The Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has sided with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on why he cannot sign the Witchcraft and Ghana the Armed Forces Bill.
“I agree with the president on financial toll argument,” he told TV3’s Beatrice Adu in an interview on Wednesday, December 20.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave further reasons why he is unable to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment and the Ghana Armed Forces Bills.
Parliament passed the bills on Tuesday, July 25.
But in a letter to Parliament, he cited financial implications on the consolidated fund as one of the reasons for not signing the bills.
“Upon a thorough review of the relevant constitutional legislative frameworks specifically Article 108 of the Constitution and Section 100 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Act 921, it is evident that the bill is introduced as private member’s bills by the honourable member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu do not conform with the provisions of the Constitution.
“These bills which avoid the death penalty and criminalise the activities of witch doctors retain substantial financial obligations on the Consolidated Fund and other public funds of Ghana due to the projected cost related to imprisonment, sustenance and healthcare for those who will be convicted under the days when they become law.”
“Therefore, in light of this significant fiscal impact, these bills should not have been introduced with the fiscal impact analysis. Access to such an analysis precludes these bills from being properly classified as private member’s bills. The legislative power entrusted to parliament comes with responsibilities to ensure that all enacted laws comply with the constitutional provisions safeguarding the nation’s fiscal integrity and avoiding the principles of governance.”
“Mr Speaker, it is for the above reasons that I, in preserving the sanctity of the legislative process refuse to assent with yours. I take this opportunity to reiterate my support for the contents of the bills and my intention for them to be reintroduced in Parliament on my behalf in due course. Yours sincerely, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,” he stated.
The President raised constitutional matters regarding the Bill when he first informed Parliament of his inability to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2022.
In the letter he wrote to Parliament and read by the Speaker on Monday, December 4, President Akufo-Addo said “I am writing to you in reference to our meeting held on the 28th of November, 2023 at my office where we discussed the outstanding bills presented for assent namely; the Criminal Offenses Amendment Bill 2023, Criminal Offences Amendment number 2 Bill 2023, and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023.
During our conversation, I raised specific constitutional concerns regarding these bills related to Article 108 of the Constitution, particularly the nature of these bills which were introduced into Parliament as private members’ bills rather than being presented by me or on my behalf….”
“As I indicated the content of these bills have my support, but we need to ensure that they are enacted in line with established constitutional and legislative process. After thorough consideration and in light of the constitutional issue I pointed out during our meeting, I am unable to assent to these bills.
“The concerns raised are significant and have profound implications for the constitutional integrity of these legislative actions. Any legislation we pass must be in complete alignment with the provisions of our Constitution. I intend to have these bills reintroduced in Parliament on my behalf in due course.”