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Speaker Bagbin challenges Akufo-Addo’s rejection of witchcraft, death penalty bills

December 18, 2023
Speaker Bagbin challenges Akufo-Addo's rejection of witchcraft, death penalty bill
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin

The Speaker of , , has openly clashed with President over the latter's refusal to give assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill and the Amendment Bill.

Mr. Bagbin, in a forceful address to Parliament, condemned the President's decision as “tragically wrong” and “ill-informed.”

President Akufo-Addo, in a letter outlining his reasons for withholding assent, cited concerns about the financial implications on the state's consolidated fund and potential breaches of Article 108 of the Constitution.

He particularly pointed to the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, sponsored by MP Francis , which aimed to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment.

The President, after consultations with the , claimed that the bill carried financial burdens for the state due to the associated costs of incarceration.

Mr Bagbin vehemently rejected these grounds, asserting that the President's assessment of the bill's financial implications was misguided.

“We vehemently disagree with the position taken by the president. The president has gotten it tragically wrong, and I will submit in the form of a statement under Article 53 my position in this matter and allow members of the house to make comments so that we can take a clear position in this matter,” declared Bagbin.

During the fiery address, Bagbin pledged to submit a detailed write-up to elucidate the bills' legislative journey and rebut the President's concerns.

He accused the President of being uninformed about the processes the bills had undergone, labelling the message and its contents as irregular, wrongful, and unconstitutional.

“The responsibility to decide whether a bill should come from a private member or not rests on the person presiding. The procedure in the act clearly states what the president is expected to do. It is not for the president to decide on the constitutionality or otherwise of a bill that has been presented and considered by parliament. This power of parliament will not be taken away by any exemptive authority,” he emphasized.

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