VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, item numbered 2 -- Correction of Votes and Proceedings and the Official Report. The Votes and Proceedings dated 18th May, 2018. Page 1…9 --
Mr Speaker, on page 9, item numbered 9: “The Rt Hon Speaker directed the Hon Minister responsible for Agriculture to apprise the House on the matter on Tuesday, 5th June, 2018.” Mr Speaker, this was not your only directive to the Hon Minister. You also directed that steps should be taken to withdraw the chemical from the market. So the Table Office should kindly take note and capture the full directive. This is not the only directive you gave. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I believe the Table Office has the full rendition, guided by the Hansard Department of your lucid direction on the matter. It was relative to the fact that there was a committee investigating the matter, to which the Hon Minister assured that the report would have been ready that night, and subsequent to it, you gave the directive. So it is just to get the Table Office intimated by Hon Ablakwa and the Hon Deputy Majority Leader to capture the exact sense of your direction - letter and spirit of the words that you used. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
And I so direct. Page 10?
Yes, Hon Ablakwa?
Mr Speaker, on page 10, the name of the nominee for Deputy Special Prosecutor is “Ms Cynthia Jane Naa-Koshie Lamptey” not “Naa-Korshie”. There is no “r” as she told the Appointments Committee. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Thank you, Hon Member. It is taken care of accordingly; the pronunciation is “Koshie” not “Korshie”. In Ga, that sounds very strange to our ears. Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Friday, 18th May, 2018 as corrected is hereby admitted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, the Official Report of Thursday, 17th May, 2018. Any corrections?
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Thursday, 17th May, 2018.]
Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister for Defence and I, the Minister for the Interior, regret the clashes which took place between elements of the Police and the Military in Tamale on 16th May, 2018 as well as previous ones which have occurred during the year. Following the 16th May, 2018 incident in Tamale, the two Hon Ministers convened a meeting of the top hierarchy of the Police and Military, at which a decision was made to dispatch a high powered delegation of the two institu- tions to hold separate meetings and a joint durbar with the rank and file of the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service in Tamale on 17 May, 2018. At the end of the interactions, the two institutions agreed to fully implement existing guidelines regarding the handling of personnel on disciplinary issues and breaches of the law. The adherence to this will forestall unfortunate incidents. A preliminary investigation has been carried out as a prelude to a five-member committee composed from the two institutions and the Attorney-General's Department, to conduct detailed investigations into the causes of the clashes and recommend any further interventions beyond existing guidelines and protocols. Mr Speaker, we want to assure you that any person found culpable after the investigation shall be dealt with according to law. Meanwhile, following the initial investigations, the two institutions agreed to hold regular joint durbars and other activities to enhance interaction and cooperation between the two institutions. Currently, full operational cooperation and collaboration has been restored in Tamale and the entire Northern Region, as pertains in the other regions of the country. The general public is therefore assured that there is full impetus towards their security and safety. The two institutions and their respective high commands are poised to preserve the sanctity of the cooperation achieved on a permanent basis. We wish at this juncture, to reiterate the confidence of the President of the
Hon Minister, thank you very much for this briefing. Hon Members, Order! The Hon Minority Leader would speak and the Hon Majority Leader would respond.
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to make a brief comment on the Statement ably made by the Hon Minister for the Interior, assuring the country that our peace and security is doubly assured. We will take his word, but Mr Speaker, in doing so, I must thank you personally. At least, today, I see the Hon Minister for the Interior and the Hon Minister for Defence in the House accompanied by their service chiefs. Mr Speaker, you are helping Parliament exercise a very important representative role as an organ of Government, but even more importantly, to let the service commanders and their men know that there is regulation in Ghana, and they must ensure to continuously work for the peace and security of the country. Mr Speaker, the incident happened in my constituency, Tamale, and I followed up. I flew to Tamale right after the request was made to this House, to personally satisfy myself with the issue on the ground. I was adequately informed that Air Commander A. A. Appiah, Colonel Frank Tei, Colonel Ike Amponsah, Commissioner of Police (COP) Agblor and COP Kofi Boakye were in the region to engage with the Regional Security Council and then thereof, there was a joint durbar of the Military and the Police, to assure the people of Tamale that they were up to the task. However, I must say that two nights ago, I drove in a taxi deliberately. I just picked a taxi around the Vitim Senior High School in order to appreciate what the Police and the Military were jointly doing to assure the people of Tamale. So, I drove through Fuo, turned at the regional administration, came through 998, where I have a youth group that sits there, in order that I would appreciate what was going on. Then I came to the Tamale Senior High School roundabout, and it is true that the Police and the Military are working together to safeguard the peace and security of the area. To the Hon Ministers, to express regret is not enough. We regret the incident. We would like them to give us an assurance of terminal keys to end any further incident involving the Military and the Police that would undermine the peace and security of the area, so regret is not enough. I take from his words again, that disciplinary measures would be administered subsequent to the findings of the Committee that they have put in place. Parliament would monitor closely the work of the Committee, the outcome of its work and your implementations with its recommendation. Mr Speaker, in concluding, the security agencies of our country are up to the task. I have no doubt in my mind that the two institutions in this country, who still uphold the value of discipline are the Military and the Ghana Police Service -- the Military in particular. We cannot allow for a sacrilege where they themselves would lead the process of lawlessness. We would be driving towards what the sociologists -- Mr Speaker, yourself a brilliant professor -- we do not want an anomie society in Ghana; a state of normlessness. So, the public confidence in the security agencies is important. Mr Speaker, I would further suggest, maybe, the oversight that you do in your own barracks as Police and Military, we should look for another militarised form of it, so that it is jointly done by the Military and the Police. Mr Speaker, we trust that there would be rapprochement, and we trust that the Hon Ministers would keep their eyes so that -- it is not just Tamale. The people of Ghana need to be assured that they would not wake up any other day to hear that those who should be architects in resolving and ensuring enforcement of the law and peace are themselves under- mining the peace. We would take the word of the Hon Ministers. Once again, let me thank them. At least, they are guiding this House to exercise an important role of oversight over the Executive, and the Military and the Police must be adequately informed that this House has some regulatory powers and would thus want to see peace in this country and not an undermine of it. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Minority Leader, thank you very much for your contri- bution. Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I would start by thanking the Hon Minister for the Interior and the Minister for Defence for the speedy manner in which they responded to the Speaker's directive on this issue. It is very commendable. Mr Speaker, indeed, the incident was worrying to all Ghanaians, not only people in Tamale. To have the Military and the Police actually fire guns at each other puts all of us at a worry, because they have been entrusted with the power and the authority to protect and ensure that there is law and order in this country. Mr Speaker, I believe the assurance that has been given by the Hon Ministers for the Interior and Defence is well taken, and we would urge that they should continue with whatever they are doing to arrest the situation to the satisfaction of the many Ghanaians out there who are worried about the situation. Mr Speaker, we have been told in the Statement that following the incident, the two institutions of security in this
Thank you very much, Hon Deputy Majority Leader. This is a very important part of democratic governance. Parliament is indeed, the House of the people -- all Ghanaians. I love to always say that when Parliament Sits, the whole of Ghana is sitting and every person, body or authority, is subject to the oversight authority of Parliament. We appreciate the fact that the Hon Ministers have responded fully and timeously, and that we have the full gamut of the top security personnel, both Military and the Police here in this Honourable House. We all appreciate this. It shows that our democracy and good governance continues to mature. The Honourable House is assured, and for that matter, Ghanaians are assured that there is security, law and order in their dear nation. We appreciate your presence and we trust that very soon, the assurance of investigation and punishment, where culpability is established, would be duly reported to this Honourable House, and for that matter the people of Ghana by Hon Ministers. Hon Members, item listed 3 -- Questions. Question numbered 346 which stands in the name of the Hon Member for Yilo Krobo, addressed to the Hon Minister for Sanitation and Water Resource. Yes, Hon Minister?
Yes, I did call Hon Adda and gave him the impression that he may proceed.
Hon Minister, you may wait. I will call you. [Laughter.]
ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS
MINISTRY OF SANITATION
AND WATER RESOURCES
Thank you, Mr Speaker, the Bukunor Water Project was constructed to serve Koforidua and Tafo. As a result, communities in the Yilo Krobo and Upper Manya Krobo areas were not included in the project, although the pipeline passes through a number of communities in the Yilo Krobo area. Mr Speaker, currently, Ghana Water Company Limited is laying pipelines to extend water to some communities in Upper Yilo and Manya Krobo from Kwasidiaka through Huhunya to serve Boti falls, Boti Centre, Boti Kornya, Osuboi No. 1, Osuboi No.2 and Tsutsonya to Asaasehene, Mensah Dawa, Dawa Korlewa, Kono Dawa, Akatawia and Otrokper. Mr Speaker, the Ghana Water Company Limited expects to complete the work by the end of 2018.
Mr Speaker, from the list of communities to benefit from the project, I see a slight variation from the original contract document, which spelt out thirty- three (33) communities. May I know from the Hon Minister whether there has been a revision to the original contract document?
Mr Speaker, all the contracts are being considered, and the 33 communities he mentioned are under review, and they would all be undertaken as and when funds are available. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, from the Answer given, the Hon Minister indicated that the GWCL is laying pipes. Mr Speaker, may I know from the Hon Minister whether he is aware that the laying of pipes ceased since October last year?
Mr Speaker, I am not aware of the details of what transpired in October last year.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member are you done?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
Thank you very much. Hon Members, Question numbered 366 -- Hon Member for Tamale North? Solution to Water Challenges facing Bug-Yili, Taha et cetera Communities *366. Mr Suhuyini Alhassan Sayibu asked the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources when the water challenges facing communities such as Bug-Yili, Taha, Gbalahi, Gbirma, Kulaa and Kpintaliga on the same stretch of road in the Tamale North Constituency would be solved.
Mr Speaker, the Tolon Water Treatment Plant supplies safe water to Tamale Township and its environs, including Teha and Gbalahi. However, Bug-Yili, Kulaa and Kpintaliga are not being served because they are located far apart from the Water Treatment Plant and are also not near the main water distribution lines. Mr Speaker, to address the water challenges facing the communities on the same stretch of road in the Tamale North Constituency, the Ministry, through GWCL, is reviewing the Phase II proposal from Messrs Bi-Water, who undertook the Phase I of the Tolon Water Treatment Plant in 2008. The purpose of Phase II will be to expand the existing water supply system to 135,000 m3/day from 45,000m3/day to meet the water demand up to year 2040. The expansion would commence as soon as Bi-Water completes the feasibility study within nine months. Mr Speaker, this notwithstanding, GWCL is undertakming feasibility studies for the drilling and mechanisation of boreholes in Kulaa, Kpintaliga and Bug- Yuli and hopes to complete this exercise within the next two months as a short term meansure.
Thank you very much, Hon Minister. Yes, Hon Member?
Thank you once again, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, would the Hon Minister be able to furnish the House with information in relation to the Gbalahi community, and if he knows when water is able to flow through their taps in the area. This is because I do know the area he says is covered by the Tolon Water Treatment Plant and that area has lived without water for many years now.
Thank you very much. Hon Minister?
Mr Speaker, the Tolon Water Treatment Plant is facing challenges with capacity in terms of catchment area water covered in the reservoir. Indeed, as we speak, there are even challenges with encroachment in that area. This has caused siltation and has not given us enough to be able to supply water to those communities. Mr Speaker, that is why we have embarked on the project to undertake the Phase II by Bi- Water International. And once the negotiations are completed, we would be able to determine when water would flow in those pipes. Mr Speaker, as we speak now, we cannot assure our Hon Colleague that the water is enough in the Tolon Water Treatment Plant to start flowing into those taps. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Yes, Hon Member, any further questions?
Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the Hon Minister when he says that feasibility studies are currently being undertaken to enable them drill mechanised boreholes in Kulaa, Kpintaliga and Bug-Yili. I just want to draw the Hon Minister's attention to the fact that currently, there is a mechanised borehole in Kpintaliga and in Bug-Yili. However, the salinity of the area does not make the water that is pumped from these mechanised boreholes user- friendly. So I just want to draw the Hon Minister's attention, and hope that in their feasibility studies, this would come up and other measures would be used to resolve the water crisis in the area. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, indeed, I am grateful to my Hon Colleague for the information he shared. I am aware of that and the problem he shared with the House is that the salinity is too high. The feasibility studies undertaken by the Ghana Water Company Limited is to go deeper than the average level of sixty (60) metres that we are currently drilling. It is to see if we could get deeper to a level where we could get non-saline water. That is why we are taking our time to do the feasibility studies. Mr Speaker, we are also using wider borehole drills for the drilling, not the five (5) inch that we currently use, that is what is giving us the problem with the salinity. We hope that when we go deeper than that, we would be able to get clear, non- contaminated, low-saline tap water, which we could use to support the area. In the meantime, I would take up his suggestion and discuss with the Ghana Water Company Limited to see if we could do some temporary treatment in terms of treating the salinity in the water for consumption by the community. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member, your last question.
I am most grateful, Mr Speaker. Finally, I would want to make a passionate appeal to the Hon Minister, to see if he would be able to assist with tanker services to some of these communities. As a Member of Parliament, I have been able to establish some water reservoirs in these communities. The problem is with the regular supply of tanker services to those communities since it is cost- prohibiting. So I would want to make an appeal, to see if the Ghana Water Company could take advantage of the water reservoirs that are in these communities to provide water, at least, twice a week to these communities until these plans that he has spoken of, are implemented. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, indeed, the matter has been discussed by the Senior Management of the Ghana Water Company and we are considering supply of water with tankers to the current reservoirs that exist in the area. Mr Speaker, the point is therefore well noted and, indeed, we would handle the matter. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
This brings us to the end of Question Time. Hon Minister, thank you very much for attending to the House and answering our Questions. You are respectfully discharged.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful to you for the opportunity to make a Stament on a very interesting, sensitive and important subject -- Sexual Orientation, and discuss health outcomes based on scientific empirical research established in relation to sexual orientation. Mr Speaker, I was awakened by recent information released by the National Aids Control Programme which indicated that new HIV infections had experienced an alarming 70.15 per cent increase in just one year. (Reference, myjoyonline.com). The report from the National Aids Commission actually stated unequivocally that the gay community recorded pre- valence rates that were close to three (3) times the average prevalence in Ghana. What is even more worrying is that men sleeping with men (msm) had admitted sleeping with the opposite sex as well. These men belong to the group called bisexuals thus also women who sleep with women (wsw) and sleep with men as well. This sexual practice of engaging in same sex intercourse and crossing over to sleep with the normal population was identified by the Ghana AIDS Commission as the cause of the astronomical (70.15 per cent) increase in the prevalence of HIV in the general population. Mr Speaker, the first official report on HIV (Human Immuno Deficiency Virus) was published by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) on June 5, 1981. The report detailed the cases of five young gay men who were hospitalised with serious infections. In 1982, the condition now called HIV was then called Gay related Immune Deficiency (GRID). It was not until July 1982, that the term Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was suggested to replace GRID. Mr Speaker, the history of HIV/AIDS as mentioned, identifies same sex relationships as the origin, and the recent reports by National Aids Commission about the high prevalence rate among the same sex community demands a careful look at the issue of homosexuality and its implications for the health status of the nation. Mr Speaker, in order not to be caught up in the belief that overall health outcomes could be ruined in the country by homosexuality alone, I took a look at other medical conditions we manage in the hospital setting that have been proven to be very common among homosexuals. Mr Speaker, research by Jagprect Chhatwal, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School shows that men who sleep with men are 100 times more likely to have anal cancer than men who sleep with women. HIV (+) gay and bisexual men have high risk of human papilloma virus that causes anal cancer. Clinical observations show that the next big crisis among gay men would be Anal Cancer. The same virus when transmitted to women cause cervical, vaginal and oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the mouth and throat). Mr Speaker, similar research done among lesbians (FSF), showed that lesbians had a higher risk for cervical cancer and what was even worse is that this group are not that responsive to treatment/protection with vaccine for HPV. The virus causing cervical cancer. Mr Speaker, again, clinical studies have concluded that people who engage in anal sex are at greater risk of haemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, incontinence (loss of control of bowel movement leading to diapers use) which are all infections. There are muscle tendons and blood-filled cushions that line the anal area. These structures help with bowel movement and the signaling of the urge to empty bowels. The blood filled cushions contain veins that swell up during straining at defecation to absorb the shock of the push and return to normal size after pressure is passed. Anal irritation during anal sex on a regular basis persistently causes the veins in the cushions with the anal area to swell irresistibly leading to he- morrhoids. Mr Speaker, what is even more interesting is that it is not only in the area of physical disease that homosexuals experience higher disease burden. In the area of psychiatric or mental disorders, homosexuality leads to greater risk as well. Medical studies show that depression affects LGBT people at higher rates than the heterosexual population, and LGBT youths are more likely than heterosexual students to report high levels of drug use and feelings of depression. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), LGBT youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide as their heterosexual peers. Mr Speaker, the medical narrative given so far shows a strong negative correlation between homosexuality and health outcomes. For both disease of the body and the mind, homosexuality plus bisexuality and transgender as well pose great danger to healthy bodies and minds. I know that there are cultural values mentioned in this country to speak to the case made against homosexuality. I am aware also of religious foundations given for the creation of a coalition against homosexuality. Mr Speaker, as a physician and a legislator, I choose to stick to the empirical, medical observations made about LGBT and medical outcomes, and consequently, intimate that any effort at determining the status of homosexuality within the framework of legislation should take serious consideration of the health outcomes that come with particular sexual orientation practice. A nation's wealth is in its health. Any practice that has established undesirable health outcomes equally has undesirable economic outcomes for the nation. Our sexual orientation as a country therefore is the surest compass indicating our march towards progress or our trip towards tragedy. Mr Speaker, with this, I am most grateful for the opportunity.
Thank you very much Hon Member. Hon Bedzrah and Hon Ntoso? External Pressure to Legalise the Practice of Homosexuality in Ghana
Mr Speaker, we thank you for this opportunity to make a Statement on recent discourse among Ghanaians on the practice of homosexuality in the country. Mr Speaker, recently, our President, H.E., Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo granted an interview to Al Jazeera, a Gulf News Channel, on a wide range of issues while on one of his official trips abroad. In that interview, one of the questions with a followed up response by His Excellency that struck and elicited mixed reactions from many Ghanaians was the one that borders on the acceptance of the practice of Lesbianism, Gayism, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) as human rights in Ghana. Just as the debates on the issue were about to subside, there were news reports that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mrs Theresa May, has, in her speech to the Commonwealth Heads of States, offered to assist countries including Ghana to rid its statutes of colonial laws that hinders respect for the practice of LGBT. Since then, critical discourses on our media landscape that had hitherto bordered on “bread and butter” have been reduced to LGBT, an abominable phenomenon that threatens the fundamental existence of the human race. Our religious organisations are not left out. The Presidency has also issued statements to that effect, and indeed, Mr Speaker, your good self has been reported several times on the matter. Mr Speaker, we must admit that this is not the first time the issue of LGBT was raised and our Presidents, both past and present, have been called upon to state the position of the State. But recent trajectories and continuous call on us as a State to indicate our position on the matter appears to us as a calculated attempt to promote, and perhaps, pressurise the Government of Ghana to accept what otherwise is alien and unacceptable to us as Ghanaians, and a sovereign nation determined to build a prosperous society. Mr Speaker, the position of Ghana on LGBT is common knowledge and is explicitly stated in our Statutes and one wonders why the question keeps popping up. We find such questions as an attempt to undermine our God-given ability to decipher what is right or what is wrong with us as Ghanaians, and to a large extent, as Africans. Mr Speaker, Chapter Six of the 1960 Criminal Code, as amended by the Criminal Code Act, 2003 criminalises “unnatural carnal knowledge”, which has been interpreted to mean “penile penetration of anything other than a vagina.” Section 104 states and I beg to quote; “whoever has unnatural carnal knowledge of (a) any person of the age of sixteen years or over without his consent shall be guilty of a first degree felony and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than twenty-five years; or (b) of any person of sixteen years or over with his consent is guilty of a misdemeanour; or (c) of any animal is guilty of a misdemeanour.” Mr Speaker, also, under our Ghanaian laws, there is no legal recognition of same sex couples. Marriage Ordinance of 1951 (CAP 127) and Marriage of Moham- medans Ordinance of 1907 (CAP 129) all concur that marriage should be between “man and wife” and a “bachelor and a spinster”. Juxtaposing these laws we have alluded to, it is obvious and crystal clear that there is no place for LGBT in our beloved country Ghana. Laws as passed by Parliament, the representative body of the people, are reflections of the value systems and aspirations of the people, and not otherwise. Abominable practices such as LGBT are not part of our cultural norms and value systems as Ghanaians and Africans. Ghanaian customs frown on gay and lesbian engagements or practices. Traditionally, people found to have engaged in such are banished from society. No religion in Ghana, be it Christian, Islamic or Traditional condones the act. LGBT offends the culture, morality and heritage of the entire people of Ghana and must not be condoned. It is viewed as an abomination, which is why our laws are what they are now. Mr Speaker, it is an undeniable fact that everyone in Ghana is entitled to his or her freedom, as guaranteed under our Constitution. But the mere fact that one has the zeal to do something does not make it right, unless it goes with the norms of the Ghanaian society. The right of citizens are not absolute. They are not! Chapter 12 (2) of the Constitution places a limitation on the exercise of rights viz. “ but subject to respect for the rights and freedom of others and for the public interest”. My Speaker, our value systems are not borne out for the sake of it but to guide and prevent the human race from falling prey to destructive ills of society. Homosexual acts are wrong and intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. In the West, the legalisation of homosexuality has already led to the destruction of the family unit. Mr Speaker, homosexual practice presents public health risks to our societies. There are well-documented, scientific and medical consequences of the practice. Sexually transmitted diseases are more common. Many homosexuals have multiple partners and that has increased death among them through HIV/ AIDS. According to a report by the U.S Center for Disease Control (CDC), MSM (men who have sex with men) are 40 times more likely to become infected with HIV/ AIDS. In Ghana, statistics from Ghana AIDS Commission showed that HIV/AIDs prevalent rate was seven per cent among female sex workers than that of men who have sex with men. Homosexuals stood at 17.5 per cent as at 2015. Mr Speaker, LGBT practice is destructive, and Ghanaians, particularly we their representatives, must never keep quiet. Our human and constitutional obligations as Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoin us to uphold and ensure that our laws positively transform and not deform our society. We appeal to H.E. the President of the Republic of Ghana not to allow any form of pressure, from either within or outside to introduce and or sponsor a Bill to Parliament for the legalisation of any indecent practice that is alien to our value system as Ghanaians.
We urge H.E. the President to be resolute and reject in whole all enticements, juicy promises and pressures from the West to accept this dehumanising practice. Mr Speaker, the forebears and founding fathers of our dear nation have great respect for the country's value systems, and under no circumstances should we betray their legacy, toil and trust, by allowing a rather backward practice into our society. We want to use this opportunity to assure our constituents that we will only support Bills that seek to promote the dignity of our culture, health and prosperity of humankind. We, however, urge people with LGBT tendencies to seek assistance from trained professionals and prayers from our revered pastors and imams among others. We cannot afford to compromise the future of our nation. The dynamism of any culture should positively impact on its existence and not to lead to its destruction. Mr Speaker, thank you once again for graciously granting me this opportunity.
Mr Speaker, it is right at this particular moment for the Statements to be made. Mr Speaker, in the first place, God created Adam and Eve. He did not create Eve and Eve or Adam and Adam — [Laughter.] So that is where we would have to start from. God in his own infinite wisdom, said that He would ensure that we would multiply and fill the earth. He did not say that He would create Eve and Eve to stay as they are.
Thank you very much, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute in support of the two Statements that have been made regarding the recent talk about homosexuality in our country. Mr Speaker, I just pray that the two Statements do not spark off any debate outside Parliament. And I just pray that it is not as a result of the answer given to the President when he visited the United Kingdom (UK) and the discussions he had with Mrs Theresa May when he was asked about his opinion about homosexuality. He gave an answer which was not forthright. That answer did not satisfy many Ghanaians. The President said that there was not enough social pressure on Government -- not just his Government but all other governments about the issue and that is true. Mr Speaker, I hope that after this, we do not have many people outside Parliament talking about it and giving the impression that we have started the debate and we would want it to transform into law. Mr Speaker, I believe that the act is unnatural; the situation where you see two human beings of the same sex engaging in sex is unacceptable. It is very well recognised in our laws that it is not something we should engage in. It is criminal for one to have unnatural carnal knowledge and that ends it. I just hope that one day, beyond this debate, the Rt Hon Speaker would not allow any other Statements on this matter. It is not part of our lives and we do not want to debate it. It is not a question of debate and we do not want to transform our discussion about it into any legal instrument that would give the impression that the public wants to have homo- sexuality in our country, among our young people. It is unacceptable and we cannot have it. Mr Speaker, the act itself is a danger to the health of people. According to the United States Family Life Institute in America, 80 per cent of people who engage in homosexuality face different kinds of sicknesses that one cannot imagine. It says that 80 per cent of people who engage in anal sex eat faecal material. It is indicated in there. According to the report, 80 per cent eat faecal material and this is unacceptable.
Mr Speaker, people are asking how? That tells us the revulsion, the unacceptability of it all. Another aspect of it is the urine sex in which they enjoy when urine is passing out and they put their mouths there; it is all part of it. That is the reason it must not be allowed and it must not be debated. [Interruption.] I am quoting from the United States Family Life Institute Research that has been done; it is widely reported and it can be seen on the internet. Mr Speaker, because of all these and many more health hazards involved in it, it must not be allowed to be practised in our country. It is something that is not Ghanaian and that is not African and I am very happy that many African leaders would just say forthrightly that they would not even entertain discussing it. Let us not entertain discussing it anymore on the floor of our Parliament. Mr Speaker, I thank you.
I thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the many views expressed on the floor by my respected Hon Colleagues. I would also want to thank the originators of the Statement for, at least, making it possible for this matter, as sensitive as it is, to find space on the floor of this House. The Rt. Hon Speaker of Parliament has also been bold in making known his views on homosexuality.
I will tell you why. It is because consistently, we do not even talk about homosexuality in our churches. How many men of God preach against homosexuality? Several Hon Members: You do not go to church.
Oh, I see. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, even if it is done, the level of consistency is such that one cannot say that there is a proactive campaign being waged against it. In our mosques, it cannot be said that this is done consistently. Mr Speaker, when we move to the length and breadth of Accra and to other cities, we do not see any campaign group rising up to educate people, that “Look, per our religious principles, culture among others, these are the dangers of this act”. Nobody has done that. It is a matter of fact. It is not enough to say we are merely against homo- sexuality. This is because the truth is that those who support this new approach of sexuality are proactive in their quest in making sure that their interests and their views are well seated. Mr Speaker, but those who are against -- no single media house in Ghana today can boldly and consistently talk against homosexuality. They cannot, and they have not, and I challenge them. It means that for those who are against it, their voices are not loud enough. So, the debate tilts against them. If today we say that we are against homosexuality, the question is, we have religious and moral education in our school curriculum, do we have any of our teachings in the primary school, junior high school, senior high school -- Is it one of the core subjects? Are there regular talks in our schools if we say we are really against homosexuality? Mr Speaker, I believe we should move away from the rhetorics and deal with the issue if we say we want to deal with it. It is a very simple matter. Mr Speaker, so the issue, as Mr President said, is that in the UK in the 1960s, nobody could dare talk about homosexuality. But somewhere in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, people began talking about it and it became a political issue.
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statements ably made by my Hon Colleagues. Mr Speaker, I would first of all thank and congratulate you for admitting these Statements. Mr Speaker, we know very well; we have heard, read and practised —— We all come from various cultural backgrounds with values in our societies. We know what it means for either two men to come together to have sex or two women to come together to have sex. It is unfortunate that we are now calling for something that had never been dreamt of. People think that even discussing it may not satisfy other people who have their own selfish interests. It is so because before the partitioning of Africa, we should note that we had our own ways of living. We were not rich, never had money, but we did not have people come into our homes to tell us what to do or what not to do. Yet, we lived up to expectation. If today, we have reached this level, but we give opportunity to people to court us,and to tell us that they would support us to go against the norms of our own society and people, kill our culture and go against the will of the Almighty Allah or the Almighty God, then I just wonder. Mr Speaker, especially, the issue of two men having sex should be looked at very carefully because we have a problem of fistula, which normally comes up when two men have sex. We have this big problem, and we have only one hospital in Ghana that is in the Central Region which takes care of fistula and it is very expensive to repair, even when a woman has a fistula case. This is not to talk of us giving the opportunity to even listen --- I do not want to even listen to it because I do not know what we are trying to put across in this sense. Are we then trying to say that we do not have any legacy to leave? This is because if two men have sex or two women have sex, then it would mean that there would not be reproduction. So we would not have anything to fight for or leave behind. We would not have generations to come; so why would we say “in 30, 50 or 100 years”? There is no need for that. We do not know that we are terminating the very fact that we would be in existence years to come. Mr Speaker, it is very horrible and not acceptable. In this very House, we should be the first to come out to put it right to anybody who comes out with this
Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs? In the process, the Hon Second Deputy Speaker would take the Chair.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to contribute to this Statement. I congratulate the Hon Members who made the Statement. -- [MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
Hon Member, continue.
Mr Speaker, at the end of the day, I believe it is Parliament that would pronounce on this matter. So it is good that it has come before us and we are discussing it. Mr Speaker, my contribution has to do with a misconception about the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mrs Theresa May, in a speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), where she said that she would assist countries to get rid of many legislations that are against gay and homosexual rights. Mr Speaker, I want to say on authority that His Excellency the President met with Mrs May on three occasions. The first was during the meeting itself; that is the CHOGM meeting, the second was at the official reception and the third time was during the retreat. There was nowhere, during any of the meetings, that this subject was touched on. It was not broached at all. I was quite surprised to find in the media that she had made such a statement. Mr Speaker, this is because I was there in all the meetings in which His Excellency the President participated, yet this never happened. I am not too sure when it was said -- [Interruption.] It was not at the CHOGM meeting -- The Presidents had a meeting but it was not said there.
Hon Members, this is a Statement. It is not a Motion and so there shall be no debates. Hon Minister, please go on.
The President had stated categorically that it would not be under his tenure that any such approval by government would happen. The President said this. Therefore, let us not misquote anything that he has said. Mr Speaker, let me also say once again that if this happened, then it was not in a meeting that we were present. Mr Speaker, that is all that I want to clarify. Thank you for the opportunity.
Usually, the first point to start from is on a first come and first served basis, but the way you all rose together makes it difficult for me to identify who stood up first. “ladies first” is old school because there is equality now. I would recognise Hon Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah.
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement on the floor, and in doing so -
Hon Minister, you have not yet caught my eye --
Mr Speaker, thank you, for giving me the opportunity to also make my contribution on the Statement on homosexuality. Mr Speaker, in my opinion, we do not even need to continue discussing this issue in the sense that, just like my Hon Colleague, Alhaji Rasheed Pelpuo earlier mentioned from the religious perspective, in Islam, it is clearly stated in the Holy Quran, that during that past generation, like the generation of the great time lost where they engaged in homosexuality and despite several warnings from Allah, they continued practising it -- There is a verse in the Quran that states; Wa Aalihee saafila haa. Allah commanded angel Gabriel to go there and turn that portion of the earth upside down, and that happened exactly. Mr Speaker, in my point of view, if we engage in this homosexuality, there are certain calamities that would always befall us, and not until we discard it, we would continue to experience those calamities. So I believe it is about time we distanced ourselves from the subject matter. Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.
Hon Members, I got guidance from the Leadership of the House, and my attention has been drawn to some more urgent Business to be transacted. I am told to take one contribution from each side of the political divide. So, I would be taking the Hon Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development and also plead the front benchers to allow a back bencher to say a few words on this matter. So, Hon Minister, it is your turn.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. Mr Speaker, I say it is subjective, but in terms of this, researches have been done and homosexuality is more pronounced in the advanced countries. When you check Germany, it is about 87
Hon Minister, could you kindly give us your source?
All right. Mr Speaker, I would do so. This is coming from the Pew Research Centre in Canada.
What did you say?
Mr Speaker, I said “The Pew Research Centre” -- P-E-W. Mr Speaker, this is strange in countries especially in emerging continents like Africa. We do not know so much about homosexuality. It is very dangerous because Africa is now growing; we are now thinking of developing our continent. If we introduce this matter in Africa, and especially Ghana, and by the time we realise, the energetic, strong men who are supposed to help move the country forward would rather end up in a very bad state. Mr Speaker, let us be honest; even in the Bible in verses 26 and 27 of Romans chapter 1, it is told that women would have unnatural relations with other women just like the men would also have unnatural So, what is better than this? Mr Speaker, and for a man -- It is a serious matter -- [Interruption.] This sort of homosexuality happened during the Al Jahiliyya period where a woman could marry a woman but not now; we have moved on. Mr Speaker, I can quote from the Bible and from the Quran where, Allah created man, and in making life very comfortable for the man, he then created the woman. And when the serpent tried to convince Adam to go for the apple and he did not know what was going on, the woman told him, “go for it”. At that time, he was naked. That was the beginning of life, but when he went in to take the --
Hon Minister, your Hon Colleague is on his feet. Yes, are you raising a point of order on his understanding?
Mr Speaker, I believe my Hon Friend is misleading the House. This is because,
Mr Speaker, even today's apple, when a person takes it, the taste is different, let alone hypothetically, getting the actual apple. What is his problem here? [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, I rose because we are in the fasting period and no Muslim would want to even go near homosexuality. There is a jargon; asie ho in Akan.
Hon Minister -- [Uproar.]
Mr Speaker, I am trying to tell you that this is “under canoe”. [Laughter.] This is because, if one is under a canoe, his head cannot come above the water. Mr Speaker, going into homosexuality is a very dangerous course, and I am trying to advise people to stay away from homosexuality. Mr Speaker, God has given us everything, but people would want to experiment. Let them experiment but not in Ghana. It would be good for them but right now, we are growing. We would want to develop our nation for generations to come. Our children's children must come and enjoy. If they decide when we are gone, Ghana would have been developed. Mr Speaker, some would say the future is now, but the future is determined based on the good legacy one leaves behind. And the good legacy we could leave is for us to imitate Adam and Eve. We could have considered that when Adam was blind, but when his eyes opened, today, he has told us that we must get connected by the opposite sex not by similar sex. This is because the idea of -- I am not against them anyway. Mr Speaker, people go into lesbianism or homosexuality but that should not come to Ghana. Mr Speaker, on this note, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity.
The final --
Mr Speaker, I would want to thank you and the Hon Members who made the Statement for bringing this issue to the floor of the House. If there had been any occasion that I had been proud of our Speaker, it was when he stated his position on this gayism and lesbianism topic. He has been very emphatic, and I am happy that almost everybody on this floor is also condemning that act. This gives an indication that if there ever is an occasion to bring a Bill to this House, overwhelmingly, we would all reject any attempt to allow this act in this country. Mr Speaker, the British Prime Minister said and it has been reported widely on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other international portals that Prime Minister Theresa May said that, she deeply regrets Britain's historical legacy of anti-gay laws across the Common-
Thank you very much Hon Member. Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip, do you want to comment on the Statement?
Mr Speaker, rightly so, if you would permit me briefly.
Please, you may go on.
Thank you very much Mr Speaker. Having heard what my Hon Colleagues have said, I cannot but agree with most of the comments that have already been made. I would like to draw our attention to the fact that as much as possible, we must not allow our compatriots in Europe and America to make those comments in gatherings where we do not respond. This is because, if our heads of States represent us and the Europeans and Americans are also represented by their leaders and they would have the courage to stand before heads of States and make those comments, it is our expectation that, we get our head of State to also represent us by standing up right there to tell them that this is the least of our priorities. Mr Speaker, we may be taking it lightly. The major challenge is that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that it is not a right issue. It is a serious danger to public health and there is no doubt about that. Just as people who deal in drugs like cocaine and heroin are social problems and health issues, and just as those who deal with Indian hemp among others are social issues, so is homosexuality. We should not treat it with kid gloves. Mr Speaker, as my Hon Colleague from Madina said, show me one group of animals that practise same sex. We are told that science says that we are the highest category of animals. Because God has given us the wisdom to think and differentiate between left and right. Even those that could not really differentiate between their left and right are not doing it. So how can we ask those who have their heads on their necks to be doing it, and saying it is their right? Well, it is the right of the thief to also steal; it is the right of the one who wants to deal in drugs, to sniff cocaine and heroin, it is the right of the one who wants to murder to also murder. Why are we making it a problem? This is because, apart from one doing it on one's own, it has a secondary effect on the society that all of us belong to. Mr Speaker, efforts should be made to portray the effects after some years. This is because, when people are actively in it, they can easily boast about it and they can go around throwing their weights about saying that it is a normal way of living. When the effect of it starts to dawn on them, then the ailments and all the challenges begin to unfold, then they go into hiding. So people do not really see the tail end of what they say is normal. People think that the time of its rosiness is what is shown as being normal. Mr Speaker, even the homosexuals have a newspaper editions in New York, which they call the New York Blade. In one of their newspapers there was a report at their national conference about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), which indicated that gay men are in the highest risks of groups for several of the most serious diseases. This is from their own newspaper. They have admitted that truly, it is one of the major sources of STDs. If they themselves have even admitted, yet they go around trying to lobby -- With the greatest respect to the United Kingdom, I thought that it was an insult for Theresa May to even stand there and tell us that they are willing to assist us if we want assistance. Why are they not assisting us to pass laws that would help us to deal with our poverty and illicit financial flow, which many of the Europeans and American countries are involved in, and are stealing our resources on our blind side? Why do they not help us to prevent those ones? This is because, those are things that would give us resources to come out of our major challenges. Mr Speaker, how does this affect the average African? It does not affect the average African in any way. Those who are doing it are hiding. Nobody has chased anybody in his corner to beat or kill because he is practising this. But once they muster courage to come out publicly, they offend the laws and have to be dealt with. It is just like people who sniff cocaine. If they are doing it in hiding and nobody knows, no Police would arrest them. But once they are seen publicly, they must be dealt with. So I agree with what Mr Speaker said. The portion that I disagreed with is where he said that he would resign. Mr Speaker, stay so that those of us who are thinking right would stay together and fight and throw it out. That is what we would do and not to resign and go. This is because, if all the right thinking ones should resign and go, with the greatest respect, and leave the others to stay, then they would pass it. I am very confident that as we receive statements from the Office of the President and the others may not even be started, let alone for it to be necessary for it to be
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, are you yielding to the Whip? I hope you are not running away from the subject matter.
Mr Speaker, definitely not. I was pulled into the debate when Hon Hajia Laadi Ayamba made the presentation, and we had the platform to meet some of our LGBT people in Ghana, and she has --
I want what you said to be on record, so that we know your position on the subject matter. Now the Whip can take over.
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the many voices that condemned homosexuality in this country. Mr Speaker, sometimes it beats my imagination, that in the midst of all these beautiful ladies around us, an able-bodied man in his right thinking mind would say we wants to have sex with a colleague man. I would not want to even mention a name, because it does not make sense to me.
I do not want to say they have mental problems, because we see a lot of mad men and women on our streets and they are not
Hon Deputy Whip, at least be parliamentary with your words.
Thank you Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I see a lot of people, excuse my language, those people call mad people on our roads who are mentally challenged. They do not go for their colleague men to have sex with them, and for that matter if you say it is a mental problem, I think it is not unparliamentary. I think that it is a spiritual problem -- [Laughter] -- We need to pray for such individuals. They need serious prayers. Mr Speaker, they need deliverance, because if you tell me that it is your right to have sex with a man, what kind of right is that? The right to have sex in the anus? Mr Speaker, I do not get it. That cannot be a right. So, those of you who advocate human rights, I do not think this homosexuality is part of the human rights that we should advocate for. We all condemn it. Like they said, there is no religion in this country that supports homosexuality. It has nothing to do with aid. It has nothing to do with the support. Even the laws of this country do not support homosexuality, and we must all condemn it. Mr Speaker, one other thing I have realised is that Africans could marry more than two or three wives. These same people said if we marry more than one or two, it is evil. If you marry more than one, it is evil, it is criminal, so we should go for one man one wife. We decided that we would put rings on our fingers, showing that at least we are married to one woman. Today, they are telling us that we should leave the women and go and take men -- [Laughter] -- It does not make sense. We all know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are Christians, and we condemn it and we must not encourage it. Mr Speaker, to end, I would also like to appeal to Leadership. For every Leader, it is your responsibility to be honest and speak the truth. Sometimes in our quest to convince people on wrong footing, we get a whole leader mounting a political platform to say homosexuality is legalised in Ghana. Mr Speaker, if you say that somebody in my village, who sees you as a role model would think that you are telling the truth. For all you know, just because you want to make some propaganda, you say such things, but it does not help.
Thank you very much Hon Deputy Whip. If this is an issue in Africa at all, then it is no issue. We are pro-life, and we know the purpose of creation. We would not stand against God, and we would not be misled once more by those who believe they are civilised. The future of the world belongs to Africa. We would not be misled again. So this is the strongest indication from the House, and if need be, we may move a Motion one day and resolve to give direction to the country. This is a matter that people are trying to force on us. We are no longer the small boys and girls of any country, and so we would not take it. I would commend the maker of the Statement, and we are looking forward to Leadership, if need be, for us to come to the House to debate it and resolve to give a clear indication to everybody that Ghana would not compromise its stand against homo- sexuality, lesbianism, gayism et cetera. Please, I think in the meantime, I also commend the maker of the Statement. Hon Members, Statement time is ended, and we would now move to Commence- ment of Public Business. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, if we could lay one paper which stands in the name of the Hon Majority Leader, and I would seek permission to do so on his behalf. Item numbered 5.
Item numbered 5 on the Order Paper, Presentation of Papers. Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we can take item numbered 6, on the Order Paper which is a Motion. Again, with your permission, your Hon Colleague, the First Deputy Speaker is currently out of the jurisdiction. Being the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, I seek your permission to move Motions 6 and 7 on his behalf. Thank you.
Yes, Hon Minority Chief Whip, your Hon Colleague has requested for my permission to move a Motion. Do you have anything against that?
Mr Speaker, the Chairman is not around and she is the Vice- Chairperson of the Appointments Committee, except to say that when we were vetting the lady, she was not there. So, I do not know how she is going to do it. Mr Speaker, however, since the Report is to be read, it is hoped that she is capable of doing that on behalf of the Chairman. Thank you very much.
Hon Members, item numbered 6 on the Order Paper -- Motion. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, item numbered 7 on the Order Paper. Again, I ask your permission to move it on behalf of the First Deputy Speaker.
Hon Members, item numbered 7 on the Order Paper. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader? Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Ms Cynthia Jane Naa-Koshie Lamptey as Deputy Special Prosecutor
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Appointments Committee on H. E. the President's nomination of Ms. Cynthia Jane Naa-Koshie Lamptey for appointment as Deputy Special Prose- cutor. Mr Speaker, in doing so, I present the Committee's Report. Introduction His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, exercising his due prerogative, communicated to Parliament on Thursday, 26th April, 2018 the nomination of Ms Cynthia Jane Naa- Koshie Lamptey as Deputy Special Prosecutor by the Attorney General. This is pursuant to section 16 (2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) which states and I beg to quote: “The Attorney-General shall nominate a person qualified for appointment as Deputy Special Prosecutor by the President, subject to the approval of the majority of all the Members of Parliament”.
Anyone to second the Motion?
-- rose --
Sorry. Yes, Hon Member for Effutu?
Mr Speaker, on page 3 of the Report, paragraph 5.2, on line 2 --
Hon Member, what are you doing?
Mr Speaker, with respect, there is a fundamental error -- [Interruption.]
It has not yet been seconded. So any seconder?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I beg to second the Motion. We went through the vetting and questions were asked of the nominee for Deputy Special Prosecutor. Some of the answers have been captured in the Report, except to say frankly that some of the questions were not answered to our satisfaction. Mr Speaker, in all, I would say that looking at her rich experience, she may be a very good person to assist the Special Prosecutor to carry out the mandate that we all hope would help bring value to our country and reduce corruption drastically, so that wherever it happens they would be courageous to deal with it in a way that the law allows. Mr Speaker, with this, I second the Motion. Question proposed.
Let me now give opportunity to the Hon Member for Effutu.
Mr Speaker, I apologise for coming in late on my first rising. Mr Speaker, on page 3, paragraph 5.2, line 2, I get the impression that it is “Acting Director of Public Prosecution.” That is the error I would want to draw the attention of my respected Deputy Majority Leader to consider same. Mr Speaker, in commenting on this Report --
Sorry, I did not get the error. What is it?
Mr Speaker, the error is, ‘… as Acting Deputy Public Prosecutor”. It should rather read: ‘Acting Director of Public Prosecutions'. Mr Speaker, since my Hon Colleague has some other corrections, we plead with you to —
Please, it is your turn.
Very well, I am grateful. Mr Speaker — 1. 17 p. m.
When he catches my eye, he would also draw our attention to those errors.
Very well. Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, permit me to make some few comments. Mr Speaker, the essence of the establishment of this office is to deal with issues of corruption and ensure that the public purse is protected, and that some discipline is brought to bear on the public service when it comes to the handling of public finances, as well as measuring the conduct of public officers in the discharge of their duties. Mr Speaker, when the law was first enacted by this House, some were of the view that the State could use this to hound them. But Mr Speaker, the provisions of the Act are such that if the Special Prosecutor and his office complies with the law, all of us would have confidence in our institutions and an institution such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Mr Speaker, yesterday, the learned High Court Judge, Mensah Datsa, in a ruling in a matter involving Dr Opuni and the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO), used the occasion to comment about the conduct of EOCO not respecting their own laws, thereby leading to unnecessary Media interpretations of their conduct. I therefore rely on her position to urge the Deputy Special Prosecutor and her office to ensure that the very office they are going to occupy and to use to enforce laws, they should discharge their duties in a manner that would give confidence to the people of this country. Mr Speaker, when it comes to issues of property rights of citizens, I am one person who would never want to compromise. This is because article 18 of the Constitution itself is clear, and Mr Speaker, with your special leave, I would like to read for the avoidance of doubt. Mr Speaker, article 18 reads—
Hon Member, Mr Speaker has mno special leave, Mr Speaker has leave only. -- [Laughter] --
Mr Speaker, semantics.
No, there is distinction like that.
Mr Speaker, with your leave --[Interruption.]
“(1) Every person has the right to own property either alone or in association with others. (2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home, property, correspondence or communication except in accordance with law and as may be necessary in a free and democratic society for public safety or the economic well- being of the country, for the protection of health or morals, for the prevention of disorder or crime or for the protection of the rights or freedoms of others”. So Mr Speaker, to the Special Prosecutor and his deputies, that office must ensure that in enforcing the law and in discharging their duties thereof, they respect this Constitution. It should not be that in the name of prosecution, assets
Yes, Hon Dr Rashid Pelpuo?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we listened to the nominee and read through the Report of her vetting and I have come to a firm conclusion that this nominee is fully qualified for this job. Qualification first of all, in accordance with the Constitution, on who becomes a deputy to the Special Prosecutor. She has all those qualifications and if you look at her academic records, you would also find that she has the kind of background that would enable her to function very well as a Deputy Special Prosecutor. The surprising thing I noticed however, was when she was asked about whether she was aware of her nomination, she said she just heard it on radio just like any other person. And I find it to be strange, because for such a high profile nomination, it is only proper that the nominee is first of all informed and his or her opinion sought before an appointment like this is announced. Supposing she was not prepared for such a job, that would have been a big embarrassment to the President. So, it is important that going forward, we sound people, who are to take up such huge responsibilities and get their consent and cooperation before announcements are made about them. Mr Speaker, her integrity is impeccable from what she has said herself, and it is not something anybody could doubt. She said that working with the Special Prosecutor is not a problem because, many people were afraid that Mr Martin Amidu, being such a person as he is; what people call ‘no nonsense', and others say ‘very principled' and not ‘very subject to malleability', she said that she has worked with him before, and that it is easy to work with him and it would be nice working with him. It is very important to understand that to secure that job, the Special Prosecutor is your boss and to work under him as a subordinate, she has demonstrated that she could do that. Mr Speaker, one of the areas that surprised me was when she was asked whether she would be able to really do the job and she said, she would be able to do it, and that she would do it without regard to whoever the person was. She cited an example of the fact that she secured a conviction of a Judge and a Court Registrar to demonstrate her uprightness, her commitment to her duty and the fact that she could fight corruption wherever she finds it. Mr Speaker, that is really very impressive to me. But I have one advice to the Deputy Special Prosecutor. In this country, we have -- the public, through the social media and through other media sources can find a person guilty and then the person's reputation or name would be damaged simply by talking to radio stations or other media houses. Mr Speaker, I would advise that she and her boss avoid the temptation of discussing individuals who are alleged to have committed crimes on radio, television and other media houses. That would help a lot in her job. This is because, once their opinion is already known through an interview or by any of these sources, they can no longer take themselves away from a certain line of bias which would characterise their rulings. As prosecutors, we expect that they would bring a new breath of life in our approach to our general prosecution. Our idea is to fight corruption wherever it emerges and make it a high risk activity wherever we find it. We also need to ensure that Ghana does not have its resources leaked through private hands or passing through fingers that cannot be held together. Her job is very important and I would want her to understand that the position is one that every Ghanaian is monitoring. It is for the first time going to be performed in the body politic of Ghana. Her position is critical, and her being a woman is another example of how very elegant our women can be when given such positions. She should demonstrate it in a way that would be of high value and standard to
Hon Minister for Works and Housing?
Thank you Mr Speaker. By my training, I have come to the conclusion that nobody should be worried at all about any office where evidence is gathered, put in a docket and the individual would go to court to justify why a citizen of this land should be sentenced to prison or whatever. When this whole law was passed that we should have a Special Public Prosecutor, I was of the view that it should not send panic to any quarter. At the end of the day, the Office of the Special Prosecutor would not lower the standards of proving criminal guilt, which is proof beyond reasonable doubt. The terms of the Constitution would not be rewritten for the sake of anybody. So when this dear lady appeared before us, a woman with vast experience in prosecution, the question was posed whether she has ever given exculpatory evidence to a defence counsel in a case in which she was prosecuting somebody. Mr Speaker, that question was a bit tough. This is because, we have this idea that even if you are prosecuting somebody, but the docket you have has pieces of evidence, exculpatory of the
accused, you should hide it. So we pressed her to make a concession that it is necessary --
Hon Minister, did you say that we have this practice?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
That they should hide evidence?
They do, but not this House. Those who assemble evidence to prosecute people, with respect, I correct myself that it is not this House. Should we call them the prosecutors? Those who are not trained are the Police and the trained ones who are even individuals with legal education -- Is it possible to say that somebody is being prosecuted but you have evidence that is consistent with his innocence and would put it before the defence counsel and the court? Ms Cynthia Lamptey of Ga extraction made the point that in her entire career, 30 years running, she has never prosecuted a man, that by the evidence assembled was innocent. This is how the sanity of the justice delivery system would be secured. Whatever the situation, no matter how political one thinks a case is. If a man should not be prosecuted, one should not do it for political reasons. Those of us who have had some training at the bar believe that, that is how a nation is developed. One should not say that for whatever reason, one wants to have a political prosecution. There is nothing like political prosecution. We do criminal prosecutions when we are persuaded that the evidence assembled in the docket would be good enough to show that the man should be dealt with in accordance with the law. So I was excited in that dimension that Ms Lamptey said she would do what is right and give the devil its due. That is very good for our justice delivery system. There was an issue which I felt was important, as to how she would have good professional and working relationship with her boss. This is because, I felt that given the posture of her boss, from some perspective he is such a strong character. How would she feel? Would she not be dwarfed or subjected to all kinds of inferior arrangements? She said that she had worked with Hon Martin Amidu for a long time and one thing that she loves about him is that he is a hardworking man. It is a good reason that she is of the view that she can work with him. One thing which is also gaining currency in this country, which we should all rejoice about is how we are giving space to our women to function. I heared arguments to the effect that we should even give a quota system to women in all manner of employment. Some of us hold contrary views that quota systems would not help. However, let us promote meritocracy. If a woman merits an office, the nation should be good enough to give the office to her. I cannot see that we would hold a beauty contest and say that it is the corporeal frame of a woman that entitles her to sit in a good office. It is the capacity of her mind. If a woman has the mental capacity -- some of them have it even more than men. We would not practice any kind of gender fight and say that women should not sit in high offices even if they could deliver. So I am particularly excited that a woman would be approved by this House to sit in the high office as Deputy Special Public Prosecutor. On the whole, I am persuaded that in this country called Ghana, where you find yourself politically, nobody would witch- hunt. When we say that nobody would witch-hunt, I mean that nobody is permitted by law to package falsehood against his or her neighbour and send that falsehood to a court of law, and say he or she would rubbish him or her politically in the name of criminal prosecution. Mr Speaker, at the same token, if we say that we would not witch-hunt, we are also saying that we would not whitewash when we are aware that the conduct of a man is so inimical to the economy, and that by his conduct we have lost considerable amounts of money which could translate into developments. We would witchhunt because of a man's political persuasion. Mr Speaker, when it is done that way, then we are safe. That is when our politics would have a good equilibrium in which men would relax and their best energies would be released to serve the nation. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I also add my voice that this august House should approve Ms Cynthia Jane Naa- Koshie Lamptey as a Deputy Special Prosecutor so that we would have justice delivery done in the professional way. Mr Speaker, thank you for this short space of time to talk to this august House, I am grateful.
Hon Minority Leader, I am told you would want to take your bite before you seek leave.
Mr Speaker, rightly so. I am supporting the Rt Hon Speaker and the Leadership to deal with some matter, so if you could indulge me to make comments then the holding on Hon Ablakwa would conclude on our behalf. Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion for the approval of Ms Cynthia Jane Naa- Koshie Lamptey as the Deputy Special Prosecutor, to go and complement the work and effort of Hon Martin Alamisi Amidu as the Special Prosecutor to help Government and the State of Ghana fight corruption, and take steps to ameliorate and reduce it. Probably, eradicating it may be practically impossible. Mr Speaker, if we look at the remit of the Special Prosecutors Act, and even as Hon Martin Alamisi Amidu appeared before the Appointments Committee together with Ms Cynthia Jane Naa Koshie Lamptey, as the Hon Minister for Works and Housing has dealt with aspects of it as we heard them say, that ‘'I would put to jail…''. Mr Speaker, I would want to say without fear of any contradiction that this Parliament passed the Special Prosecutor Act and we did not clothe the Office of the Special Prosecutor with any power of conviction or any power to jail. So they should know the remit and their mandate. Their remit and mandate, like all others, Office of Special Prosecution is to investigate and potentially prosecute. Nothing more. It is summarised in the Long Title of the law. Mr Speaker, our Constitution is premixed on the doctrine of separation of powers, even if it is not as excellent, it promises that there are distinct separate organs of Government and the organ
Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the floor supporting the nomination for the Deputy Special Prosecutor. Mr Speaker, permit me to draw attention to a consequential correction; I am going to be dealing specifically with paragraph 11 on page 8 of the Committee's Report. The first sentence has the same mistake which says: “a Deputy Director of Prosecution”. I believe it should be consequential and Table Office should take note. It should be “Acting Director of Prosecutions”. It is on page 8, the first line of paragraph 11 and it says: “On what the nominee having acted as a Deputy Director of Prosecution could offer …” that has been changed.
Hon Member, that is on page 7 on my copy. [Pause.]
Mr Speaker, while on my feet, another very important correction has been drawn to my attention. It is paragraph four of page two -- Background; the fourth and fifth sentences. Towards the end of sentence four, under Background, it says that she finished her Common Entrance Examination in the year 1972 but then she appears to have started secondary school in the year 1971 in the first part of the fifth sentence. Mr Speaker, I believe it has been juxtaposed. So, the date would have to go round because one would have to write the Common Entrance Examinations before one can enter secondary school. In this case, she appears to have entered secondary school before sitting for the Common Entrance Examination. So, line 5 has “1971 to 1977” and then line 4 has “1972” for the Common Entrance Examination. Mr Speaker, if the office is to succeed; if all the efforts we are making to fight corruption are to succeed, we must deal with the procedural issues. Even though the record has taken cognisance of the Report, I would want to repeat just three sentences under paragraph 11. It reads: and I beg to quote; “…the Committee on how to reform and transform the face of prosecution in Ghana, Madam Lamptey indicated that adjourning cases during trials, prolong trials unnecessarily. She opined that it would be better if courts specified instances which would allow lawyers to adjourn cases. This would ensure the shortening of the duration of trials.”
Hon Member, do you not think that the sentence you quoted is giving the impression that it is just lawyers who ask for adjournments and not the prosecuting officers?
Mr Speaker, I would get there. I have a proposal taken from the Nigerian processes so I would get there.
You may go on.
Mr Speaker, my presumption now is that article 19 does not in any way disallow speedy trials. Article 19 is not meant to be a refuge for criminals to push away the day of reckoning. It just shapes their rights and the space within which they can defend themselves legitimately by law, so that their rights are not trampled upon. Mr Speaker, however, in this country, in the name of so-called technicalities, we have a situation where criminals stay in court for years, raising one procedural issue or the other. I need not remind this House of the era of the revolution where this became problematic, to the extent that we had to set up and right into our Constitution the notion of public tribunals, where article 19 issues may not even come up. It was a buga-buga approach -- get in there, look at the evidence and get rid of the matter. This was the public tribunal and that was the extent to which this country's frustration with technicalities drove us to. Mr Speaker, that we were willing and legally prepared to abandon rights in pursuit of efficiency and efficacy in the prosecution processes. Therefore, if today, we have found that public tribunals are redundant to the processes that we have established for ourselves -- [Interruption.] -- Indeed, even though they are in the Constitution, they are not being used; they are not being pursued now. Then it is important that we accept that we need to empower our prosecutorial authorities. We need to empower our courts to be able to discharge the actual reason why we send suspects to court; that means the roadway must be cleared of obstacles. Mr Speaker, the Nigerian example is most recommended, as they have developed their rules just like we have; we have developed the Public Prosecutor's Office, and we have given prosecutorial powers to the Special Prosecutor's Office. We have the Public Procurement Act, Whistle Blower's Act and we are preparing to protect witnesses. We have internal audit, we have EOCO, with provisions on the seizure of assets and we have all manner of things. The Nigerians have developed a prosecutorial process where they give each side exactly five adjournments in any criminal proceedings to deal with corruption. As defined under the Special Prosecutor's Office Act, the defence has the right to five adjournments and no more and the prosecution, five adjournments and no more. Mr Speaker, but the beauty of that law is that the trial does not stop when a technicality is raised in a higher court. If you raise a technicality about the process and you go to the Appeal Court or the Supreme Court, that determination continues while the trial also continues from day to day. And they have provisions to either vacate the ruling or reinforce the ruling after the determination in the superior court.
Hon Members, to allow for more contributions to be made so that we can conclude this Motion properly, I direct that Sitting be held outside the prescribed period.
Mr Speaker, I am most grateful. Mr Speaker, I would want to draw attention to a few corrections we need to acknowledge, and then I would be brief in supporting the Motion. On page one of the Report, the third paragraph under paragraph 1.0, the name of our Rt Hon Speaker has been wrongly spelt; “Ocquaye” is without a “c”. It is “Oquaye”. The proper rendition is that “Aaron” is his first name and “Michael” is his middle name. This is the Rt Hon Speaker' s own Report, so we have to get it right. On page three of the Report -- this has been raised earlier, but it keeps recurring. She was the Director of Public Prosecution. On page three, paragraph 5.0 (2), it should not be “Deputy Public Prosecutor”. On page five of the Report, the headnote of paragraph five -- “EXPERIENCE AT ATTORNEY- GENERAL'S OFFICE AS THE ACTING DEPUTY PUBLIC PROSECUTOR…” It should be “…DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS”. It is not “…DEPUTY PROSECUTOR…” So, please let us have that corrected. On page seven of the Report, paragraph 10, “… the nominee stated that it is the Court that is clothed…” It should be “cloaked” and not “clothed”. That should be the proper rendition. Finally, on page 8 paragraph 12, “…to prosecute when she possess…” It should be “…when she possesses enough evidence.”
Is it a point of order on the corrections he made?
Mr Speaker, it is to do with “clothed” in paragraph 10. Unless it is used verbatim as “cloaked”, then as it appears, it is not wrong. “Clothed with power” is an expression. That is normal. If he says “cloaked”, then she may have used it. If we cannot guarantee that she said “cloaked”, then this stands corrected already.
Hon Member, what word did you use?
Mr Speaker, I said “cloaked”. That is the proper rendition. That is how it should be. I do not know which secondary school he attended. [Laughter.] Mr Speaker, on a more serious note, I support the Motion.
This expression depends on the type of language you speak; it may be that you are speaking American English or British English, or one is using medieval English and the other is using modern English. I have come across both in various textbooks. So, it is not as a result of the school one attends. [Laughter.] You may go on.
Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I know my father-in-law did a good job at the Wa Secondary School, so I would follow your guidance. Mr Speaker, I support the Motion that this House approves the nominee who has been appointed by the Hon Attorney- General and Minister for Justice and the President of the Republic pursuant to section 16 (2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959). Mr Speaker, the nominee, Ms Cynthia Naa-Koshie Lamptey, appeared before us at the Appointments Committee. Generally, she acquitted herself very creditably. There were a few questions that, as the Hon Minority Leader said, we did not agree with her. We found a few shortfalls; but generally, there is no doubt that she is qualified. She has paid her dues. She has been a prosecutor for 29 years at the Attorney-General's Department. So, experience is on her side. We wish her well. We have no doubt that as a country, we believe that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is needed. We raised concerns on this side of the House, which had to do with article 88 (3). We have moved on. We supported the process. In all, we proposed not less than a 100 amendments to the Bill when it was brought before us. We contributed vigorously to what we have now as a piece of legislation, which we can work with. Mr Speaker, but the concern that I have is the media trial that continues in this country. We have all supported the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Hon Martin Amidu has been approved and the office has been set up. Yet, leading politicians, when we believe that we have some allegation of corruption or some reasons to suspect that someone has been corrupt, we do not use the office that we have established. We decide to engage in media trial -- high ranking officials and public officers; I do not want to mention names, but it continues on a daily basis. So one may ask, do we really want the Office of the Special Prosecutor to work and fight corruption, so that we make it a high-risk activity? This is because the media trial becomes a media banter -- the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress(NDC).
People are forced to tow party lines without looking at the facts, and people get away. It appears that increasingly, we are more interested in how we can destroy the image of our political opponents and the parties they belong to instead of fighting corruption using the vehicle that we have set-up. Hon Martin Amidu has not said that he is overwhelmed. He has not said that he is no longer taking new cases. So, if there are cases of corruption, which we come across in the course of our work, please let us use the office that we have all established, instead of the media trials. It then becomes NPP and NDC and people get away. If this trend continues, very soon, all people need to do is to make sure they are registered political party members. Once they have party cards, they have insurance to do whatever and engage in the highest forms of corruption, the most offensive type, and we can expect that it would just become a matter of political football. NPP and NDC would be at each other's throat, they would get away with it, and profit from the returns of the crime. Mr Speaker, so I feel very strong that after this House has passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor's Act of 2017 (Act 959), media trials still continue on a daily basis, and most of us seemed to join the trail and there is no end in sight. Let us encourage our public officials so that instead of standing on platforms to accuse each other and throw mud at each other, they should use these vehicles and encourage the Special Prosecutor. If this House approves then Mr Amidu would have Ms Lamptey as his deputy, so that both of them would work and we would genuinely fight corruption.
Hon Deputy Majority Leader, would you want to have a bite? 2. 07 p. m.
Mr Speaker, I yielded to Hon Yaw Buaben Asamoa because I presented the Report. Thank you.
Since the Majority front bench has yielded, then I am tempted to conclude the debate. But I could see the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on his feet. Hon Member, you may have a few minutes.
Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate. Mr Speaker, from the Report as presented, the nominee is a person who is of considerable experience. The experience and the knowledge that she has acquired over the years while working with the Prosecutions Department at the Attorney-General's Department, would go a long way to assist her to deliver the responsibility that has been assigned to her. Mr Speaker, we know that her critical role is to deal with investigations and prosecution of matters bordering on corruption. Mr Speaker, to the extent that corruption matters at times are intricate and complicated, her deep experience and deep knowledge in the field of prosecution would be brought to bear on the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases bordering on corruption. It is also worthy to note that when the nominee was asked whether she would be able to work in a very cordial and harmonious environment with the Special Prosecutor, she indicated that she has worked with the Special Prosecutor before, and she is quite aware of his temperament and the fact that he is a very principled person. Mr Speaker, I also know that the nominee is somebody who is very principled and very hardworking. To the extent that both of them have worked together before, I believe their pairing would go a long way to deliver on the promise that His Excellency gave to the people of Ghana, that he would ensure that if corruption is not uprooted, then it would be minimised to the level that the people of Ghana expects. Mr Speaker, I believe the nominee also spoke about the fact that witnesses need a certain amount of protection and we know that the Whistle Blowers Act is there and it gives some amount of comfort and protection to witnesses who would deliver information to the law enforcement agencies. Mr Speaker, there is a Bill in the offing; the Witness Protection Bill, and it is currently on the floor of Parliament. If it is passed, then it would give a wider protection to potential witnesses who would offer information to the law enforcement agencies and ultimately aid the law enforcement agencies in their prosecutorial duties. Mr Speaker, I am of the firm belief that if the Witness Protection Bill is passed, it would go a long way to strengthen and consolidate the work of the Office of the Special Prosecutor in their efforts and fight against corruption and corruption —— related matters. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I am respectfully adding my voice, that the Report of the Appointments Committee should be adopted and the nomination should be approved. Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity. 2. 17 p. m.
Hon Member, thank you very much. Before I would put the Question, I want to just say that as human as we are, we cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand. So we must do all that we could to build a solid and fertile foundation for the seeds that we are sowing to be able to germinate. We would not want to once again be acting in futility. So this is a call to the powers that be, to solidly support the office to be able to perform its functions. With this, Hon Members, I may now put the question. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Deputy Majority Leader, any indication?
Mr Speaker, we have exhausted business as outlined on the Order Paper. There are a few Committee meetings right after adjournment. The Hon Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is also engaging some Hon Members of Parliament whose consti- tuencies fall within the regions that would be demarcated into different regions. So, Mr Speaker, at this point, we are in your hands.
Yes, it is a reminder to Hon Members who come from those regions, that there is an exercise to try to split them into more than one. They should attend the brief that is being given by the Hon Minister in charge of that sector. With this I proceed to adjourn the House.
The House was adjourned at 2.20 p.m. till Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018 at 10.00 a.m.