Home / POLITICS / 2022 ‘Agyenkwa’ Budget Rejection: Speaker Could Face Ten-Year Jail Term If – Says Constitutional Lawyer

2022 ‘Agyenkwa’ Budget Rejection: Speaker Could Face Ten-Year Jail Term If – Says Constitutional Lawyer

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The Speaker of Parliament could be putting himself at risk of charges which carry up to ten years in jail if he is found to have acted contrary to the provisions of the 1992 constitution by rejecting the 2022 Budget, a constitutional lawyer has said, and if the Supreme Court declares he has committed a breach of this kind but he fails to respect consequent orders.

 

The comment by the head of law centres in the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, comes amid the debate that has followed rejection of the 2022 Budget in Parliament by a one-sided House on Friday (26 November) and subsequent criticism of the role played by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin.

 

Sharing his opinion on developments in the House during the newspaper review segment of The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (29 November), Dr Agyeman-Budu said the Speaker could be jailed if the Supreme Court establishes that he acted in contravention of the constitution and he fails to respect consequent orders.

 

“High crime”

“I think that there is that issue of constitutionality that could be determined by the Supreme Court, and if you read Article 2 of the constitution, for instance, a citizen of Ghana can bring an action in the Supreme Court [if] you believe that any person has acted or omitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with or in contravention of the constitution or any provision thereof,” Agyeman-Budu said.

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“If you read Article 2 closely, you will find out that the Supreme Court has the power to declare any such act of any person unconstitutional or inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, and they have the power to make consequential orders to give effect to [any] particular declaration or decision that they will make.”

He added, “[This is] to the extent that all those persons to whom such orders of the Supreme Court are directed are bound by the constitution to obey the orders of the Supreme Court, or risk being convicted for what is referred to as ‘high crime’ under the constitution, which carries a jail term of ten years and not being able to hold public office for ten years.”

 

 

Accept defeat of 2022 Budget

The Minority Caucus in Parliament has urged the Majority side to accept defeat and acknowledge that the 2022 Budget has been rejected by the House.

 

In a statement issued on Sunday (28 November), the Minority said it “is shocked and disappointed at the recent attack [on] the Right Honourable Speaker by the Majority Leader in his attempt to explain away their inability to show leadership in the House during the consideration of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy”.

 

“The Minority wishes to strongly advise the Majority Leader and government to accept defeat, acknowledge the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy by Parliament and focus on discussions on how to save the country from an imminent economic crisis.”

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The Minority said until the government includes, reviews and withdraws certain policies and initiatives set out in the Budget Statement, it will not approve the 2022 Budget.

The Minority wants the government to suspend the proposed 1.75% electronic transactions levy (E-Levy) and properly reconstruct paragraph 829 of the Aker Energy deal relating to GNPC’s acquisition of a larger stake from Aker Energy and AGM Petroleum.

 

 

 

“Disregard rejection of Budget”

However, the Majority has called on Ghanaians to disregard the move by the Minority side of Parliament on 26 November 2021 aimed at rejecting the government’s 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy.

In a statement issued after the events in Parliament on Friday, the Majority Caucus said it “hereby notifies the Ghanaian public to kindly disregard the decision by Speaker Alban Bagbin, that 137 Members of Parliament have the power to take a decision for Parliament and have consequently rejected the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government of Ghana”.

The statement continues: “Article 104 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 109 of the Standing Orders of Parliament are very clear. The two provisions, read together, require that at least 138 MPs needed to have been present in the chamber at the time of the purported vote.

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“Therefore, the claim that the Budget has been rejected by 137 Members of the House is null, void and of no effect, because same is unconstitutional,” the statement by the Majority said.

But the Minority has refuted the claims of unconstitutionality, describing colleagues in the Majority as “irresponsible” and urging them to accept the rejection of the 2022 Budget in good faith.

“The Minority wishes to strongly advise the Majority Leader and government to accept defeat, acknowledge the rejection of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy by Parliament and focus on discussions on how to save the country from an imminent economic crisis.

“We hope the NPP government will do what is right and proper when considering a revised Budget. The NPP government should critically take on board the view of the Minority and sentiments of the Ghanaian populace and bring a Budget that is acceptable and addresses the issues of the general public,” the Minority said.

 

 

 

Source:  Asaase Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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