Chairman of Parliament’s Privileges Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu says the Clerk of Parliament is required to inform the Electoral Commission that the Dome-Kwabenya Constituency seat is vacant.
This, Mr. Osei-Owusu says, is the conclusion reached by the Committee after it heard two of the three NPP legislators who had absented themselves from Parliament for more than 15 consecutive sittings.
He made this known to JoyNews’ Emefa Apawu on Thursday, July 14.
Article 97 of Ghana’s Constitution indicates that a member of Parliament shall vacate his seat if he is absent for fifteen sittings without the permission of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges.
TENURE OF OFFICE OF MEMBERS
1. A Member of Parliament shall vacate his seat in Parliament.
c. if he is absent, without the permission in writing of the Speaker and he is unable to offer a reasonable explanation to the Parliamentary Committee on Privileges from fifteen sittings of a meeting of Parliament during any period that Parliament has been summoned to meet and continues to meet.”
The Bekwai MP explained that this provision kicked in the moment the MP failed to show up at the invitation of the Committee to explain her absence during its meeting.
“In accordance with the law, it is for the Clerk to inform the Electoral Commission that a vacancy has occurred, that is what the Constitution says, that is what our report reflects.”
He explained that the Committee used every means to inform her of the need to show up and explain her absence. Her failure to show up, he continued, means she has automatically vacated the seat.
The Committee has meanwhile, by a majority decision, voted to ‘pardon’ Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong and Ayawaso Central MP, Henry Quartey who both absented themselves from Parliament for more than 15 consecutive sittings last year.