The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, has warned of his readiness to refer the Minister of Transport to the Privileges Committee of Parliament if he continues to absent himself from the House to answer questions by members of the House on matters of national interest.
The Speaker said the failure of Kwaku Ofori Asiamah to appear in the House to answer nine questions being advertised in his name in yesterday’s Order Paper, in spite of the fact that he was made aware of them three weeks ago, was tantamount to breaching the privileges of the House.
In his view, the minister failed to provide cogent reasons why he would not be able to attend the House to answer questions.
“I am tempted to refer his conduct to the Privileges Committee, but because of the intervention of leadership, I will resist that temptation and will not refer him to Privileges Committee for today. “But the next conduct tantamount to this behaviour will be referred to the Privileges Committee. I will not accept his request that the questions be rescheduled for Thursday,” he said.
Addressing Parliament yesterday[June 21, 2022], Mr Bagbin referred the nine questions back to the Business Committee to reschedule them to an appropriate day for the minister to appear and answer them.
“We have plenty questions for today and, therefore, I will excuse him for today. But give him notice that this House will no longer entertain that kind of behaviour; if for any good reason, chief directors and acting chief directors, must be told in a very clear language that we are not going to accept any language as the minister is unavoidably absent,” he warned.
The Speaker’s warning came after he told the House that there were many questions that were to be answered by two key ministers—the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources.
When he subsequently invited the Transport Minister to take the seat to respond to the questions advertised in his name, the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, informed the House that leadership received correspondence from the minister that he was unavoidably absent and, therefore, was unable to appear and respond to the questions.