The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has taken a swipe at the Minority Caucus in Parliament, saying the side is confused about the constitutional provisions that stipulate the numbers that constitute quorum for doing business and for taking a decision.
According to him, the decision taken by the House on Tuesday to overturn the previous decision rejecting the 2022 Budget and Economic Polity of the government was constitutional because the House had a quorum to take a decision.
Contributing to a motion by the Minority challenging the constitutionality of the decision of the House to approve the 2020 budget on Tuesday, the Minister argued that Articles 102 and 104 are distinguishable.
He noted that while Article 102 is on quorum for conducting business, 104 speaks of quorum for taking a decision, determined by the vote of the majority of members present and voting with at least half of all the members present.
“This is the distinction, and that is whereas in Article 102, the framers of the Constitution deliberately mentioned the persons presiding, for the purposes of conducting business, in Article 104, the framers of the Constitution deliberately omitted mentioning the person presiding,” he explained.
That, he said, is the law, hence Parliament on Tuesday was clothed with the authority to conduct business and take a decision. He insisted that 138 members were in the Chamber, enough to form quorum for business to be conducted and for quorum to start business.
Commenting on the controversial statement by Speaker Alban Bagbin that he is the second in command after the President, Mr Jinapor noted that Article 57 (2) of the Constitution states that the President takes precedence over all other persons in Ghana.
He said, “And in descending order, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chief Justice shall take precedence over all other persons in Ghana. In this Article 57 (2), the order is the President, the Vice-President the Speaker and the Chief Justice.”
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, who is also the MP for Damongo, noted that in Article 20, where it provides for succession, the framers of the Constitution talk about the President; when the President is absent, the Vice President and the Speaker and deliberately omitted the Chief Justice.
He said, on the principle of interpretation, the Chief Justice cannot be included in Article 20, stressing that this is a similar principle provided in Article 102 and 104.
The events of Tuesday, he said, therefore satisfied the constitutional provision because out of the 275 Members of Parliament, 138 were present and 137 voted to approve the budget.