Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the opportunity and I do intend to set some records straight.
Mr Speaker, it was neither the Vice Chairman nor the Chairman of the Committee when the Speaker himself directed -- It was a question he posed after a long winding debate on this particular matter that he asked what was the status of his relationship with the Assets Declaration Act of 1998 Act 550. Indeed, I stood up and offered some explanation, subsequent to which the Speaker drew our attention to clause 58 of the Public Officers Liability Bill, which sought to repeal the Assets Declaration Regime; I thought I should state that.
But be that as it may, Mr Speaker, may I refer you to article 106 of the 1992 Constitution. Mr Speaker, in this House, our primary responsibility is to exercise the legislative power of the Republic of Ghana and in exercising it, we are enjoined by our own Standing Orders to respect the rules.
The first part of the Standing Order was to subject this Bill to a Second Reading where the principles were diligently debated. Subsequent to it, I have heard we are not -- Even as I try to ignore it, he must be reminded that by the Standing Orders, we cannot proceed to Considera- tion Stage if you do not successfully go through the Second Reading stage of the
Bill, with all respect to known and established rules of our Standing Orders.
Mr Speaker, what is important is the guidance that you had given which has since been ignored. And the guidance is that if we get to clause 58, which seeks to repeal the Assets Declaration Regime and it is the wisdom and judgement of this House that, that legislation ought not be repealed, we would take a collective decision as a House.
What is important is that I do agree with them that it is a very important piece of legislation affecting conduct of public officials. So, to the extent that we are able to build consensus on many of it, I think I am with them.
But Mr Speaker, why I referred to article 106 was to remind my Hon Colleague, Dr Prempeh that what clause 106 (2) says and with your indulgence, Mr Speaker, I beg quote. I am particularly interested in (a).
“No Bill, other than such a bill as is referred to in paragraph . . .”
I said I am interested in the Bill --
(a) “it is accompanied by an ex- planatory memorandum setting out in detail the policy and prin- ciples of the bill, the defects of the existing law, the remedies proposed to deal with those defects and the necessity for its introduction;”
Mr Speaker, the Vice Chairman ably referred to page 12, where you have the signature of the learned Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Marieta Brew Appiah-Opong (Mrs) signing unto the accompanying Memorandum and in fact, satisfying the basic principles and tenets of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of this House.
Mr Speaker, we can only proceed and where we are not able to build consensus, you will guide us to defer on those matters. But I think that we should not make it look as if the presumption is not rebuttable and therefore, because we have said that we are going to repeal it, we would repeal when we get there.
When we get there, we would invite cogent arguments from both sides to give reason we think that we should not review that particular legislation. But I think that we should enrich it with inputs by all Hon Members because it will affect us and also affect people who will come after us who aspire to hold public office.
I thank you for the opportunity.