Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin has informed Parliament that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assented to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, now known as the Criminal Offences Amendment Act 2023 (Act 1101).
The Speaker clarified that the Bill, submitted to the President for assent on August 3, 2023, was assented to the same day, making it an official Act.
In his response to the President's memorandum dated December 12th, which declined assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, the Criminal Offences Amendment Number Two Bill, and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill, Speaker Bagbin emphasized that the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill had already been enacted into law.
Speaker Bagbin further noted that the President's refusal to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, Criminal Offences Amendment Number Two Bill, and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill was based on constitutional and executive frameworks, including Article 108 of the Constitution and Section 100 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
However, the Speaker expressed disagreement with the President's assessment, particularly regarding the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill, which had already been assented to and gazetted.
Speaker Bagbin asserted that the President's unilateral assessment of unconstitutionality without seeking judicial review from the Supreme Court did not hold legal water.
During the session, Members of Parliament, including Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu and Minority Chief Whip Kwame Governs Agbodza, requested time to study the Speaker's statement and the President's memorandum before contributing to the discussion.
The Speaker indicated that a date for the recall of the House for further deliberations would be considered.
The disagreement between the President and Parliament highlights constitutional complexities and the need for thorough legal review processes in Ghana's legislative procedures.