Executive Director of the African Center for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), Dr Rasheed Draman has asserted that the Speaker of Parliament can go as far as issuing arrest orders as a measure to curb the incidence of ministers failing to honour parliamentary summons.
GhanaWeb monitored his submissions on Accra-based Joy News where Dr Draman averred that the Speaker had various options in dealing with the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu who failed to appear in Parliament on Monday to answer a question filed by a member of parliament.
“The minister could be cited for contempt of Parliament and in that case, the matter could be referred to the Privileges Committee.
The second weapon in the arsenal of the Right Honourable Speaker; he could cause the arrest of this minister, he could issue a warrant and the police will go look for the minister and arrest him and bring him to Parliament,” he revealed.
According to Order 103 of Parliament’s Standing Orders, “if a person fails to appear before the House or a Committee as ordered or when a person fails to produce documents ordered, except in so far as the production of the document is certified by either Mr Speaker or the National Security Council as being injurious to the public interest or prejudicial to the Security of the State, Mr Speaker shall have the power to issue a warrant to arrest the person and bring him before the House or the Committee. Such warrant shall be executed by a Police Officer.”
The failure of the Health Minister to show up in Parliament on Monday incurred the fury of the Speaker who ordered for Mr Agyeman Manu to present himself before the house within a space of two hours, failure of which he indicated will attract consequences.
According to the Speaker, the Minister’s reason for failing to honour the invitation was disrespectful.
At the time the Minister’s absence was announced, the Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh told the house that the Minister was engaged in an equally important assignment elsewhere.
The Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak who took an exception to the justification described the Minister’s conduct as unacceptable.