Akufo-Addo’s rejection of Witchcraft bill threatens future of Private Members’ Bills – Bagbin

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The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has once again criticised President Akufo-Addo’s stance on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, 1 and 2, and the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023, stating that it not only contradicts constitutional procedure but also raises concerns about the future of Private Members’ Bills.

The President, in a letter to Parliament, cited financial implications on the state’s consolidated fund and potential breaches of Article 108 of the Constitution as reasons for his refusal to assent to the three bills which had already been passed by Parliament.

He 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.

In an official statement responding to the President, Mr Bagbin said the president’s position on the bills implied an unrealistic standard where every bill would be said to have financial implications on the state.

“Article 106(8) clearly outlines the protocol for presidential refusal to assent, which involves specifying objections for Parliamentary reconsideration, not a blanket rejection of the bill.”

“This approach, as taken by the President, not only contradicts the constitutional procedure but also poses serious implications for the future of Private Members’ Bills, as it implies an unrealistic standard where virtually every bill could be construed as having financial implications,” the Speaker’s statement issued on Friday, December 29, stated.

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