The Dome-Kwabenya Member of Parliament (MP), Sarah Adwoa Safo, still has to wait with bated breath as her fate as a parliamentarian has been handed to the entire house of Parliament for determination.
This follows a ruling by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, that the Privileges Committee’s report that recommended her seat to be declared vacant is not final.
He explained that the report must be placed before the whole House for a decision to be made.
“As I have noted in this ruling, the decision as to whether or not to admit a motion is the exclusive preserve of the Speaker. In view of the foregoing, the House is well within its rights to receive and consider the report of the Committee and make a determination arising out of the recommendation.
In the circumstances, it is my ruling that the motion was rightfully admitted and the report of the Committee is subject to the consideration of the House,” he ruled on Wednesday, October 26.
Madam Adwoa Safo’s continuous absence from Parliament divided the House with the Minority interestingly taking the view that the Appointments Committee report should not be final.
Before going on recess in July, Mr. Bagbin deferred his ruling on whether the Dome-Kwabenya seat should be declared vacant or not following Madam Safo’s failure to honour an invite by the Privileges Committee on her continuous absence from Parliament.
Mr. Bagbin, on May 4, referred Madam Safo, Mr. Henry Quartey, MP of Ayawaso Central, and Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, MP, Assin Central, to the Privileges Committee for absenting themselves from 15 sittings of the House without his permission.
That was during the First Session of the Eighth Parliament.
The Committee failed to achieve a consensus in its recommendations on whether absenting herself for more than the mandatory 15 days without permission warranted her seat being declared vacant.
The Majority, however, wants the seat declared vacant without delay in line with stated constitutional provisions.
It observed that Madam Safo failed to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to explain her absence without leave.
Meanwhile, the Majority of MPs on the Committee cited Article 97 (1) (c) of the 1992 Constitution and the Court of Appeal decision in the case of Prof Stephen Kwaku Asare v the Attorney-General & 3 Ors, in this regard.
The Minority MPs on the Committee, argued that according to the principle of natural justice, the seat should not be declared vacant because Madam Safo did not provide her side of the story to the Committee.
The Committee, however, determined that the explanation offered by her two colleagues, Mr. Agyepong and Mr. Quartey for absenting themselves, were reasonable.
A copy of the report made available to the Ghana News Agency before recess, showed that the Committee members gave a split decision on the fate of Madam Safo.