It’s lawful for parliament to investigate UniBank, UTBank – Speaker Bagbin
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, before the House rose on Tuesday night, justified his direction, and the setting up of a parliamentary committee to investigate the revocation of the licenses of UniBank, UTBank.
He was of the view that the investigation could go ahead in spite of the matter being already handled by court.
The seven-member committee, announced earlier to probe the petition filed by Dr Kwabena Dufour, and Prince Kofi Amoabeng following the Bank of Ghana (BOG) revoking the license of UniBank and UT Bank respectively, was revised to nine.
Mr Mahama Ayariga, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, on behalf of the two, had filed a motion in parliament, last week, calling on the House to investigate the matter.
Among other things, the petitioners are calling on Parliament to reconsider the decision by central bank, which cited the banks for insolvency, to close down their banks, as part of a banking sector cleanup exercise.
The two filed separate petitions calling on Parliament to investigate what they consider to be a disregard to the rules of administrative justice guaranteed under Article 23 of the 1992 Constitution.
Dr Dufuor is asking Parliament to direct the restoration of their banking licenses and the remedy of the harms done to the shareholders’ property rights in the said banks as a result of the central bank’s action.
The parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of BoG and the Ghana Stock Exchange, is for the two to have their banking licenses restored.
Their call for a probe comes at a time when their respective cases are undergoing both civil and criminal trials in court
Mr Ayariga’s motion was challenged by Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, on the grounds that the matter was before court.
Speaker Bagbin, however, shot down the challenge and said the report of the committee’s work would be handled in a manner which would not affect court procedure.
The Speaker announcing the composition of the committee, cited the current Ghanaian constitution and several rulings from courts of Ghana, and similar from earlier Parliaments in Ghana, the United Kingdom, India and Canada; and the Standing Orders of the Parliament, justified his decision to admit the two petitions insisting it does not contravene the rules.
The Speaker ruled that the Member’s motions followed the procedure outlined in the Standing Orders of the House.
He also argued that Parliament has the authority to enquire into any matter deem to require the attention of the House, despite the matter being before court when it would in no way prejudice the decisions of the court .
He also explained that is only the constitution that limits the power of the House in such matters, and the inquiry in no way contravened the Sub Judice rule.
Speaker Bagbin named the members of the committee, directed it to sit during the recess, and submit its report, with recommendations to the plenary when it comes back.
The House, which has since adjourned sine die, is expected to reconvene on 18th May 2021.
The committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu, has Mr Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Majority Leader and MP for Efutu Constituency; Mr Joe Ghartey, MP for Esikado Ketan; Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah, MP for Okaikoi Central; Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, from the Majority Side; and Mr James Klutse Avedzi, Deputy Minority Leader and MP for Ketu North; Dr Cassiel Ato Forson, MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam Constituency; Mr Isaac Adongo, MP for Bolgatanga Central; and Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare, MP for Techiman North, on the Minority Side.