Speaker, you have already ruled that the case is in court. But I just thought that it is an interesting case and either this Parliament or the court must decide on that matter, so that, as a nation, we can move forward. Whether it is even necessary to have an acting President or not,I would be very happy for that matter to come up.
In this world where we have the Air Force One moving from America to Ghana and they take over even our airports -Mr Speaker, when President Obama was here, even our security and Hon Ministers had to go through the American security at our own airport. Maybe, we may have to learn -superpower. But whatever the case, they took over everything. They came and took over everything. Our own people had to be searched. You can ask the Hon Ministers. Our own people in our own airport had to go through the American security. Maybe, Hon E.T. Mensah was searched if he was there.
Mr Speaker, it is an interesting scenario and I would be glad to see how our Constitution fashions it out after the court or Parliament itself rules on these matters.
Mr Speaker, I was also intrigued about a case that came up before the Committee when he mentioned a matter about his experience at the National Investigation Committee. The nominee was forthright. He did not hide a single thing from us. He accepted that there was a perception that he was a spy but he explained the issue so well that all of us understood him perfectly. I am confident and glad that if this House finds it in its wisdom to pass him and the President swears him in, he would enrich our Supreme Court.
Mr Speaker, he mentioned an issue and I thought that it was important for us to look at it again. Do we need to have a
ceiling for the Supreme Court or not? Do we leave the Supreme Court as it is or we should go with the American system where some particular matters, all the Justices of the Supreme Court are empanelled especially, in review matters so that we do not have a situation where somebody decides to pack the Supreme Court or empanel only his friends and therefore, leave the judgment in the hands of, maybe, the Chief Justice. Do we empanel all of them?
Mr Speaker, I believe that I would support him -- layman as I am -- that we should empanel all the Supreme Court Justices in review matters so that everybody can have a bite of the cherry, especially the fact that they are odd in number. As we sit today, it seems we have an even number at the Supreme Court. Maybe, we have to look at it again to have an odd number—yes. They are fourteen, instead of the normal odd number. I think there is a vacancy somewhere,if we believe that.
Mr Speaker, because we do not have a ceiling, a particular number, we can say that this is the end of the road, even if we have twelve members, it may be that-- we cannot say there is a vacancy. I believe that we should have an odd number so that we can have a good justice system.
Mr Speaker, he made a profound statement about the qualification of jurists, and I have been asking lawyers whether it is true. Some believe it is true but others think it is a very dicey area. He said that people, who were thought to be lazy at work are sent to become jurists.That could be very dangerous if it was true and if that was really happening in real practice.
Mr Speaker, that is a dangerous thing because they would be judged and put somebody's life at risk. If the person who
is supposed to qualify as a jury has a problem—he is not qualified enough.He could actually sentence 99 per cent innocent persons instead of the other way round, where we expect to set free, 99 per cent guilty people rather than jail one innocent person like the Lord Himself said.
Mr Speaker, with Mr Gabriel Pwamang, as stated by the Chairman of the Committee, there were one or two petitions against him. The Committee did its best to wait until it came to the bottom of those matters. We did not rush, even though the petitioners themselves were not interested in pursuing the matter.
As a Committee, we thought we could still wait and get to the bottom of it so that we can put the right people at the highest court of law, and I am glad that the decision to wait paid off because we did the right thing.
I believe that when Hon Members go through the Report, they would realise that the Committee had patience to wait in order to give everybody a fair opportunity so that nobody comes later to say, “well, you should have heard from me”. We gave everybody the opportunity.We took pains to look for the people even when we did not know where they were, particularly, a certain woman.
We looked for her and made sure that we found her and heard from her and the disciplinary committee until we were satisfied that there was no case against the nominee before the Committee decided to recommend him to the House for approval. I was glad about the way he went about the issues with his knowledge.
Mr Speaker, because he had served as a General Secretary of a political party, a question was posed to him concerning by-elections, particularly, now that we have an upcoming one and I would mention it. We have one at Talensi now. It was useful to pick his view on the issue
of a by-election, whether we should amend the Constitution such that, the political party, where the Hon Member, for whatever reasons is no more a Member of Parliament, that political party could nominate a successor. But his view was very clear.
He thought that the people have the mandate and they must be allowed to make a choice, unless the law does not permit. Some disagreed because of cost. After all, we set an example the last time, when there was a by-election, and for once the political parties came together and said that, “we are going to stop the Electoral Commission from conducting that by- election”.
Mr Speaker, I believe that we should begin asking ourselves questions, whether we should not copy the French model. In the French model, there is a person who is waiting to take over from a Member of Parliament when the Member of Parliament is no more a Member of Parliament during elections. They call them deputies—député. When one is going for an election, he or she has a deputy. For whatever reason, if one is nominated as a Minister and he or she dies or resigns, that deputy takes over immediately as a Member of Parliament. They do not go through a by-election.
Mr Speaker, maybe, it is an interesting scenario. Can we consider it? But the danger is that, some deputies are waiting for their bosses to go so they could take over. That is the danger in their system as well, but it happens. That is the system Togo, Benin and other French speaking countries use. Can we also consider such a system?
Mr Speaker, in our case, we believe that we should go, spend money to bring a successor when it comes to by-election.
It is an interesting point that we should look at. I also support the view that, the indemnity clauses should stay a little longer --not too long -- but a little longer until the main actors are gone such that we can stabilise this country once and for all.
Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would support the view of the nominee that, we should strengthen the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to make it a truly independent body that has teeth to bite. That is they should be given resources to have a long term future plan for this country. While in Africa we plan for one year, the Japanese companies actually plan as long as 15 to 25years. No successful company in Japan plans for only one year.
Mr Speaker, I believe that we should get NDPC to plan the future of this country so that all political parties can buy into that vision. We know that—
Mr George Kofi Arthur— On a point of order.
Mr Speaker, NDPC does not plan for a year. Recently, the planning was for six years, and that is why when we read the Progress Report, it was 2010, 2013 and we have 2014 to 2016 and so it is not for only a year.