Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader of Parliament, said the approval of the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of the Government, on Tuesday, November 30, is to set the records straight by the House.
He said at the time Parliament voted on November 26 to reject the Budget, the House lacked the legal and the constitutional capacity to take that decision.
He said based on Article 104 of the Constitution, which was fortified by Parliament’s Standing Order 109, what was done by the House on November 26 was in flagrant violation of the Standing Orders and the Constitution.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated this at a press conference after 137 Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Majority side voted to reinstate and approve the 2022 Budget and Economic Policy.
In all, there were 138 Majority MPs in the House including the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, MP for Bekwai, who presided.
However, the First Deputy Speaker did not part take in the voting because he was Presiding as the Speaker.
The Minority was absent from the Chamber at the time of voting.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said that was not the first time the House had undertaken such a procedure and recalled that a similar thing happened during Mr Edward Doe Adjaho’s days as the Speaker.
Quoting from a ruling by the Supreme Court, which was extracted in the Parliamentary Hansard, he read: “Indeed, this is not the first time the House is facing this problem, the Speaker should have followed precedents set by his predecessors when a similar case arose in the Sixth Parliament on the 22nd of December 2015, the then First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebow Barton Oduro, after reading Order 109:1 of the standing orders ruled that the whole voting process was an exercise in futility”.
That was akin to what the Majority did by voting to reinstate and approve the Budget, he said.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said according to Mr Adjaho, who understood the imperatives of their rules, statutes and the Constitution, there was no quorum.
The quorum to do business required one-third of the House to make a decision.
“So, at the time that the votes were taken (on November 26), this House lacked the legal, in fact, the Constitutional capacity to take the decision,” he said.
The Majority Leader said he entirely endorsed the position taken by the First Deputy Speaker that the House did not have the number constitutionally to take a decision at the time.
“So, compatriots what we have done is just to recognize the fact that what happened on that day was a complete violation of the Constitution, it cannot stand any constitutional test or even the test of our own Standing Orders.”
‘It is the reason why we said that it is a nullity, it is void and is of no effect,” Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said.
“So, for emphasis, the Budget of 2022 was never rejected by the house, today the records have been set straight.”