The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin is blaming the disagreements in Parliament over the formation of a quorum for voting on the Supreme Court’s recent judgement.
According to him, the Supreme Court’s judgement presents a contrary view on what constitutes a quorum in Parliament.
“Most of these things are happening because of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court, and that is the good reason why I asked for a review [of the judgement],” he said.
Bagbin said he expected the Supreme Court to seek their view on the matter before going ahead to make a definite pronouncement in its judgement on the voting rights of Deputy Speakers and the issue of quorum in Parliament.
“Even before my arrival, there were a lot of issues about quorum and the house had to be adjourned a number of times because of the interpretation of our understanding of quorum as stated in the judgement of the Supreme Court… As people who were going to be affected by that ruling, Parliament should have been given notice for us to have also stated our understanding of the law,” he added.
Bagbin’s comment was on the back of complaints by the Minority that the Clerk deliberately marked some of its members as absent, although they were present in the Chamber on the day the E-levy bill was passed.
The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak also faulted the Clerk for not capturing the Minority’s walkout in the records of the day, accusing the Clerk of being politically motivated.
Majority Whip Frank Annor-Dompreh, however, took exception to the accusations against the Clerk of Parliament, arguing the development could’ve been an error.
But Bagbin in expressing his view on the development said in his understanding, being present in Parliament was not restricted to being in the Chamber as parliamentary work includes committee meetings and other duties hence so long as an MP is within the precincts of Parliament and others can testify of his presence, he must be marked present.
“The work of an MP in Parliament is not restricted to the floor of the chamber. Much of the work of the MP is done at the committee level. You can be on the floor, at a committee meeting, in the washroom, but you are still in Parliament and this must be known. Being in Parliament means being in the precincts of Parliament.”
“The constitution did not say being present alone, but added ‘and voting.’ You can be present and decide not to vote, or be disqualified by law not to vote. These are matters that are known to Parliament and unknown to the courts,” he stressed.