to appear before the committee.

In an interview with Accra based Joy News from her base in the United States of America, Adwoa Safo, said “I am not aware of such an invitation to appear before the committee. I don’t know that I have been invited. I have to be served.” 

But the statement, signed by Ms Kate Addo, Director, Public Affairs, Parliament, said all efforts to reach the MP to honour the invitation of the committee have been fruitless. 

“The committee has employed all available means, both official and unofficial to serve the Member with invitation letter, including sending the invitation letter to her office and pigeonhole in Parliament, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, where she superintended as Sector Minister, her official email addresses, known social media handles, and through her personal assistant,” the statement said. 

It would be recalled that Mr Bagbin on April 5, 2022, referred the Dome-Kwabenya MP and two others to the committee for absenting themselves for more than 15 days without permission in writing in violation of Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution. 

The two others are Members for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong and Ayawaso Central, Henry Quartey. 

The Speaker told the plenary of the House in Accra that, the table office had established that the trio, all members of the New Patriotic Party, formed majority caucus, had absented themselves for more than 15 sittings of the House. 

“As is my understanding of Article 79(1)(c) and Order 16(1) of the Orders of Parliament, and the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Professor Kwaku Asare versus the Attorney-General and three others, I hereby refer the said Honourable Members to the Committee of Privileges for consideration and report to the House,” the Speaker told Members.   

The absenteeism of Members, he said, had become a matter of national interest and that his attention had been called to the phenomenon hence his referral. 

The report of the committee would be subjected to scrutiny on the floor when presented in line with Standing Order 161. 

If “unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges,” and by extension the House in line with Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution why they have absented themselves for more than 15 sitting days, their seats would be declared vacant to pave way for a by-election. 
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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