Contrary to claims that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declined to assent to the Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, despite its passage in March this year, it has been established that the Bill officially got to him on Monday, 27th November 2023.
On Monday, 27th November 2023, a Minority Member of Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu on the floor of the House, accused the President of not assenting to the Bill despite its passage on the 29th March 2023.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, during the deliberations in Parliament also rebuked President Akufo-Addo over his silence on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill.
But in a press statement released by the Presidency on Tuesday, 28th November, President Akufo-Addo said the accusations levelled against him are “wholly inaccurate that the Bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention.”
According to the statement, the legislative measure aimed at amending the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), together with the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023 and National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, officially got to him “under cover of a letter dated 27th November 2023, with reference PS/CS/112/826.”
“President Akufo-Addo has not remained silent on the Bill. How could the Speaker of Parliament accuse the President of remaining silent on the Bill when it was officially presented to him on Monday, 27th November 2023, the same day the Speaker made the accusation?”
The statement said the Office of the President knew how important the Bill was to the state at the outset, “that the amendment is specifically designed to outlaw the roles of witch doctors or witch-finders, in addition to prohibiting the act of declaring, accusing, naming, or labelling an individual as a witch, alongside other related matters.”
According to the press statement, President Akufo-Addo is mindful of Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, which affords him seven days to review and give his assent to any Bill presented to him.
It added that, “In light of this constitutional provision, it is important to note that the President is still well within the legally stipulated timeframe to decide on the Bill.”
During this period, the release said, “the President may examine the bill thoroughly and, if necessary, convey any concerns or suggestions he might have regarding its contents to Parliament.”
The Office of the President assured the public that Bills, including this current Bill, the Criminal Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2023, are being attended to with the utmost respect for constitutional mandates and legislative processes.