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General News of Sunday, 27 February 2022


Overruling of Ruling: Show me the constitutional provisions I breached - Joe Wise to Bagbin

Alban Bagbin and Joseph Osei-Owusu Alban Bagbin and Joseph Osei-Owusu

Joe Wise has responded to the Speaker of Parliament

He overruled the Speaker's ruling on a Minority motion

Joe Wise seeks to find out the provision he breached in the Constitution

Joseph Osei Owusu (Joe Wise), First Deputy Speaker, has dared Speaker Alban Bagbin to show him the constitutional provisions he breached in overruling his ruling into a Minority motion seeking a bi-partisan probe into the government’s COVID-19 expenditure.

Speaking on TV3’s midday news on Saturday, February 26, the Bekwai Member of Parliament said:

“The Speaker said my action was unconstitutional, illegal and offensive. I would have loved to see which constitutional provision the Speaker said I had breached or which law I have breached. I take a very serious view of the legal position, I may be wrong in my interpretation but I will never deliberately go against the legal rule and the legal principle.”

Joe Wise had earlier overruled an earlier decision taken by Alban Bagbin on the motion filed by the Minority that was seeking a probe into the Covid-19 spending.

In his overruling, Joe Wise said on Tuesday, February 22, that, “All the committees of the House including the Public Accounts Committee are bi-partisan, and the Public Accounts Committee is designed by nature to be chaired by members of the Minority.

“In all its form, the Public Accounts Committee, if it is minded to investigate anything related to the COVID-19 expenditure, fully sees to the authority and power to investigate that, particularly because all the accounting of it has been provided for in the budget which budget has been provided by the House and is before the committee.

“My view is that this motion ought not to have been admitted, and it’s improperly before the House.”

But, 'unhappy' Alban Bagbin said that the decision Joe Wise had taken in of dismissing his decision on the Minority's bi-partisan COVID-19 expenditure motion was illegal and offensive.

He noted among other things in Parliament on Wednesday, February 23, that:

“The penchant of the First Deputy Speaker to overrule my ruling is, to say the least, unconstitutional, illegal and offensive. Be that as it may, I shall not be taking any steps to overrule the decision of the 1st Deputy Speaker to dismiss the motion as moved by the Honorable ranking member of the Finance Committee.”

The Speaker further assured that the two of them will meet and find a way out in order to prevent this development from recurring.

But Joe Wise responded to Speaker’s flak against him saying, “On Wednesday, 23rd February, Mr. Speaker once again issued one such 'formal' communication. In the said formal communication, Mr Speaker purported to comment on the 'error' which, in his view, I committed when I permitted the Deputy Majority Leader to raise a preliminary objection to a Motion Mr Speaker had earlier admitted and which was advertised on the Order Paper for the 23rd of February.

“Mr Speaker’s complaint is that I should not have allowed the motion to be moved after same had been seconded but rather I should have allowed it to be moved before the motion he had earlier admitted was seconded, I have read that Mr Speaker said that he had directed and actually instructed me, to allow the Deputy Leader to move his motion before it was seconded. Whilst I do not doubt Mr Speaker’s statement, I must confess that I heard otherwise and I indeed so ruled, and stated that the objection is moved after secondment."

He continued: “But, Mr Speaker did not end it at pointing out my purported miscommunication or misapprehension of his 'order' rather, he continued to comment on what he says has become the penchant of the honourable First Deputy Speaker to overrule my rulings is, to say the least, 'unconstitutional, illegal and offensive.’

“This is where I find Mr Speaker’s ‘communication’ to the House most unfair and totally un-reflective of my conduct as the First Deputy Speaker in the 7th and 8th Parliament.

“Mr Speaker proceeded to cite as an example, my ruling on the motion by the Majority to declare the purported vote to reject the 2022 budget by 137 of the 275 Member House of Parliament as falling short of the number required to take a decision and, therefore, unconstitutional, null and void. In fact, in his statement from the Chair, subsequent to that ruling, he described my conduct as tantamount to insubordination."

The MP further stressed, “On that occasion, I characteristically elected not to comment on Mr Speaker’s statement in public in order not to create the impression that there’s tension between him and his Deputy.

“There is however no doubt that in putting the question when the record showed that there were less than half of all members of Parliament in the chamber Mr speaker had contravened Order 109(1)of the Standing Orders and more importantly Art 104(1) of the 1992 Constitution. The purported decision of the house was a nullity and I rightly so declared it.”