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17.01.2007 General News

I have no power to declare...

By (ghanaian-chronicle)
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PRESIDENT JOHN Agyekum Kufuor says anytime the speaker of parliament declares the Nkoranza North seat vacant, the party would not hesitate to put up an equally young person to fill the vacancy.

Responding to a question on replacing the Nkoranza North MP for his continued absence at the people's assembly in the Sunyani, the President said he has no power as President to declare a seat vacant in a constituency.

“The Constitution does not give the President the right to manage Parliament”.

He mentioned that even though he appoints Ministers to Parliament, parliament is independent of the presidency so if the Speaker so declares a vacancy in a constituency, then it becomes the work of the electoral Commission to handle.

“ I am waiting to hear something from the Speaker to the effect that the Nkoranza North seat is vacant”.

President Kufour noted that if such a thing happens, they have equally capable youths to stand for the vacant position. “We have a lot of youth to replace Amoateng”.

It would be recalled that the Committee on Privileges in their report to the House on the continued absence of the Nkoranza North MP observed that the Member for Nkoranza North, under Standing Order 15, sought leave of absence from the House from Mr. Speaker from l7 to 24 November 2005 and Mr. Speaker, under Standing Order 16, granted leave of absence to the Hon. Member before his departure to the USA, where he was subsequently arrested and put into custody and has since been facing trial on charges of unlawfully importing drugs into the United States of America.

It was also observed that the said Hon. Member had since been refused bail by the court trying him in the United States.

The report stated that the Member for Nkoranza North, Mr. Eric Amoateng, through his Solicitor, wrote to the Speaker explaining the cause of his continued absence from the House for over fifteen sitting days.

Hon. Amoateng has also hired the services of Mr. Dennis Adjei Brenyah as a Solicitor to handle his case before the court, and that the letter to the Speaker, according to Ghana's Mission in the United States, “is authentic and written under the instructions of the Hon. Eric Amoateng” who is currently in custody in the United States of America.

The reported further noted, “The Hon. Member for Nkoranza North, Mr. Eric Amoateng, cannot attend sittings of the House due to his transitory status in the United States and nature of the case made against him”.

The Hon. Member for Nkoranza North is currently in custody and has been refused bail because of his failure to demonstrate family and community ties in New York.

It said there is the need to allow the judicial process of adversarial contests in the United States to take its full course.