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General News Thu, 21 Nov 2002

Minority's concern referred to Privileges Committee

Speaker of Parliament, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey on Thursday said it was appropriate that the complaints of the Minority made to the house about a breach of privilege should be referred to the Committee of Privileges to deliberate on the matter and submit a report to the House.

He said the complaint and matters raised by the Minority of the abuse of the Rights, Privileges, Immunities and Contempt of Parliament and its Members are very serious and concern all members of the Honourable House as well as the Speaker.

The Speaker said this in a memorandum he read in Parliament in reaction to a submission made by the Minority on the subject, which he said was dated 08 November 2002 and received in his Office on 19 November 2002.

Mr Adjetey said he had taken a careful look at the relevant provisions of the Constitution; the Standing Orders of the House and the various references made in the submission but were faced with what his powers and duties in the case could be.

He said since the Speaker, under the Constitution was not a Member of Parliament; the decision as to whether there has been a breach of privilege was a matter for the House itself to take a decision after examining a report from its Committee of Privileges.

"I do not think that it would be right for the Speaker, on the basis only of a petition presented to him in his office to make a formal declaration as to whether in a particular case, there has been a breach of privilege', he added.

The Speaker said he has, therefore, accordingly asked that the matter should be formally raised before the House so that, exercising his powers under Standing Order Number 31, "the Speaker may direct the matter to be referred to the Committee of Privileges," on the basis of the report of which the House as a Whole can decide the matter.

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