Story: Yaw Takyi
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says he is unable to sign some crucial bills passed by Parliament into law due to certain constitutional concerns.
These include the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 and the Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023.
In July, Parliament passed the Armed Forces Bill which seeks to amend sections of Act 29 and the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) to replace the Death Penalty with life imprisonment.
The Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 also seeks to prohibit the act of declaring, accusing, naming, or labeling an individual as a witch, among other related matters. But in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament read to the House, the President argued that the bills sponsored by the NDC MP for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu must come from the Executive and not as a Private Members Bill.
“During over conversation, I raised specific constitutional concerns regarding these bills relating to Article 108 of the constitution, particularly the nature of these bills which were introduced to Parliament as Private Members Bills rather than being presented by the Executive on my behalf.
“I appreciate the opportunity to engage with you in a meaningful dialogue about these critical legislative matters. I value your insights on the subject. As I indicated, the contents of these bills have my support but we need to ensure that they are enacted in line with constitutional and legislative processes thus after thorough consideration, and in light of the constitutional issues I pointed out during our meeting, I am unable to assent to these bills,” Speaker Alban Bagbin read on behalf of President Akufo-Addo.
The President further explained that government will soon present bills on the same subjects before Parliament.
“The concerns raised are significant and have profound implications for the constitutional integrity of this 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. I thank you for your cooperation on this matter,” he added.
The update from the President comes barely a week after the Speaker of Parliament accused President Akufo-Addo of neglecting the bills.
While refuting the claims by the Speaker, the Presidency explained that President Akufo-Addo was fully aware of the constitutional mandate, which allows seven days for the President to review and give assent to any Bill presented to him.
In a press release signed by Jubilee House’s Communications Director, Eugene Arhin, the Presidency clarified that President Akufo-Addo was not ignoring 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?” portions of the statement signed by Mr. Arhin read.