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Minority To Sue Speaker?
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Joyce Bamford-Addo
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The Minority caucus in Parliament says it is considering legal action against the Speaker of Parliament over her ruling on a proposed amendment to the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill introduced by a Minority Member of Parliament (MP).

The proposed amendment suggested a 10 percent allocation of oil revenue from the Jubilee Field for the development of Western Region, but the Speaker, Mrs Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo, ruled against it on the grounds that it would impose a cost on the Consolidated Fund.

In what could be an unprecedented test case in the Parliament of the Fourth Republic, the Minority intends to seek redress on the matter at the Supreme Court.

Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu told Bernard Avle, host of the Citi Breakfast Show, on Tuesday June 28 that the Speaker's ruling did not conform to Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution which she cited as the basis for her ruling on the bill now passed into law. The Speaker, he said, wrongly interpreted Article 108.

“Actually we are considering the Court option. We have not come to a firm determination yet but we will soon decide what to do. We believe that the resort to Article 108 in that particular case was most unfortunate and that it infringes on the Constitution.

"The matter had to do with the 10% allocation to the Western Region. This argument is not about whether or not that amendment could be sustained. We are attacking the process for disabling that amendment which was proffered by a colleague".

The Minority Leader said although Parliament is a master of its own rules, it cannot be allowed to do anything inconsistent with the Constitution and allowed to go scot-free hence his side's intention to seek a proper interpretation of the law at the Supreme Court if it becomes necessary.

He however admitted that legal action will be the last resort, saying members of the Minority are considering other options.

Article 108 provides, in part, that the: “Parliament shall not, unless the bill is introduced or the motion is introduced by, or on behalf of the President (a) proceed upon a bill including an amendment to a bill, that, in the opinion of the person presiding makes provision for any of the following: (i) the imposition of the taxation or the alteration of the taxation otherwise than by reduction; or (ii) the imposition of a charge on the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana or the alteration of any such charge otherwise than by reduction or (iii) the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund or other public funds of Ghana of any moneys not charged on the Consolidated Fund or any increase in the amount of that payment, issue or withdrawal”.
Source: D-Graphic/citifmolinline

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