Parliament to drag Akufo-Addo to court for refusing to sign Witchcraft, Armed Forces bills

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has announced plans by Parliament to seek legal interpretation over President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s decision not to sign some bills passed by the House.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, last year, refused to sign the Criminal Offences Bill of 2022, the Witchcraft Bill, and the Armed Forces Bill of 2023.

President Akufo-Addo cited the financial implications of the bills as his reason for refusing to assent to them.

But the Speaker of Parliament says they will go to court to seek interpretation.

“I want to end up by assuring you that I will definitely be in touch with my good friend the president, his excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo even though I disagree with him in his refusal to assent to our bills and I have given notice that we will be in court about this matter,” he said.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, insists that President Akufo-Addo cannot determine the constitutionality of the Bills in question as it was the sole purview of the Supreme Court, for which reason any allegations of misuse should be contested by it (the Supreme Court) and no one else.

President Akufo-Addo specifically identified the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, sponsored by MP Francis-Xavier Sosu, as having financial burdens associated with replacing the death penalty with life imprisonment.

The Speaker of Parliament, in an official response to the president, stressed, “The determination of any unconstitutionality is the sole purview of the Supreme Court, not the President. Hence, if there were concerns about Parliament acting beyond its constitutional authority, i.e., acting ultra vires, the appropriate course of action would be an action before the Supreme Court, not an executive declaration of unconstitutionality.”

“Again, the constitutional discretion vested in the presiding officer of Parliament, as per Article 108 and subject to Article 296, suggests that any allegations of misuse of this discretion should be contested in a court of competent jurisdiction, rather than being pre-emptively adjudicated upon by the President.”

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