Alban Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, believes that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cannot rule on the validity of the Criminal Offences Amendment Bills 2023, 1 and 2, and the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023.
According to Mr Bagbin, the Supreme Court was only responsible for determining the validity of the bills, thus any complaints of misuse should be addressed by the Supreme Court and no one else.
In a letter, President Akufo-Addo highlighted financial consequences for the state’s consolidated fund as well as probable violations of Article 108 of the Constitution as reasons for his refusal.
He especially mentioned the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill, supported by MP Francis Xavier Sosu, as having financial costs related with substituting life imprisonment for the death penalty.
The Speaker of Parliament in an official response to the president stressed “The determination of any unconstitutionality is the sole purview of the Supreme Court, not the President. Hence, if there were concerns about Parliament acting beyond its constitutional authority, ie, acting ultra vires, the appropriate course of action would be an action before the Supreme Court, not an executive declaration of unconstitutionality.”
“Again, the constitutional discretion vested in the presiding officer of Parliament, as per Article 108 and subject to Article 296, suggests that any allegations of misuse of this discretion should be contested in a court of competent jurisdiction, rather than being pre-emptively adjudicated upon by the President.”