A renowned private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu says the First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu erred by counting himself as a Member of the House while presiding over parliamentary proceedings on Tuesday, November 30.
A headcount by the Clerk of Parliament showed that there were 137 Members of Parliament [only the Majority members] who were present in the House on the day in question, but the acting Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, said he was also present, making the total members in the House 138.
Subsequently, he agreed for a motion to be moved to overturn the rejection of the 2022 budget thrown out by the Minority.
Osei-Owusu argued that the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, erred in overseeing the rejection of the budget by the Minority since there was no clear majority in the House during the proceedings on Friday, November 26, 2021.
He rubbished the purported rejection of the budget and, through a voice vote, overturned the decision that dismissed the government's fiscal policy for 2022.
But this move, according to Martin Kpebu is a breach of parliamentary standing orders.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Citi TV on Saturday, Mr. Kpebu posited that the First Deputy Speaker erred by counting himself as an MP.
He argued that “Order 7 defines Speaker or Mr. Speaker to include a member presiding at a sitting. So it means that once the Honourable Member took the seat as the Member presiding, he was Mr. Speaker and Article 102 of the constitution clearly states that the Speaker shall not be counted as part of a quorum.”
“Having reflected on the constitution and the Standing Orders, I think my definite position is that he was wrong to have counted himself.”
The Minority side in Parliament had earlier thrown out the 2022 budget statement after the Majority Caucus staged a walkout.
The Minority had insisted that the 2022 budget in its current form was not in the best interest of Ghanaians and thus requested a revised budget.
Members of the Majority Caucus on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, also overturned the earlier decision by the Minority and approved the policy document.
A number of Ghanaians have lambasted their representatives in Parliament for subjecting the budget to such legal gymnastics.