The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso Central, Henry Quartey, who is also the Greater Accra Regional Minister, met members of the Privileges Committee of Parliament on Monday to answer why he absented himself for 15 sitting days of the House.
The 31 MPs, who make up the cross-party Privileges Committee, met to continue their inquiry into the absence of three New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmakers from the House without written permission from the Speaker.
The embattled MPs are Sarah Adwoa Safo of Dome-Kwabenya, Henry Quartey of Ayawaso Central, and Kennedy Ohene Agyapong of Assin Central.
The task of the committee, as directed by the Speaker on April 5, 2022, is to decide whether the three MPs should vacate their seats in Parliament for having absented themselves for 15 sittings of a meeting of Parliament without the permission in writing of the Speaker and unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Privileges Committee.
The Privileges Committee’s recommendation is of fundamental constitutional importance, if the members believe that on the balance of probabilities the three embattled MPs breached Article 97(1)(c) of the 1992 Constitution.
The Privileges Committee will report its conclusions to the House which will then vote on whether to endorse its findings and any recommended sanction.
This is unlikely to happen before the House goes on recess on July 27, and there has been some debate about whether a finding against the lawmakers can lead to their expulsion from the House, if found ‘guilty.’
At the committee’s meeting on Monday, June 13, 2022, at 12:11pm, the Chairman, Joseph Osei-Owusu presided over proceedings and was attended by Akwasi Owusu Afrifa-Mensa, Andrew Kofi Egyapa Mercer, John Frimpong Osei, Emmanuel Agyei Anhwere, Kingsley Carlos Ahenkorah, Joseph Cudjoe, John Kobina Abbam Aboah Sanie, Michael Okyere Baafi, Elvis Morris Donkoh, Suleman Adamu Sanid, and Abdul-Razak Tahidu, all members of the committee.
In attendance were Patrick Yaw Boamah, MP for Okaikwei Central; Kofi Menkah, Senior Assistant Clerk; Ayisha Salifu, Senior Assistant; Eric Coleman, Assistant Clerk III; Saraphina Pwamang, Assistant Clerk III, Frank Bitafir Ijon, Research Officer; Samuella S.B. Asamoah, Assistant Clerk IV; Stella Esi Anthony, Assistant Clerk IV; Aba Tanuah Dadzie, Reporter II; and Maxwell Akwei, Parliamentary Service.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:38pm.
The committee earlier could not attend to Mr. Quartey when he arrived at the venue for the meeting last two weeks as the Chairman, Joseph Osei-Owusu, was billed to take over from the Speaker in the chamber.
When the MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong appeared before the committee, he called in sick as a defence for his absence from Parliament for the 15 sitting days of the First Meeting of Second Session of the House.
He told Parliament’s Privileges Committee last Wednesday that his absence from the House was inadvertent due to ill health, which took him out of the jurisdiction.
By Ernest Kofi Adu