Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader and Head of Government Business, Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has hinted that his side of the House has come to a conclusion to put absentee Member of Parliament (MP) for Dome-Kwabenya Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo before Parliament’s Privileges Committee by next week.
The Dome-Kwabenya MP has been absent from the House for an extended period of time without permission from the Speaker for no known reasons.
Speaking about her absence on PM Express a Talk Show on an Accra based Joy News channel, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs who doubles as MP for Suame Constituency in the Ashanti region explained that the Speaker had intended to refer her to the Privileges Committee last week Tuesday, but due to prevailing circumstances had to reschedule.
Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu was emphatic that all attempts to get his MP for Dome-Kwabenya Constituency back into the House have proven futile, and thus the next line of action lies in the bosom of the Speaker.
“It’s been a long-drawn-out matter; we’ve been having conversations and I think there’s something that is happening and I don’t want to go into it. Unfortunate as the situation is, but certainly a decision will have to be taken one way or the other.
“Well, really when we say that push, in this case, has come to shove and when push comes to shove some decision, or determination has to be made. And so, I agree with the Speaker that if that determination has to be made it has to be made,” Suame MP reiterated.
He openly admitted that the absence of Madam Adwoa Safo had posed a liability to the enterprise of the Majority Caucus in Parliament, especially in relation to the passage of the E-levy bill which he believes would have been a walk in the park if she had been present.
“We have been limping, I must admit. If she were here this hurdle would have been cleared long ago. We’ve been having conversations about her coming back and she’ll promise and renege on many occasions, but I think all is not right. How to go forward with it is the bigger burden,” Mr. Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
The Suame Lawmaker stated “My information was that even last Tuesday, the Speaker was going to make a pronouncement on it in the House, but I think the circumstances prevented him from doing so. I want to believe that perhaps before the House adjourns tomorrow or maybe next week when the House sits the Speaker may make the announcement by referring her conduct to the Privileges Committee before we adjourn. That’s the information that the Speaker gave to me”.
He explained that even though some constituents from the Dome-Kwabenya constituency have recently written to the Speaker asking formally for an extension of her leave of absence in Parliament, said request is yet to be authorized by the Speaker.
“Well, she requested from the Speaker to be given four more weeks to be absent. The four weeks I guess are ending Friday. It wasn’t granted. The Speaker told me that he had not granted that because you need to be here to make the request, but this was submitted from outside, and even the first one, that’s where she didn’t make a request from the Speaker. So, the Speaker said he wasn’t going to accommodate that,” he explained.