President Nana Addo
President Akufo-Addo has had cause to shoot claims by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin which sought to suggest he has refused to append his signature to the Criminal Offences Bill which has been approved by Parliament.
The Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2023 (the “Bill”), is a legislative measure aimed at amending the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
On Monday, November 27, 2023, which is yesterday, the Speaker of Parliament, rebuked Akufo-Addo over his supposed ‘silence’ on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill which has specifically been designed to outlaw the roles of witch doctors or witch-finders, in addition to prohibiting the act of declaring, accusing, naming, or labelling an individual as a witch, alongside other related matters.
It however emerged that contrary to the claims made in these reports by the Speaker of Parliament and the Minority Caucus in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo has not remained silent on the Bill.
In a statement, Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene wondered “how could the Speaker of Parliament accuse the President of remaining silent on the Bill when it was officially presented to him on Monday, 27th November 2023, the same day the Speaker made the accusation? “
That, he said because “indeed, the Bill was officially presented to the President for his assent together with the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023 and National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, under cover of a letter dated 27th November 2023, with reference PS/CS/112/826” and issued under the name and signature of the Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Ebenezer Ahumah Dzietror.
He therefore insist “it is, thus, wholly inaccurate that the Bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention.”
Instead, he noted that “President Akufo-Addo is mindful of Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, which affords the President seven (7) days to review and give his assent to any Bill presented to him.”
“In light of this constitutional provision, it is important to note that the President is still well within the legally stipulated timeframe to make a decision regarding the Bill”, he emphasised.
During this period, the statement said “the President may examine the bill thoroughly and, if necessary, convey any concerns or suggestions he might have regarding its contents to Parliament.”
The Office of the President has therefore assured that “the public and media that Bills, including this current Bill, the Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2023, are being attended to with the utmost respect for constitutional mandates and legislative processes.”
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent