Parliament was not served in Ezuame Mannan versus Attorney-General – Speaker
Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, the Speaker of Parliament on Thursday said he recently read in the dailies a case that was presided over by the Supreme Court of which a judgement was given in the Mannan versus the Attorney General and the Speaker of Parliament.
“The Speaker of Parliament had no knowledge about that suit and yet judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court, in which a section of a law we passed was struck out as unconstitutional.
“If the Speaker is a party to a suit, at least the Speaker should be served. There was no service on us. Maybe the Attorney-General assumed that responsibility without even consulting us,” Mr Bagbin said.
“And the Supreme Court proceeded to give some judgement striking a section of a law we passed; Section 43 of the Narcotic Control Commission Act, without hearing from us. I think something is amiss, and we have to rectify it,” he added.
The Supreme Court in a 4-3 majority decision on July 28, struck out Section 43 of Act 1019; stating that it was a violation of Article 106 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Bagbin made the remarks on the floor of the House in his response to a question by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tongu North.
The MP asked the Speaker what should be the status of Mr James Gyakye Quayson, MP for Assin North, whether he should be continuously marked absent and the implications.
Mr Ablakwa said in the past Mr Rockson-Nelson Etse Kwami Dafeamekpor, the MP for South Dayi raised the mater on the floor of the House and the Speaker did indicate that he would be consulting the Leadership of the House on what should be done, but since then they have not heard from the Speaker.
With regards to the Supreme Court ruling on the Mannan versus the Attorney-General and Parliament, Speaker Bagbin said it is not in all cases that Attorney-General was sufficiently empowered to represent Parliament.
“I will direct the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, who is the Majority Leader and Leader of the House to inform his colleague the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General about this matter,” he said.
“If there is any further need for further discussions, we are available to do so. But we must do something to close this gap. Get inputs from Parliament when there are matters before the courts having some impact or effects on what we do here. We should be heard,” the Speaker said.
Touching on the issue of Mr Quayson, Speaker Bagbin said he had no basis for taking a decision in the said matter.
He said because he had no records before him, and that he only hears and reads in the dailies, he could not take that as evidence.
He said he has been hearing people and reading from newspapers, but there was no communication from the other arm of government in-charge of the Judiciary.