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Minority walks out of Parliament over Corporate Insolvency Bill

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman
LIBRARY PHOTO
LIBRARY PHOTO

The Minority in Parliament on Monday morning staged a walk out of the Chamber during the consideration of the Corporate Insolvency Bill, 2019.

Prior to the consideration of the Bill, the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka drew the Speaker's attention to the fact that the house lacked a quorum to be taking decisions on the amendments of the Bill.

He also referred the Speaker to Order 48 of the Standing Orders of Parliament which states that ”The presence of at least one-third of Parliament, besides the person presiding shall be necessary, shall be necessary to constitute a quorum of the House.

“Mr Speaker, I want to draw your attention that we could not have a quorum to take a decision to even sit. So I do not know even if you will take necessary steps, as slated in Order 48, to let us have a quorum or we would not have to continue because even the Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee is not here,” he said.

The MP for Asawasi in Kumasi explained that the House taking a decision was different from quorum.

He, however, acknowledged that the Speaker reserved the authority to suspend decision-taking while the House awaited for other members of the House, who were then said to be in their respective offices, to show up in the Chamber for consideration to proceed.

Condoning illegality

At a point during the consideration, the Minority Chief Whip stood up to draw the Speaker’s attention for the House to be careful the manner in which the Speaker was conducting the business, accusing the Speaker of “condoning an illegality.”

“We do not the quorum to take the decision and you are still carrying on. You are abusing the privilege of this House and you are making this House lawless Mr Speaker. What you are doing is wrong,” he said.

Being ignored persistently by the Speaker, the microphone of Mr Muntaka was at a point silenced but he pressed the bottom to vent out his frustration, and he subsequently walked out of the Chamber.

Colleague Minority MPs gradually started leaving the Chamber one-by-one.

Majority Leader

Reacting to the concerns raised, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, told the House that Article 104 (1) provided that when matters in Parliament came up for determination there should be at least one-half of the members present in the Chamber to vote.

“Mr Speaker, we are discussing the Bill. When we come to taking decisions we will know what to do” he said.

He later told the House that he had information that members of Parliament were in their offices and would leave for the Chamber in response to the bell that was being ranged.

“The bell will be ranged and it is not for two minutes but 10 minutes,” he stated.

Speaker

Allowing the consideration to continue uninterrupted, Prof Oquaye said while the bell was being ranged for legislators to proceed to the House, business would continue as usual, saying that “that is the order of this house.”

“Please, it is my business to ensure that there are no unnecessary incursions as to the smoothness of the business of the House during the legitimate period.

“All the laws I have seen made in this House were done within these numbers during consideration period,” he stated.