Hon Members, Correctionof Votes and Proceedings and the OfficialReport. [No correction was made to the Votesand Proceedings of Wednesday, 15 thJune, 2016.] Dr Stephen Nana Ato Arthur — rose--
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, the lastword of the last line of column 1244. Itshould be “mapped” and not “marked”.
Very well. Any other correction? Hon Members, in the absence of anyfurther correction, the Official Report ofWednesday, 8th June, 2016, as correctedis adopted as the true record ofproceedings. At the Commencement of PublicBusiness -- Hon Deputy MajorityLeader.
Mr Speaker, ifwe can take item numbered 8 -- Banksand Specialised Deposit-takingInstitutions Bill, 2015 on page 3 of theOrder Paper. It is at the ConsiderationStage.
Hon Members, Banks andSpecialised Deposit-taking InstitutionsBill, 2015, at the Consideration Stage.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, which clause are we actuallystarting with? I have noticed that we have deferredsome of the clauses but the debate is tocontinue.
Mr Speaker, yes;clauses 5, 58, 60 and 69 were deferredyesterday. So, we could start from clause 70.
Is it from clause 71 or 70?
Mr Speaker, clause 71.
Hon Chairman, I havebeen advised by the Clerks-at-the-Tablethat clause 71 is related to those clausesthat have been deferred. So, we shouldstart from clause 72. Hon Chairman of the Committee, doyou hold that view?
Mr Speaker, we have notgone to clause 71. For that matter, therewas no deferral of clause 71. We stoppedat clause 70.
The point being made isthat, clause 71 is related to some of thoseclauses that were deferred.
Mr Speaker, it is not in allthe clauses that we have the phrase “notmore than”, which were deferred.
That is why I am askingyou. If that is not the position, then let memention the clause so that we look at it. Clause 71 -- Restriction on theestablishment of a subsidiary company
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 71, subclause (3), line 3, delete “notmore than”. Mr Speaker, on the issue of restrictionon the establishment of a subsidiarycompany, the Committee is of the view thatthe bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution should pay an administrativepenalty of 1,000 penalty units, but not ascaptured in the Bill. This is to conform tothe position that we took in earlier clauses.
Hon Chairman, so, theessence of your amendment is to deletethe phrase “not more than”. That is theamount they would pay. What is the reason behind theamendment?
Mr Speaker, the reasonbehind the amendment is that, the currentprovision in the Bill is such that a rangeof zero or one to 1,000 penalty units isgiven. When we look at the offence that weare talking about here, the restriction ison the establishment of a subsidiarycompany; where a bank, specialiseddeposit-taking institution or a financialholding company shall not establish asubsidiary company without the priorwritten approval of the Bank of Ghana. Mr Speaker, if we give a range of zeroto 1,000 penalty units, who determineshow much is to be paid in offence? This isbecause it is an administrative penalty. So,if that offence is committed, who determines whether it should be 500 or200 penalty units? Mr Speaker, for that matter, we shouldnot give a range, but a fixed amount of1,000 penalty units. That is the reasonbehind the amendment being proposed.
Are you also looking atthe case where no two situations are thesame, and we may want to get someflexibility in making that determination?Has the Committee looked at the flipsideof your argument?
Mr Speaker, we did. Mr Speaker, the issue here is that,because it is an administrative penalty,who takes that discretion?
That in itself is discretion.
Mr Speaker, who takes thediscretion on the amount to be paid withinthe range?
Mr Speaker,on this occasion, I wish to ask the HonChairman to reconsider his amendmenteven though I am an Hon Member of theCommittee. Mr Speaker, in the case of anadministrative penalty, it is administrative.An administrative decision in itselfconnotes an element of discretion. This is because no two situations canbe the same. It may happen that in onecase, it may be wilful or deliberate. Thereason behind it may not be in tune withproper deposit-taking functions. Inothers, it may be different. In one case,even the penalty may collapse theinstitution depending on circumstances. So, I would rather we keep thatdiscretion. It is not too wide. If we make it fixed, it ties the hands of the supervisinginstitution, which is the Bank of Ghana.Assuming the maximum were to be 2,000or 5,000 penalty units, then the discretionwould be too wide. In this case, we are dealing with smallinstitutions; not even the banks. Wewould be dealing with microfinanceinstitutions. After that, we would realisethat the Bank of Ghana also reserves theright to revoke the licence. Assuming it is requested that the --we should wind it up -- Mr Speaker, weshould maintain it like that.
MrSpeaker, I have been particularly irritatingon some of the issues I have brought upso far on this Bill. Mr Speaker, but I am gladdened by whatthe Hon Member for Sekondi just said;administrative penalty is verydiscretionary. Mr Speaker, in the whole Bill, no matterthe fault of the bank or the specialiseddeposit-taking institution, it is alladministrative penalties. Mr Speaker, yesterday, we wentthrough about three clauses.Even wherethere is insider trading, the Bank of Ghanais recommending administrative penalty. Mr Speaker, where inside, the peoplegive relatives loans over their capacity, itis administrative penalty. Nobody is beingseverely punished for some of the actionsbordering on malfeasance in this Bill. Mr Speaker, if you see that someclauses were stepped down, it wasbecause I was particularly irritant. I amsorry for that. But I cannot just understand why someof these pernicious infringements areadministrative units and nobody is sentanywhere. The Bank of Ghana is allowed-- I have looked behind the Bill, wherewe normally find the “offences”. MrSpeaker, there are administrative penaltiesfor insider trading; for bringing somebodywho is not supposed to be a director as adirector; and for an employee who hasbeen given a loan more than is required.Who is getting penalised in this Bill? Mr Speaker, I am worried. So, theCommittee should look at thoseadministrative penalties. What infringementsand peculiar penalties are we giving thebanks and the persons involved?
Hon Member, yourargument seems to be different from whatis on the floor now.
Mr Speaker, it is the sameone; I am coming to that.
No! Please, there is aspecific amendment. We are at theConsideration Stage and you are raisinga very fundamental issue, which isdifferent from the issue --
Mr Speaker, maybe, youdid not understand my question. If the Hon First Deputy Speaker was inthe Chair, he would have understood it.
There is a specificMotion on the floor. We are at theConsideration Stage.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman of the Committee should not onlythink about discretionary administrativepenalties for these offences.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Member should look at clause 152.That is where the Attorney-General andMinister for Justice by ExecutiveInstrument (E.I.) -- [Interruption] -- Yes,by Executive Instrument.
Well, we are not at clause152. We have to find out whether there isan amendment that has been proposed bythe Committee at clause 152 because itraises other constitutional issues there.This is because, we have to create theoffence and define it before using the E.I.to prosecute.
Mr Speaker, Ithink the latter issue could be addressedwhen we get there but to give theimpression that all the penalties areadministrative is false. One may have apoint of view, but he cannot saysomething is -- It is misleading. It is nottrue.We would come to that later. Mr Speaker, the Hon Member forSekondi has raised an issue that theplenary may want to reconsider. The pointbeing that the administrative penalty itselfis discretionary. The Committee had considered a fixedsum all the way through. We may want toreconsider and keep the ceiling to beconsistent with the administrative natureof it. There was another issue relating toamount, and that is where we have to bevery careful. This is because, the core of Mr Speaker, generally speaking, thefirst attempt is to say that they have failedto notify and they are going to haveadministrative fine. But in certain cases,for example, where there is over exposureto a staff member, there is immediaterecovery, which is what the bankingsystem should be concerned about. Mr Speaker, the second point we haveto keep in mind is that, the big banks donot have any problem with these fines andit is not about them that the Bill is tryingto be cautious. Most of the specialiseddeposit institutions are small. If we arenot careful and we impose a high ceiling,they are going to collapse. If we want toencourage intermediation and savings,that is where the target is. The microfinance institutions and ruralbanks get too many administrativepenalties, so, sooner than later, they aregone. There are 26 or so banks that weknow of. For example, United Bank forAfrica (UBA), Standard Chartered, etcetera, they are not the issue. Their staffare so technically competent that theywould not fail to notify because they donot want their licences to be revoked.We have to keep that in mind. However, his argument is somethingthat I do not have any difficulty with. Allthe way through, that change has beenmade and we used to say it isconsequential, but we may want toreconsider and make it consistent with theadministrative nature of the fine.
Mr Speaker, I have listenedto the Hon Member for Sekondi and theRanking Member of the Committee, but I think what the Committee consideredmostly in looking at them is to know thatthe administrative penalty itself isdiscretionary. Going further to givediscretion again, if the offence iscommitted, we then go again and look athow much of the penalty is levied on thatperson to pay. Here, it is stated that a subsidiarycompany should not be establishedwithout prior approval from Bank ofGhana. They have gone ahead andestablished a subsidiary company, thenwe would go into the law and look at thepenalty and it is between zero and 1,000.The question then is: how much is leviedwithin that amount? That was why wecame out with a fixed figure.
Hon Member, the pointbeing made by the Hon Member forSekondi is that, each case should belooked at on its own merit, so, thereshould be some flexibility. We are dealingwith human institutions. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, why shouldthe establishment of a subsidiarycompany differ from one company to theother? The law says a subsidiary companyshould not be established without priorapproval, whether small or big company.
Hon Chairman, do nottake subclause (3) of clause 71 in isolation.You have to look at other remedies thatthey have placed there. The penalty isnot the end of the matter. They would givea consequential directive and if they donot comply, they would revoke theirlicence. If you have to look at it, it is notlike the payment of the penalty is the endof the matter. A law that does not eject any flexibility,in my view, can be problematic. Even if you look at subclause (5) of clause 71, thedecision to revoke or not is discretionary. Anyway, if you insist, I would put theQuestion. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, it looks likethere is a stalemate. This is because if wego by the argument of my Hon Colleague,the Hon Member for Sekondi --
Which is the argumentin the Bill?
Yes, if we go by the original“not more than”, then the discretioncomes out clearly when the offence iscommitted. But in this case, if we put itthat administrative penalty of 1,000penalty units, it means that it is certainand no more discretion is given. I wouldwant to agree with those who are of theview that there should be a discretion, andthat the penalty should not be certain --1,000. But there should be a discretion tothe one who is imposing the penalty, bysaying that the penalty should not be morethan 1,000. I would want to go back to theoriginal rendition as contained in the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I intendcoming with a further amendment on that.What you said is very relevant becausein subclause (5), if the Bank of Ghana hassaid that an entity has not complied withnot opening a subsidiary, and they havefailed to comply, why should that decisionsubsequently be discretionary? If we aregoing to even allow subclause (5) to bediscretionary, then subclause (3) shouldbe. The person who has been informed bythe Bank of Ghana and has persistentlyrefused to comply, when we look atsubclause (5), at that time, Bank of Ghanasaid that they may revoke his licence.There is no further punishment for
Subclause (4) ismandatory. You have to read subclauses(5) and (4) together. You do not read themin isolation. They have to be readtogether with subclause (3). Hon Chairman, do you insist?
Mr Speaker, I insist thatwe make it 1,000. If not, we have to goback and change all the administrativepenalties to a range.
Do you insist?
I insist, Mr Speaker.
Hon Members, I wouldput the Question. An amendment has beenmoved and arguments have been raisedagainst it. The Hon Chairman of theCommittee is kicking against theamendment. The Ranking Member is against theamendment from the Committee. A seniormember of the Committee, the HonMember for Sekondi changed his mind thateven though he is a member of theCommittee, we should look at it again. I asked the Hon Chairman whether hewants me to put the Question and he saysyes. He has not withdrawn theamendment. The only thing left for theChair, is for the Chair to put the Question.
Mr Speaker, I would wantto plead with the Hon Chairman that,given the ceiling, it would not take awayfrom the totality of the Bill. The issue aboutgoing back to change, I think Mr Speakercan give consequential directives wherewe have already changed it, we can goback and make it ‘not more than'. That one should not be his problembecause it can be done easily. His worryis that, going forward, we have to go backto clause 1. Mr Speaker can giveconsequential directive. It is a principlewe may want to accept. So, I would wantto appeal to you, that being so strict, andfor the same argument, a microfinanceinstitution, one thousand penalty units isa lot of money. So, for those little ones, letus give some discretion so that theywould look at the circumstances and theseverity of what has happened. You know, they do not have thecapacity, so, most of them are going tofail --
Hon Members, what Iintend doing is that, I would want to deferthe Question on clause 71 so that we makeprogress on clause 72. Let the Committee consult and if thereis no compromise -- yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, clause 71 (1)reads, “A bank, specialised deposit-takinginstitution or financial holdingcompany shall not establish asubsidiary company without theprior written approval of the Bankof Ghana”. Mr Speaker, I do not have any problemwith that. But the Bank of Ghana --
Please, we are at theConsideration Stage, if you want to movean amendment --
Mr Speaker, I am movingan amendment, please.
Move the amendment.
The amendment is that,when a bank or a specialised deposit-taking institution writes to inform the Bankof Ghana that it wants to establish asubsidiary, the Bank of Ghana shallrespond within one month. We cannot letpeople write to Bank of Ghana and it willbe there ad infinitum. It may cause aproblem. So, if the Bank of Ghana says, write tome for prior approval, I do not have aproblem but the Bank of Ghana shouldrespond whether positively or negativelywithin one month to the letter.
Well, you have notmoved an amendment, properly socalled -- Please, let us defer the clause 71 sothat when we come back, we would lookat it holistically. Yes, Hon Member for Madina?
MrSpeaker, I am also a member of theFinance Committee. I understand the fearsthat the Hon Chairman is expressing, bysaying that, because it is administrativepenalty, his fear is that, if the persondecides to charge zero or one or two -- Mr Speaker, because it is anadministrative penalty, which means thatthe money would go to the Bank of Ghana,they would never charge the lowest. So,‘not more than one thousand', is all right.And I think that it is now agreed, ‘not morethan one thousand' is the best. And it goesalong --
Why? Are you speakingfor the Hon Chairman?
No! Mr Speaker, Ithink he has agreed with me.
Hon Members, do youwant us to take it or we defer it?
Mr Speaker, first of all, I amnot entertaining any fears.I am convincedthat I am doing the right thing. So, I standby my point that we should not make it arange of ‘not more than one thousand'.We should make it a fixed amount of ‘onethousand'; that is my position --[Interruptions.] That is the Committee's position ofwhich I am chairing.
Hon Chairman of stheCommittee, is the amendment standing inthe name of the Committee or it is in yourpersonal name?
Mr Speaker, it is standingin the name of the Committee. Somemembers of the Committee are changingtheir minds, but I have not changed mymind. [Laughter.]
Well, I will count thenumber of the Committee members whohave changed their minds. Yes, Hon Majority Chief Whip?
Mr Speaker, in fact, yesterday, I was oneof those who thought we should keep arange. Mr Speaker, I am convinced thatwe need to be more specific. The reason is that, for example, if youlook at spot fine for crossing traffic light,it does not matter whether it is anarticulated truck, a motorbike, a LandCruiser or a taxi. The fine is specific. Youcross the red light, and you would haveto pay this amount.
Hon Majority ChiefWhip, is it fair, those who crossed the redlight and hit and cause damage, and thosewho crossed the red light without causingdamage. Why do you think both of themshould be treated the same?
Mr Speaker, if youlook at clause 70, for example, where youhave --
Hon Majority ChiefWhip, I have decided to defer this matter.Hon Members, we are dealing with humaninstitutions, allowing flexibility in the lawis not a bad idea.If we come back and it isthe thinking of the Committee that weshould delete it, we would put theQuestion and thus delete it from the Bill. Clause 72 — Oh, Hon Minority Leader?
MrSpeaker, first, I just walked in and heardthe Hon Member for Manhyia South in aspirited attempt, trying to bring us backto clause 71 (1). Now, you are calling for adeferral of further considerations of theprovisions under clause 71. In concluding, you restricted yourselfto subclause (3). But then, other HonMembers have brought up other issues --
Yes, in fact, that was whyI said, when we come back we would lookat the whole of clause 71 holistically. So,if the Hon Member for Manhyia South hasan amendment, he may, by tomorrow, file it. Even if the rule does not allow him tofile it, he can move it on the floor of theHouse so that we take the whole of theclause 71. That is the directive that I havegiven.
Very well. Mr Speaker, my other worry is howmany clauses we are deferring? Therewould have to be cross references and ifcare is not taken, we may lose the trendalong the line. For instance, we are goingto clause 72, and clause 72 has similarprovisions which may then need to,consequentially, be deferred. So, Ithink --
Hon Minority Leader,one of the reasons I decided that weshould defer this clause is that, the HonChairman of the Committee made a veryimportant point; that it is likely to affect anumber of clauses that we have agreedon. This is because we have deleted the‘not more than' and that is why I thoughtthat, in view of the very senior membersof the Committee taking certain positionson the matter, I thought that they shoulddo further consultation. It is only the issue of ‘not more than',whether to keep it or not to keep it. Assuggested by the Hon Member for OldTafo, if we decide to keep it and we knowthat it is not so fundamental, we can givea consequential directive on other areasif that is the thinking of the House. That is it. But I agree with you that asmuch as possible, we should not. But therules also allow us to defer and proceed. Iagree with you, that in so doing, we shouldnot lose trend of the process of amendingthe Bill. Clause 72? Clause 72 -- Limits on investment inrespect of a subsidiary company.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 72, subclause (3), paragraph (b),line 1, after “case” insert “of” Mr Speaker, just to correct therendition to make it clearer, “In case of a bank”
Hon Chairman, is thatamendment necessary? Does it really addanything?
Mr Speaker, it does. Let meread the entire paragraph (b), “in the case of a bank or a specialiseddeposit-taking institution which hasmore than one subsidiary company,thirty-five per cent of the net ownedfunds of that bank or specialiseddeposit-taking institution”. Mr Speaker, if we do not bring the“of” there, then it would read “in the casea bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution which has…”. It does not flow,because we are reading from subclause(3).
“. . . in the case of thebank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution”.
Mr Speaker, should I readthe subclause (3)?
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 72, subclause (4), line 3, delete “notmore than”
Mr Speaker, I would likethe Hon Chairman to look at this briefly,why we should not insert in thesubclause (1) of clause 72 --
Please, one at a time. Hehas moved an amendment. Let us dealwith his amendment, then if you haveanother amendment dealing withsubclause (1), we could take youramendment. In any case, you should have moved itimmediately I mentioned clause 72.
Mr Speaker, I was up.
Hon Chairman, the “notmore than”?
Mr Speaker, this is alimitation on investment in respect ofsubsidiary companies. So, a bank orspecialised deposit-taking institutionwhich contravenes a provision of thissection shall pay to the Bank of Ghana anadministrative penalty of one thousandpenalty units. Here, an offence is also beingcommitted. A person should not invest ina subsidiary company beyond a certainamount. Once a person goes beyond thatamount, an offence has been committed,therefore, the person pays one thousandpenalty units to Bank of Ghana.
It is not the liability, it iswhether it should be “not more than” or itshould be fixed. That is the essence ofthe amendment. Hon Member for Old Tafo, is that thethinking of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I thoughtyou were deferring it. I have pleaded withmy Hon Chairman that, to make progress,we should use “not more than”, but theHon Chairman is insisting, so, we wouldconsult, otherwise, we would have todefer.
Hon Members, why areyou trying to remove “not more than”?Why are we not injecting flexibility intothe law that we are making so that eachcase can be looked at on its own merit? In my view, it is for better drafting. Whyare we making them fixed? No two casesare necessarily the same.
Mr Speaker, the HonChairman is about to agree that we coulddo that -- He said he personally, but wedo not want to go to a Committee wherethere is revolt against the Hon Chairman.So, I would like to plead with the HonChairman that he should listen to thesense of the Committee and let us makeprogress.
Mr Speaker, my positionalone should not stall the work that weare doing. That is my position, that is myconviction. If the majority says --
Well, I believe that --let me hear from the Hon Minority Leader,and then we would go back to the otheramendments of “not more than”. Hon Minority Leader, there are twoviews. One is that, we should injectflexibility there. Another is that, it shouldbe fixed and others hold the view that weare creating a human institution, so, weshould allow for flexibility in makinglegislation. Yes, after that I would hear from theHon Majority Chief Whip.
Mr Speaker,in line with the recent development in thecrafting of Bills, that should be the currentthinking, except the Hon Chairman raisesissues of deterrence, that we should bevery rigid in these matters. That is what Iam hearing from the Hon Chairman of theCommittee, that we should be rigid -- The Committee speaks through the HonChairman of the Committee. He isadvocating for the Committee. Mr Speaker,in many instances, the Hon Chairmaninsists that he is the Chairman--[Laughter] -- Today, he is saying that Ishould insist that it is the Committee. Thatdichotomy should be established. He is the Chairman of the Committee,he is speaking for the Committee, and theposition of the Committee, as far as he isconcerned, is that there should be somerigidity and that it should serve as adeterrence. That is his position. Theposition of the Committee is that, eventhough the trend, at should allow for someflexibility. That is the counter issue beingraised by the Hon Ranking Member. Mr Speaker, I am convinced andpersuaded by the position of the HonRanking Member, given the fact that aswe do know, no two cases would be thesame, there ought to be some flexibilityexercised by the presiding person, so thatwe know there is a distinction. This one did it willfully, the other onewas through negligence, not willfully, yetit should attract some sanctions. Wecannot consign all of them to one sanctionregime to say that they should suffer thesame penalty, so there should be someflexibility.
Hon Members, you knowthis is an administrative penalty. It doesnot go through all those processes of trialsand judicial adjudication. It does not gothrough all those processes, it isadministrative, therefore, the essence offlexibility becomes very important. Our attention has been drawn to clause152. It does not take away the fact thatwhere there is the need for prosecutionpeople would have to be prosecuted. Itdoes not prevent that, but this isadministrative. Let us not forget that this Bill haspassed through a number of stages beforegetting to the Committee, so we have tobe very careful about this matter. Hon Majority Chief Whip, we must bevery careful as a House when we useadministrative means to penalise people.
Mr Speaker, Iremember Hon J. H. Mensah once saidthat, “only the wise sometimes changetheir minds”. That is his quotation.
What he said was that,there is a Chinese saying that “fools donot change their minds, but wise peoplesometimes change their minds”.
Mr Speaker, I amchanging my mind again, taking the senseof the House -- Even some members ofthe Committee are coming back to saythat because it is an administrativepunishment, we should keep the range. Mr Speaker, I would want to urge theCommittee led by the Hon Chairman, toallow us abandon those amendments sothat we will keep the original rendition togive it the flexibility that goes withadministrative penalty. Mr Speaker, I would say that youshould put the Question on them, or youwill give a consequential directive. Eventhose that we took yesterday, and the daybefore, should be reversed to keep it asthe original rendition is, since it is anadministrative penalty.
Mr Speaker,further to what has been said by my HonColleagues, we are dealing with differentinstitutions. We may be dealing with a If it is a bank, the net worth may beover GH¢50 million and if it is a specialdeposit-taking institution, for instance, arural bank, it may be one million Ghanacedis. So, 15 per cent will be at differentlevels. The breach of it cannot beconsigned to the same basket, that is whywe need the flexibility. Mr Speaker, I guess I saw the HonChairman shifting, and I think he shouldbe persuaded and convinced by it.
Hon Chairman, we havegot the sense of the House, so, withdrawyou amendment and let us make progress. Hon Chairman, the important argumentthat the Hon Minority Leader has made isthat, we have the bank and we also havespecialised deposit-taking institutions, so,clearly, we are not talking about the sameorganisation.
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. I have made my position and I believethat the Hansard has captured it. Theposition of the Committee --
Hon Members, I will putthe Question. Yes, I am putting the Question on hisamendment. He said that he is speakingfor himself. The amendment is that HonMembers of the Committee --[Interruption.] Hon Members, let us have order.
Mr Speaker,when I started my contribution, the HonChairman insisted that I should mentionthe Committee, because he was speakingfor the Committee. Now, if we have a casewhere majority of Hon Members of theCommittee have abandoned the HonChairman, it means that the Committee haschanged its mind. So, it is the Hon Chairman's positionnow -- He should not purport to bespeaking for the Committee any longer. Ifhe insists it is his own amendment, thenwe will take a vote on it.
Let me hear from the HonSecond Deputy Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I amexceptionally excited. This is because,when I was in the Chair yesterday, theFinance Committee much as I tried to getthem to disagree with each other, theywere so united --[Laughter] -- In fact, Inamed them “United We Stand” -- Mr Speaker, as a result, I refused toput the Question on some issues. Butbefore we rose, with the assistance of theofficials of Bank of Ghana, we asked thatthey indicate to us different minimumcapital requirements for differentinstitutions that are governed under thislaw. This is because, the danger in thislaw is that, it is referring to banks and otherdeposit-taking institutions.
Mr Speaker, withrespect, the issue is not the same. TheHon Member said we were united on theceiling. For the 1,000 penalty units, theHon Minister for Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration said that should bemuch higher, and the Hon Second DeputySpeaker, my good Friend here and Iagreed; that is different from this one --[Interruption] -- It was the GH¢5,000.00,
Mr Speaker, on a point oforder. The Hon Second Deputy Speaker doesnot take part in the debate -- [Laughter]-- So, I could not have agreed with theHon Minister for Foreign Affairs andRegional Integration. All I said to themwas, if I was taking part in the debate --[Laughter] -- That would have been myposition. I made that point after they hadvoted; not before they voted.
Mr Speaker, I am glad hehas made a distinction. It appeared tosome of us that he was debating. But nowthat he has corrected it, we will take hiswords. Mr Speaker, I would want to appeal tothe Hon Chairman that this is a huge Billand by now, we can make progressespecially when there is -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, I withdraw theamendment against my personalconviction. [Laughter.]
Yes, Hon Member forSekondi?
Thank youvery much, Mr Speaker. In considering this entire Bill, HonMembers could also look at clauses 91and 92, which talk about directives in termsof supervision, et cetera. BoG can alsoissue directives -- [An Hon Member:They do.] --I am saying that it is in theBill. So, it is not as if this Bill would wantto tie the hands of the supervisors of theseinstitutions. It is geared towards flexibility,this is because times change.
Now that the HonChairman has withdrawn his amendment,I do not know whether it will affect theprevious one, to allow for the principle offlexibility that the House has. Hon Chairman, I want to give aconsequential order. Where you removed“flexibility”, it should be restored. We arenot breaching any rules; we are mastersof our own procedure.
Mr Speaker, if you gofurther, there are some administrativepenalties that we give flexibility.
No, for those that youhave done already.
Mr Speaker, we can go backand take those ones and reinstate the “notmore than”.
Or should we take it atthe Second Consideration Stage? Will thatbe neater? Let me get the sense of theHouse.
Mr Speaker, it is theprinciple that we are talking about. It wason the same principle that we have doneall of them till now. So, I think that if youcan give the consequential directives, itwould be better.
Mr Speaker, I agreewith him, so I will not waste your time.Since we did it and as you rightly said, inour Standing Orders, at the ConsiderationStage, we are masters of our rules and it isflexible. You may just give the consequentialdirective and it takes care of all those thatwe have done, so that we will be able tomake progress. It is faster and easier.
Yes? Were you in theChair yesterday?
Mr Speaker, the rules arein your bosom and the Standing Ordersare clear. Under the Standing Orders, youhave the power to make this order.
Hon Members, the senseof the House is that wherever we deleted“not more than” in the Bill, we restore it,unless the context otherwise shows. I direct the draftspersons to take noteaccordingly.
Mr Speaker, I wouldbe grateful if you could go back to clause69 to put the Question.
I have given the order,so there is no need to go and put theQuestion there. Dr Prempeh-- rose --
You would want to movean amendment to subclause (1), so move it. Hon Member for Manhyia South,please, move the amendment properly.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 72, subclause (1), line 2, after“Institution”, insert “on financial holdingcompany”. Mr Speaker, if we look at clause 71 (1),it mandates a bank and specialiseddeposit- taking institution, or financialholding company, to write to Bank ofGhana for permission to establish asubsidiary company. When we come to clause 72, it putslimits on the investments of thatsubsidiary company and I think it is justan oversight.
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, do you get the import of theamendment?
Mr Speaker, I think the HonMember is adding the financial holdingcompany to the bank, and the specialiseddeposit-taking institution. That is in order.
So, move your amendment,Hon Member for Manhyia South.
Mr Speaker, I moved theamendment like an expert. I thought youheard it. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, clause 72, subclause (1), line 2, after“Institution”, insert “or financial holdingcompany”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu-- rose --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker,I thought that you were drawing theattention of the Hon Member for ManhyiaSouth to clause 71, and yet he sprintedaway from it, and went to clause 72. So,you could bring him back to his originalamendment of clause 71. Mr Speaker, beyond that, theamendment he has just introduced shouldalso have consequential implications onother areas that we have agreed on. Mr Speaker, I just looked at clause 70and it is also about a bank and specialiseddeposit-taking institution or financialholding company. If we come to clause 70 (4), it is restricted to the management of abank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution. The”financial holdingcompany” is also left out in clause 70 (4). Again, in clause 70 (6), we need a finecomb to apply to these provisions. Let usnot be in a haste. Let us look at it andapply it, because it is that arrangementwe are looking at. It does not haveapplication on only clause 72. So, look atwherever we have left it out, so that wecan deal with it. So, it is the “financial holding company”in clause 70 (1) that sets the tone. Let uslook at it and apply it uniformly in all otherareas consequentially.
Hon Chairman of theCommittee, did you get the point beingmade by the Hon Member for ManhyiaSouth, that has been amplified by the HonMinority Leader?
Mr Speaker, if we can moveforward -- But we would go back and findout from the Bank of Ghana why thefinancial holding companies are takingthose clauses. If we get the understanding well, thenwe can know whether we should bringthem back here or not.
Yes. I think so, so thatwe can make progress, while those beforethe clause 72, we would go back and lookat them as you suggested.
While we areat it, I am interested in knowing why wehave established a ceiling for theinvestment, as captured in clause 72 (1).There is no floor for the investment. Mr Speaker, I say so because we mayhave situations where, if there is nominimum established, there would befuturistic purposes a bank may investminimally in some subsidiaries, or in somespecialised deposit-taking institutionsminimum, 0.01 per cent -- So many ofthem, with the ultimate aim, sometime inthe future of conglomerating all of themunder one auspices and that could bedangerous. It could be playing into the creation ofmonopolists so I think that we should becareful. I do not know the reason for notestablishing a minimum investment inrespect of clause 72 (1). I do not know, maybe the Committeemight have had some briefing on that andthey may educate us. This is because Iam not too sure that it is the way it shouldgo.
Hon Ranking Memberand then Hon Minister for Employmentand Labour Relations. Mr First Deputy Speaker to take theChair.
Mr Speaker, generallyspeaking, this sector is quite sensitive andprivate investors should be given someroom to decide their capacity to go intothe subsidiary. Having a cap is what really matters, sothat if one says that he must have aboutten per cent and he is not capable, thenwe stop him. But it may be that hiscapacity can take him to five per cent. Butif we restrict them on that minimuminvestment, then it can be problematic,because they should determine the rateof return and so on. I think what matters is that they cannotexceed a certain amount, so that their baseis not controlled.
Mr Speaker, thank youvery much. I have been examining the HonChairman's proposed amendment againstclause 72, and I am looking at --
He has withdrawn it.
But specifically,on the equity with which we are debating,I would like to proceed further --
Hon Minister, theamendment has been withdrawn. The “notmore than” has been withdrawn and I havegone further to make consequentialorders. He has moved an amendment, and Ihave put the Question, which was carriedand then we are agreeing that in relationto his amendment, we should makeprogress, where that amendment isrelevant, we insert it.
Mr Speaker, I seekto improve the amendment but --
Which of the amendments?
Mr Speaker, the“not exceeding 15 per cent”.
We have passed there.There is no amendment for you toimprove.
Mr Speaker, consequentially,clause 72 (1), lines 3 and 4, we have to insert“financial holding company”.
Mr Speaker, he is rightand for that reason, you may want to giveinstructions for the whole clause so thatwhatever is missing should be inserted.
Mr Speaker, I haveinformation from the BoG that theintention of clause 72 is to restrict holdingbanks and Specialised Deposit-takingInstitutions (SDIs) but not the “financialholding companies” so, we should notadd “financial company” to “the banksand the special deposit-takinginstitutions”. This is because the intentionis to restrict holding banks and SDIs.
So, that is the policy.
Mr Speaker, if it is thepolicy, then the headnote ought to bemodified. We are coming from clause 71,where we deal with subsidiary company.Then we go to clause 72 and we say weshould exclude financial holding. So theheadnote must be specific -- “Limits oninvestment in respect of the subsidiarycompany”.
MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr Speaker, in clause 71,there is no restriction in terms of thesubsidiary company. That is why the“financial holding company” is included.In terms of the percentage investment,“financial holding company” is notrestricted. That is why they are notcaptured under clause 72.
Then the headnote doesnot follow from clause 71.
No! It is all right. This isbecause for the banks and SDIs, do notinvest more than this percentage, but thatpercentage restriction does not affect“financial holding company”.That is whythey are not included in clause 72. Theycan go beyond. The intention is to restrictthe banks and the SDIs -- [Interruption]That is the information they sent to me.
Mr Speaker, theinformation the Hon Chairman is bringingis very dangerous and maybe, we wouldhave to stand the whole of clause 72 downto go and interrogate BoG. This is becauseclause 72 really flows from clause 71. Tosay that you cannot put a limit on a“financial holding company” is a recipefor disaster. If they invest hundred per cent of theirequity and they go bankrupt, what wouldhappen to those people who have puttheir monies there? Mr Speaker, it isdangerous. We would have to go to BoGagain to ask them if they really gave theHon Chairman that note.
HonMembers, would it be advisable for us todefer this for the Committee and theexperts to have the opportunity to takeanother look at it before we come back.We would be on safer grounds.
Mr Speaker, I agree withthat, especially when we do not also havethe sponsors here. The sponsor of the Bill,the Ministry of Finance, could help us inthis direction. That is why I have beeninsisting that we are dealing with policy.This is a fundamental policy matter thathe is bringing to our attention. I agree withyou; we need to step it down and thendiscuss with them properly.
HonMinister, do you have something to say?
Rightly so, MrSpeaker, so that we defer clause 72 formore consultation. Mr Speaker, the mathematics is that, ifwe take clause 72 (1) where we are talkingof equity not exceeding 15 per cent, thenyou come to clause 72 (2) and you say 25per cent, ideally, the 25 per cent should bein the lead paragraph of clause 71. This is because we are saying in that event, donot exceed 25 per cent in terms of equityinvestment -- [Interruption.] No. But ifyou say 15 per cent, then you come backand say 25 per cent, where it is 2 --[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, withrespect, the concepts there are not thesame.
HonMembers, I do not think we shouldcontinue debating. Let us defer it. Let me also advise that Hon Memberswho have shown interest in this particularissue, and who are not Hon Members ofthe Committee are free to attend thewinnowing meetings that the Committeewould hold, so that when we come backto the Chamber, the room for debate wouldbe reduced to its barest minimum and thenwe can make progress.
Mr Speaker, goingforward on the Bill now, when you get toclause 74 and it talks of report of theexposure, subclause (1) brings back“financial holding company”. Meanwhile,when you go to clause 74 (3), it omits it --[Interruption.] I know but I am drawing Mr Speaker'sattention to the fact that clauses 71 to 74are the same things with different sub-entities so we have to look at the whole ofclause 71 to 74 on those arrangements.
HonChairman of the Committee, if we aredeferring this, which is the next we wouldhave to take a look at? Is it clause 73 or wedefer that one too?
Mr Speaker, let us go toclause 73.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 73, subclause (2), line 1, delete “abody” and insert “two or more bodies”. Mr Speaker, this is to create theposition for more than one.
Hon Chairman,if you could give us the rationale behind theproposed amendment, we would be verygrateful.
The rationale behind it isnot to limit it to one body but more thanone. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 73, subclause (7), lines 2 and 3,delete “a fine of not more than” and insert“an administrative penalty of”. Mr Speaker, based on what we did, thisshould also be abandoned.
Mr Speaker, in lieu ofthe information the Hon Chairman gaveus about financial holding companies, wemay want to step down clause 73. This isbecause clause 73 is supposed to coverfinancial holding companies, but they arestill using banks and specialised deposit-taking institutions. We need to look atclauses 72 and 73 carefully. The headnote of clause 76 reads:“Limits of the investment in respect ofother institutions”. That would includethe financial holding company which youmentioned. But then the paragraph says:“a bank or specialised deposit-takinginstitution”. That has already been takencare of in clause 72. So, we need to also step down clause73 and reconcile it properly, maybe,including changing the headnote. Wecannot have clause 73 for a bank andspecialised deposit-taking institution.This is because it says “otherinstitutions”. We can confer with them andget the clarification; it is inconsistent.
HonChairman of the Committee, how do yourespond? Are you in agreement?
Mr Speaker, let us deferthis as well.
Mr Speaker, I hope wecould defer clause 74. This is because ittalks about the exposures in clauses 71,72 and 73. When you go to clause 74 (1),it mentions all the three but when you goto clause 74 (3), it mentions only two. Weare not sure --[Interruption.] We are surewe can include it. If as soon as we accept clause 74 as itexits without any amendment, then whatwe said in clauses 72 and 73 could nothave been the reason BoG gave. This isbecause clause 74 is to report on thoseexposures so that BoG can now turn andsay that “financial holding company”should be omitted from clauses 72 and 73.
Mr Speaker, in clause74 (3), “or financial holding company” ismissing. This is because it covers allinstitutions. So, it would be consistentwith subclause (1) to (4). It is just thatit is missing. This is for reporting ofexposures of all institutions. So, in clause74, the Hon Chairman can offer thatamendment and we can proceed with that.
Chairmanof the Committee, what do you say? Iwould prefer that we take our time and doa thorough job, rather than rush through. We have had quite a number of challengesin the course of this consideration. Wouldit be appropriate to bring it to a close nowand then go back and look at all thesethings through winnowing? So, that whenwe come back, we would be fully armed? Ido not know if the House is fully with me.
Mr Speaker, winnowingwould actually help in the reasons behindsome of the amendments, or evenprovisions. So, I agree with the proposalthat we end it here and then go forwinnowing.
Very well.Thank you very much. Hon Members, accordingly, this bringsus to the end of the Consideration of theBanks and Specialised Deposit-TakingInstitutions Bill, 2015 for today. Yes, Hon Deputy Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we are readyto go on with item number 7, the CharteredInstitute of Taxation Bill, 2014 at theConsideration Stage. It is on page 2 of theOrder Paper.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATIONSTAGE
Very well. Hon Members, Chartered Institute ofTaxation Bill, 2014 at the ConsiderationStage. Do we have the Chairman of theCommittee here? Yes, Chairman, couldyou aid us, where do we start from?
Mr Speaker, page 2,clause 24.
Mr Speaker, the Committeewould wish to withdraw the amendmentproposed. This is because we realised thatwhat we are trying to do has already beentaken care of in clause 33. That is on theoffences.
HonMembers, are we on all fours with him? Inthat case, I would grant you leave towithdraw the proposed document.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,the amendment proposed in clause 34 bewithdrawn. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
We moveon to clause 25, is that right?
The two are withdrawn,clause 24(1) and (2). So, we go down toclause 35.
HonChairman, let us go slowly. You havewithdrawn the amendment you proposedfor clause 24, but there is a second one.Are you withdrawing both or is it just thefirst one.
We are withdrawing bothbecause it is equally taken care of by thatsame clause 35.
If you arewithdrawing both, then leave is grantedfor the withdrawal of both. [Amendment withdrawn by leave ofthe House.]
All right, Mr Speaker.
HonChairman, give me a bit of time so that Iput the Question on clause 24 standingpart of the Bill. This is because now, thereis no amendment to clause 24 Clause 24 ordered to stand part of theBill. Clause 25 -- It has been done already?Please, guide us. Where do we move fromhere?
Clause 35 is theoutstanding clause that we have to tackle.
Clause 35? Clause 35 -- Interpretation.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 35, add the following newinterpretations: “A chartered tax practitioner”means a person who has: (b) been a member or a fellow ofthe Chartered Institute ofTaxation (Ghana ) prior to thecommencement of this Act. Mr Speaker, by the Memorandum thatwe are applying, we can see that theopening states that: “The Chartered Institute of Taxa-tion, Ghana, has been practising asa professional body registeredunder the Professional Bodies So, it means that already, there exists abody known as the Chartered Institute ofTaxation, Ghana, in this country. Whatthis Bill seeks to do is to provide themwith a legal framework to work with. TheInstitute exists and they have beenpractising, and many Hon Members of thisHouse belong to it. They are CharteredTax Collectors.
What aboutthose who would become members afterthis law has been passed.
That is automatic. Allthose who join would be recognised bythe qualifications that bring them intothe --
You areprobably not getting the question I amasking. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,I think you were giving him a lead and hewas not following. By this construction,what he means by this definition is thatyou cannot qualify to be titled a CharteredTax Practitioner after this Bill is assentedto by the President. You ought to be aChartered Tax Practitioner before thecoming into force of this law. Once it comes into force, you cannotbe by this definition you have given. So,how do you rope in those who would comein after the President assents to the Bill.You have not captured that. That is thelead Mr Speaker was giving to you butyou lost it.
HonChairman, I believe that you wouldprobably need to expand the definition a little to take care of those who wouldbecome members after the coming intoforce of this law?
Mr Speaker, Ithink, what the Hon Minority Leader saidonly takes care of a certain group and notthe others. So, I would like us to proposeanother subclause which would take careof those people he is talking about, sothat this can remain as one and then weadd another subclause.
HonMembers, if we are not in the position topropose an oral amendment which wouldcapture everything, do we not need to takeit back and properly look at it? Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker,we would define a “chartered taxpractitioner” as is. So, a chartered taxpractitioner means, “a person who is amember or a fellow of the CharteredInstitute of Taxation”. That is asencapsulated in this Bill, but we wouldfind a way to capture those of them whoexisted and bring them on board -- thatis how to do it. As it is, we are qualifying those ofthem who existed before the passage ofthis Bill, and leaving those of them whowould come thereafter. That is the issueat stake. So, they should define it “as is”.Those of them who would qualify to beso defined under this new Bill, if theylike, they can have a transitional provisionto capture those of them who belong tothe older era and bring them on board.That is how to do it.
Mr Speaker, I would say;“a chartered tax practitioner means aperson who is a member or a fellow of theChartered Institute of Taxation (Ghana)”,and delete the word “prior”.
HonChairman, can you refer me to the portionof this Bill which deals with membership?
Yes, Mr Speaker. It isclause 14.
So,probably, because we have this provision,it might not be necessary to extend thisone. Hon Minority Leader, if you look atespecially clause 15 --
Mr Speaker,even if we went back to look at clause 12,I do not know whether it has beenamended, but it provides and I beg toquote: “A person shall not practise as achartered tax practitioner or taxpractitioner unless that person isregistered as a member of theInstitute”. Mr Speaker, what we are dealing withnow, is with respect to clause 35 --Interpretation. It should be in sync withwhat obtains there. That is why I said thatthe definition should provide for “as is”the situation now. We can now go backand rope in those of them who werepractising before the introduction of thisBill and that should be neater.
Mr Speaker, if I canpropose an amendment to that one so thata chartered tax practitioner would read as; “a person who has passed the qualifiedexaminations for membership of theInstitute conducted by the Counciland has completed practical training
Mr Speaker,he is defining for us the route to attainingthat qualification. He is defining for us“who is”, and the person is -- I am drawinghis attention to clause 12. They shouldtake the definition from clause 12, and thenrope in the previous practitioners; thosewho have been practising before this law. So, if I should propose a new amendment,it would simply have to read; “a chartered tax practitioner meansa person who is practising as achartered tax practitioner and isregistered as a member of theInstitute”. This is because that is the provisionunder clause 12 and the word “institute”has already been defined. And as I said,because they would want to rope in thoseof them who are in the practice before thisBill, they would find a way to bring themon board. So, they could then tag “who has beena member or a fellow of the CharteredInstitute of Taxation, Ghana prior to thecommencement of this Act”.[Interruption.] -- Hon Member, do youappreciate the issue? Very well. Please,have your own construction. Baba Jamal Ahmed: Mr Speaker, Ithought that from the rendition of the HonMajority Leader, my understanding isthat, there are people who are alreadypractising, and there are some otherpeople who may enter later. So, there mustbe a construction that would capture thesetwo groups. But I thought the Hon Vice Chairmanwas also proposing a situation where thiswould stand on its own and we wouldhave another rendition that may bring theother people on board. But if that is notthe situation, I would go with what theHon Majority Chief Whip -- [Inter-ruption] -- Hon Minority Leader, sorry, Iwas promoting him -- [Laughter] --whatthe Hon Minority Leader is saying.
Mr Speaker,you see, the Hon Member for Akwatia is aseer but he wants to deliberately blur hisvision when he describes me as the HonMajority Leader, then he would sayMajority Chief Whip and so on.
HonMinority Leader, that is in the spiritualrealm. [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker,I was proposing that the definition shouldjust read; “a chartered tax practitioner meansa person who is practising as achartered tax practitioner and isregistered as a member of theInstitute”. Or, to bring on board those of themin existence earlier --
HonMinority Leader, if I may draw yourattention to the fact that we have dealtwith certain aspects of this membershippreviously.
Mr Speaker,I was not enforcing it. I am just linking it.So, they can say that it includes “a member or a fellow of the CharteredInstitute of Taxation prior to thecommencement of this Act”. When we have gone on clause 12, wewould say it includes; “a member or afellow of the Chartered Institute ofTaxation prior to the commencement ofthis Act” so that we would have the twotogether.
HonMembers, I become a bit skeptical whenwe go through these processes in thismanner. We might end up missing one ortwo points. So, since we have a clearpicture that this is what we want to do,and we need to couch it in a certainmanner, can we not defer it for theCommittee to take time and properly couchit and come back? My attention has been drawn to thefact that we have categorised certaingroups of members and we have that. Allwe need to do is to synchronise that onewith what you are proposing, so that wewould have “those who were in it beforeand those who would become membersafter the coming into force of this law”,and we would then be home and dry —[Pause.] Baba Ahmed: Mr Speaker, I perfectlyagree with your suggestion. Looking atthe forth and back and the things that aregoing into the Bill, if we are not careful,we would rush into a construction thatmay not be the best. I also agree that weallow them to go and do their homeworkand come back with a better construction.
Mr Speaker, I agree withyour position — [Interruption.] We are on the Third Schedule and itis just left with one other item beforegetting to the Long Title. So, let us finishthis and go back. We might have come upwith a better rendition by that time —[Interruption.]
Mr Speaker,as I said, unfortunately, I was not herewhen we went through the Considerationthe other day. But my attention has beendrawn to the earlier position that Plenaryhad taken in respect of the definition,which is what the Vice Chairman wasproffering. Mr Speaker, that deals withqualification, and it has been establishedunder clause 13, and so, we do not haveto import that into the Interpretationssection at all, which is why we have tothen go back to clause 12. That gives uswho qualifies to be a chartered taxpractitioner. What they are trying to do then is, tohave a third leg to capture those of themwho are in the field before the introductionof the Bill. So, against what we did earlier,we should have provided for a disjunct tobegin what we have provided here as (b)to read: “Or who has been a member or afellow of the Chartered Institute ofTaxation (Ghana) prior to thecommencement of this Act”. That should have preceded it, and the(b), I understand should rather read (iii).Wehad earlier dealt with (i) and (ii). And it should be: “Or who has been a member or afellow of the Chartered Institute ofTaxation (Ghana) prior to thecommencement of this Act” So, that would then take care of it. ButI am suggesting that the interpretation thatwe adopted gives a qualification, whichhas already been provided for by clause13. So, we do not need to go and qualifywho should be — the description shouldthen conform to what obtains in clause12. But I agree that perhaps they may haveto stand it down for better work to be done.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Third Schedule, paragraph (c), sub-paragraph (iii), line 1, delete “any” andinsert “the”. Mr Speaker, we spent a lot of time onthis yesterday and came up with acompromised rendition, where we saidthat, advertising in any media foremployees should be deleted and then(4), advertising in any media again,should be deleted. So, it reads as: “(3) advertising for employees. (4) advertising change of address.” Mr Speaker, we deleted “any media”from both, and it sounded better andstraight to the point.
HonChairman, are you deleting both “any”and “media” or just “any”?
Mr Speaker, we just said,“advertising for employees”. This isbecause, it is a professional misconductto advertise for clients. So, we said, letus delete “in any media” from both.
Mr Speaker,against the reason for the deletion of thewords, “in any media”, it is because, weused the expression, “in the media” in thepreambular in (c), yet, we are resorting tosome tortuous journey that nobodyunderstands — [Interruption.]
HonMembers, from what has transpired, youare praying that we delete “any media” inboth lines. Then, because that has been providedfor early on in the opening of theSchedule, we are all right with it. Theseare exceptions to the rule. Hon Members, I will put the Question. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Yes,Chairman of the Committee. [Interruption.] We have item numbered (v) also forthe Third Schedule. [Interruption.] Pardon me?
It is the same.
Mr Speaker, beforeyou put the Question, you said yourselfthat it is in both. So, it takes care of theitem numbered (v). It is now item numbered(vi).
Very well.It is consequential.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,Third Schedule, paragraph (l), sub-paragraph (ii), line 2, at end, add “or taxpractitioner”.
HonChairman, I would like you to give us therationale behind it, so that we are withyou.
Mr Speaker, therationale is that, if you look at the Bill, wehave tax practitioner and/or chartered taxpractitioner. So, we would want it to bethe same throughout the Bill.
HonMembers, I will put the Question withregard to -- Sorry, we have not finished with it all.Have we? Have we not deferred something?[Interruption.] It does not have anythingto do with the Schedule? All right. The Third Schedule as variouslyamended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
HonMembers, because we have deferredcertain items, I do not think we need totake the Long Title and so on now, untilwe have cleaned it all up. [Pause.] Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, just a minute.We should give a suitable rendition. Papa Owusu-Ankomah -- rose --
Yes, HonMember for Sekondi?
Mr Speaker, Ido not think it should be a problem. It isabout the inclusion of that thing. It shouldnot be a problem. In principle, we agreedand the Table Office should assist. Thatis why the Table Office is there. Mr Speaker, yes. It seems my HonChairman and his Vice are being harassedthis afternoon. It is not fair. We haveagreed in principle.
So, youwould want us to leave it with thedraftsperson?
That is it. Itwas agreed. Now, they should sit down and draft.[Interruption.] No! It would be difficult. I am sure the Hon Chairman agreeswith me. [Interruption.] All right, thankyou.
Very well. Hon Members, I direct that we referthat to the draftspersons and after theyhave done it, the Committee should showit to the Hon Minority Leader and cometo a final conclusion. Yes, Chairman of the Committee?
Thank you, Mr Speaker.We would do that.
Very well. So, now, we can deal with the LongTitle. Hon Members, we are going throughsome technicalities. I am being advised toput the Question with regard to thatparticular definition and that, we haveagreed that the draftspersons assist us to
Very well. This is because, we are not going tocome back to it. Now, Hon Members, can we move tothe Long Title? Long Title -- AN ACT to establishthe Chartered Institute of Taxation toregulate the practice of taxation and toprovide for related purposes. Hon Members, I will put the Question.[Interruption.] -- Sorry, Hon Member? Is there an amendment?
Yes, Mr Speaker..
Oh, sorry.Very well.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, Long Title, line 1, after “Taxation”,insert “Ghana”.
So, whatwould the final rendition be?
Mr Speaker, it would readas --
TheChartered Institute of Taxation Ghana Bill.Is that it?
The Chartered Institute ofTaxation Ghana --
Yes. Verywell. Hon Chairman, I normally would wantyou to give us the rationale. I know thatthroughout the Consideration Stage, wehave come to the conclusion that we needto qualify it as the Institute of Taxation,Ghana, because we have other instituteselsewhere. So, probably, that is therationale behind what you are trying todo.
Mr Speaker, for instance,we have Institute of Taxation, Nigeria,United Kingdom and others. So, at least,we should qualify ours too with Ghana.
Yes, HonMembers, I will therefore put theQuestion. Question put and amendment agreedto. The Long Title as amended ordered tostand part of the Bill. [Pause.]
HonMembers, this brings us to the end of theConsideration Stage of the CharteredInstitute of Taxation Ghana Bill for now. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we wouldtake item numbered 11, that is the Right toInformation Bill, 2013 at the ConsiderationStage.
Itemnumbered 11, page 32. [Pause.] Hon Members, item numbered 11 onthe Order Paper -- Right to InformationBill, 2013 at the Consideration Stage. Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?Do we have the Hon Chairman with us,otherwise, Hon Vice Chairman, can youassist us? Right to Information Bill, 2013 [Resumption of debate from 15/06/16] Vice Chairman of the Committee (MrGeorge Loh): Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23, subclause (3), paragraph (e),delete. Mr Speaker, we are expected to deleteparagraph (e). I so move.
Tell us whyyou want it deleted.
Mr Speaker, the wholeconcept of fees is something that we wantto take out and therefore, if they are talkingabout fees to be paid, then it does not sitwell with what we are doing. Question put and amendment agreedto.
HonMembers, Mr Second Deputy Speaker totake the Chair.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23, subclause (4), delete and insertthe following: “(4) Where the public institutiondecides to refuse access, the noticeshall state, the reason for the refusaland the provision under which thedecision for the refusal is based.” Mr Speaker, we believe that apart fromthe fact that public institution is theconsequential amendment that we havedone, it is clear, simple and for clarity.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23 , subclause (5), delete and insertthe following: “(5) Where a public institution failsto determine an application withinfourteen days after the application isreceived by the public institution, theapplication is deemed to have beenrefused and the applicant has theright to seek redress under sections38 to 45.” Mr Speaker, the first point again is theconsequential amendment. You wouldhave also noticed that earlier, we hadabridged the time from 21 to 14 days.This is because we believe that the 21 daysis too long. So, this is also to follow thatconsequence of 14 days as we have. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 23, subclause (6), line 2, delete“agency or which the agency” and insert“public institution or which the publicinstitution” and in line 3, delete “required”and insert “prescribed”. Mr Speaker, we believe “Prescribed” isa better word.
Mr Speaker,on the first amendment he read, we hadagreed that it was consequential so, itshould run through; all agencies shouldbe made “public institutions”.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 24, subclause (1), closing phraseafter paragraph (b), line 1, delete“statutory” and insert “written” and in line2, after “declaration”, insert “signed bythat information officer”. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 24 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 25 -- Payments of advancedeposits
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,that we delete the whole of clause 25. Ifwe peruse the Committee's Report, it wasof the view that advance deposits wouldbe a kind of a disincentive to peoplecoming to seek information.
Very well. Hon Members, the Hon SecondDeputy Speaker to take the Chair.
MR SECOND DEPUTY SPEAKER
HonChairman, I believe it is clause 25?
Mr Speaker, that is so.
Which ofthe advertised amendments? Payment ofadvanced deposits, that is item (vi). I am listening to you, Hon Member.
Mr Speaker, I withdraw myearlier request for deleting all of theclause after the superior counsel from myHon Majority Leader and we would takeit one after the other. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 25,headnote, delete “advance deposit” andinsert “deposit” and repeat same wherever“advance deposit” occurs in the clause. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 25, subclause (1), delete and insertthe following: “(1) Where the cost of providing theinformation other than theadministrative cost is likely toexceed the amount of theapplication fee, the publicinstitution may request theapplicatnt to pay a reasonaledeposit determined by the publicinstitution.”
What isthe purpose of that amendment? If youlook at the original rendition in this, is thereany significant change? If you can tell us.[Pause.] Is there any substantive change ?
Yes, Mr Speaker.
All right;where is the change? Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, clause 25 (1)says: “Where the costs to the agency fordealing with an application are likelyto exceed the amount of theapplication fee, the agency mayrequest the applicant to pay areasonable advance depositdetermined by the agency”. Now, the proposed amendment, apartfrom considering the earlier amendmentsthat we have just taken; changing from“advance deposit” to “deposit” has alsomade it a bit clearer by stating “where thecost of providing the information …”. Clause 25 (1) says that. “where the costto the agency for dealing with anapplication …” which is different from theone dealing with just “providing theinformation”. So, where the cost ofproviding the information other than theadministrative cost -- Now, dealing with an application goesbeyond just providing the information butwith other costs, which we have nowdetermined. We have the administrativecost which would be determined by someguidelines or rules. But some applicantswould want the information in a differentform, maybe, they would want it in hardcopy; it could be a film or whatever. So,there would be additional cost and that iswhat we are addressing in clearerlanguage.
Iunderstand the difference is clear but if Imay ask you to also help us by telling usfor the record, because of the impact orthe legal effect of what we say, what ismeant by “reasonable deposit” and whodetermines “reasonable deposit”? This is because the purpose of this Billis to allow people to have information andif it is so prohibitive -- Like you said, afilm from the archives, even the quality ofthe film is such that, perhaps, it has to be subjected to some modern techniquesbefore it could be given to you. The costof doing that is “x” amount, it is reasonablethat the extra cost, apart from theadministrative cost -- What do you think is meant by thedraftsperson saying “reasonable deposit”?
Mr Speaker, we have a lotof decisions from the court about whatis reasonable in the circumstances thatwould guide the institutions. It is verydifficult to determine the reasonability ofcost to be generally applicable to allsituations. So, that would guide theinstitutions. Apart from that, anybody whodisagrees, by the provisions of what weare going to do, is entitled to proceed to ahigher authority to say that the cost isunreasonable, and I am sure finally if theydisagree, they would go to court for thecourt to determine what is reasonable inthe circumstances. That is why we have given much roomfor appeal decisions to be reviewed. Butit is difficult, considering the gamut ofinformation; not only State informationbut also private sector information. It isvery difficult to determine what isreasonable.
On thatexplanation, I would put the Question. Mr Richard M. Quashigah -- rose --
You havea different view?
Mr Speaker, I haveunderstood the Hon Majority Leader butI tried to reconcile it with clause 19 (f)which says:
“to be accompanied with therelevant fee”. So, if we are talking about relevant fee,then, the determination of the relevant feemight have been stipulated. And if in relationto, for instance, as indicated by the HonMajority Leader, heavy materials like film,et cetera, I think establishing that relevantfee, the applicant should then be informedthat it would cost you, (a), (b), (c), or (d), inorder to get these particular --
HonMember, if you read clause 25 (1)carefully -- Mr Bagbin-- rose --
HonMajority Leader, you were on your feet.
Mr Speaker, I just rose ona point of order because we had earlieramended “relevant” to “prescribe fees”,which means that there would be somelegislation given or what can bedetermined. So, that is prescribed by law.Those that are not prescribed by law, arethose that we are talking about.
And youwould see that in clause 25, it talks aboutif it is to exceed the amount of theapplication fee. So, there is an applicationfee, but if it is to exceed that amount, thenthey would impose a reasonable fee. I believe the Hon Majority Leader hasexplained it satisfactorily for the record. Mrs Kusi-- rose --
Mr Speaker, could theychange “reasonable” to “prescribedadvance”?
I said that because all thefees would be prescribed, maybe, a list,like what you said they would say, that ifthis is the amount, then, you would paythis advance. So that everybody wouldunderstand the cost before they go aheadthat one-third or something would be paid.
Mr Speaker, what it is and Ibelieve that the Hon Majority Leader hasexplained, the intendment of the wholeclause is that, when you go, you wouldpay a fee and the fee you pay may just beenough to cover maybe reproduction ofthe information that you want. Mr Speaker,but let us say, if someone wantsparliamentary information and then youcome to Parliament and say I wantinformation on today's proceedings,obviously, it is the Hansard. But if beyond that you would want tohave audio-visuals of what transpired inthe Chamber, then you would have to payfor the cost of the audio-visuals. Andbecause maybe the information officermay not be able to say that it would costGH¢20.00, he then says make a deposit.When they finish and you come for yourinformation, if it costs us less than thedeposit you paid, then, there is a refundgoing down and you would see that thelaw has made provision for that.
So, who tells you how muchto pay?
The information officer wouldrequest you to put down a deposit. Thatis the intendment. Then when it is areceipt that you received from Parliament,he would give you a receipt that showsthat it cost you GH¢18.00 and therefore you have a change of GH¢2.00. This isbecause you cannot at all material timesdetermine the very nature of theinformation the person wants. It would beon case-by-case basis. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Hon ViceChairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 25, subclause (1), delete and insertthe following: “(2) A deposit required by a publicinstitution under subsection (1) isnot part of the application fee, andaccordingly a deposit paid inrespect of the application which isin excess of the amount which isnecessary to cover the costs ofproviding the information shall berefunded to the applicant.” Question put and amendment agreedto.
Yes, HonVice --
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 25, subclause (6), delete. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 25 as amended ordered to standpart of the Bill. Clause 26 -- Extension of time to dealwith an application
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (a),line 2, delete “documents” and insert“records” and repeat same wherever“documents” occur in the clause. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (1), paragraph (d),delete Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, subclause (2), delete and insertthe following: “(2) The period of extension shall notexceed fourteen days from the datewhen a decision on the applicationshould have been made, but theCommission may on an applicationin writing by the designatedinformation officer, grant a furtherextension period of not more thanfourteen days”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 26, add the following new sub-clauses: “(4) Despite section 23 (1), where anapplication relates to informationwhich reasonably appears to benecessary to safeguard the life orliberty of a person, the informationofficer shall, within forty-eighthours: (a) determine whether or not to grantthe application;
(b) notify the applicant of thedecision in writing, and (c) give the applicant access to theinformation where theapplication is granted. (5) Despite subsection (4), where theinformation requested containsthird party information, an applicantmay not be granted access to thatinformation until. (a) the time that the right of a partyto appeal against the release ofthe information has expired, or (b) an appeal lodged by the thirdparty has been determined. (6) Where upon the review of anapplication it does not appear to theinformation officer that the informationrequested reasonably appears to benecessary to safeguard the life orliberty of a person, the informationofficer shall within forty-eight hoursof receipt of the application: (a) give notice of the decision andreasons for the decision to theapplicant, and (b) inform the applicant that, subjectto the right of the applicant toapply to the Commission for areview, the information officershall make a decision with respectto whether to grant access to therequested information withinfourteen days.”
HonMembers, this is a long proposedamendment. I allowed it to be read outbecause of the importance of the Bill. So, I would pause for a second and seewhether anybody has any comment on it. Hon Minority Leader, I believe one ofthe longest amendments I have ever comeacross in this House has just been moved,that is on page 34 of the Order Paper. Iwanted everybody to be comfortable, thateverybody has been given the opportunity. Hon Vice Chairman of the Committee, Ihave drawn attention to it and so, let usstand it down. We would go to clauses 27and 28 and come back to it while HonMembers read it. Hon Members, on pages 34 and 35, anamendment has been proposed to clause26. It is a very long amendment and Iwould want Hon Members to address theirminds to it. But we shall continue and goto clause 27, which is not too detailed,then after that we would come back toclause 26. So, clause 26 has been stooddown. Clause 27 -- Refusal to process forfailure to pay deposit
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 27, subclause (1), line 2, delete “anadvance deposit” and insert “a deposit”and repeat same wherever “an advancedeposit” occurs in the clause. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move,clause 27, subclause (2), delete and insertthe following: “(2) Where an applicant, after thepayment of a deposit, fails to payfor the full cost of the provision ofthe information, the applicant shallnot be given access to theinformation and is not entitled to arefund of the deposit”.
Mr Speaker, why are wesaying a person may fail to pay fully?There might be circumstances that mightlead to a person not wanting it, and is hesaying the person would not be given themoney? Did he say it is non-refundable?It is not fair.
Mr Speaker, could myHon Colleague look at it from this angle?The institution that one is looking forinformation from did not force one to apply.But the law says because of the quantumor volume of the material that he might berequiring, he should pay for it and hemakes a deposit. Now, they go ahead to produce all theinformation for you and he decides hedoes not want it anymore, and that theyshould give him his deposit. He isforgetting that they have already investedin generating, the time, the energy and thecost of generating the material. Please, if it is going to be a loss, hemust also lose something. And in thisinstance, his deposit is the best to lose.This is because, rationally, it should haveeven been mandated to take it once herequested for it. This is because it mightbe genuine that, along the line, he nolonger needs the information, he wouldlose the deposit, and they would also keepthe information. And so in my opinion, itis a very fair amendment.
Mr Speaker,in my opinion, this proposed amendmentshould not be allowed to pass. Anybodywho seeks for information has thepurpose for so doing. It might be that atthe time the applicant applied for thatinformation, certain information was notin his or her knowledge. But perhaps, inthe course of time, new information might have come to his knowledge, which mightnecessitate the request for thatinformation again. Mr Speaker, should that happen, itdoes not mean that the applicant hadwasted the time of the agency involved inseeking the information. But if theapplicant could justify why he is nolonger interested in pursuing thatinformation, why should he or she bedenied a refund as if the person is beingpunished?
Mr Speaker, in my opinion,my Brother has got it all wrong. What weseek to do by this clause is to say that,yes, come, and pay your deposit. Whenyou pay your deposit and you do notcome for the information, you would loseyour deposit. One cannot pay for it, likeHon Kusi said. Clause 51 says that, at any point intime, when there is financial hardship forwhich a person cannot pay for theinformation he would want to access, theMinister is mandated to give the person awaiver. So, that covers what he is worriedabout. We are talking about those who at theonset are ready to pay for the information.They have come, put in a request and theperson thinks he does not need theinformation again. The only thing hewould do is that, he would not go for it,then he should also not go for his money.
Thepurpose of this amendment is to restraintroublesome intermeddlers, but at the sametime, we should not throw the baby out ofthe tub with the water, because on theother hand, it may also discourage peoplewho are not of means. Hon Muntaka wants to address that.
Mr Speaker, I do notsee the difficulty in this. A personrequests Parliament to give him theHansards. He says he wants the audios.The law says he should make a deposit.Assuming he is asked to make a depositof GH¢100.00, they go ahead to procure acompact disk (CD) --
Theygive him the audio and then he says hewants the visuals.
No! Then they gotall the recordings, and they are maybe 10CDs, then all of a sudden the person sayshe does not need them; they should givehim back his deposit. Parliament did notplan to procure those CDs. They aregoing to create auditing problems for thatinstitution. So, Mr Speaker, I think it is a fairamendment, it would make a personmindful, of the consequences of hisactions as he goes ahead to litigate or seekfor some volumes of information. Hewould know that there is some minimalcost, and if he is ready to go ahead andmake a deposit, he should be ready to takethe information or lose the deposit. Mr Speaker, it is just like visaacquisition. A person applies for a visa,he says because he has been denied, heshould be given back his money. Theywould say that they went through all theprocesses that would have led to theprinting of the visa, but they realised thathe did not qualify, so, they cannot refundhis money to him.
HonMuntaka, what is the title of the Bill beforeus?
The Right toInformation Bill.
Do wehave the right to visa?
Maybe, I am givinga wrong -- [Laughter.] I think it is important that we safeguardthe information, other than thatinstitutions would end up using all theirresources to reproduce information forlitigants; people might apply for theproceedings of Parliament from the 1st tothe 30th of June, and then the next daythey would come again and say they wantthe proceedings of Parliament from 1stApril to 20th April. We need to make sure that we narrowthe windows so that those who genuinelyneed information would acquire it and paysomething for it.
Mr Speaker, what they seekto delete is subclause (2), which saysthat “where an agency refuses tocontinue to process an applicationwhen the applicant has paid part ofthe advance deposit, the publicinstitution shall refund to theapplicant the part of the advancedeposit paid which exceeds the costincurred by the agency inprocessing the application”. I think that is better. If I have paidGH¢100.00, and all the trouble they havegone through, because I did not collect it,they have spent GH¢20.00, they could taketheir GH¢20.00 and give me the GH¢80.00,but if they say that because I did not comeback they are taking all the money, I thinkit is cheating.
Mr Speaker, My thinking is in sync with what HonKusi has said, because the person actuallyneeded the information. It could so be thatat the time the person needed theinformation, the essence and purpose for which the information was being soughthad elapsed, and so there would be nopoint in pursing further to get theinformation. So, it is only fair that if a person haspaid some money as deposit and theperson does not come back for theinformation, whatever amount that wasspent in processing the information, ifthere is change, it should be returned tothe person. I think that is fair. In a situation where the individualcannot pay because of financial hardship,then a caveat has been made in clause 51that he or she should apply to the Ministerfor that matter to be reviewed in order forthat information to be processed andgiven to the individual as a result ofhardship. But if it is a matter of havingmade some deposits, and then the agencyspends some money in the process, thechange should be returned to the person.
Hon JoeOsei-Owusu, then the Hon MajorityLeader.
Thank you,Mr Speaker. In this provision, we are looking atpersons who make deposits and for somereason refuse to continue with theprocess. It is not the practice anywherethat deposits paid for something, and forno fault on the part of the agencyproviding the information, the personrefuses to continue, he comes back andasks for a refund. Mr Speaker, in this case we want toavoid the situation where people who donot actually need the information wouldnot come and budge the informationofficers with --
That is right,spurious requests. Mr Speaker, we cannot take thisexample in the situation of a person whois indigent. If a person is indigent,provision has been made for him to takeadvantage. Here is a person who has determinedby his own self that he is capable, but forone reason or another, he is notcontinuing. I do not think we shouldencourage people to come back for arefund. In any case, the money would not beheld by the agency or the informationofficer. If the deposit is paid, theinformation officer would have paid it intoan appropriate account. If the informationofficer is asked to process and make arefund, we may have a situation wherepeople may be holding the money withthem with anticipation that somebodymay come back and want a refund. This amendment is proper, and I urgeHon Members to support it.
Let metake the Hon Majority Leader, then Iwould put the Question.
Thank you, Mr Speaker. Apart from that, the subclause --
I do notknow whether the Hon Majority Leaderwants to take the last bite of the cherry? I do not know whether he wants to bethe last to speak, so that I allow few moreHon Members to speak, then he wouldspeak last.
Hon Member, Hon W. O. Boafo, HonChairman, then the Hon Majority Leaderlast.
Thank you, MrSpeaker, once more. I would not want us to lose sight ofthe main objective underpinning this Bill.If it is eventually passed --
It is not aquestion of if; it is a question of when.When it is eventually passed --We arepassing it. We are working on it.
Very well, MrSpeaker. We are coming out with a law that wouldpromote good governance, and in sodoing, we should be careful not to put inclauses that would be very difficult forpeople to freely come forward to seek forinformation. Mr Speaker, I said that an applicant foran information at the initial stages, in hisor her opinion, would think that theinformation he is asking for is right andwould serve a purpose, but we should notforget that, perhaps at the time of doingso, certain genuine facts might not be incontemplation. In the course of time, if that happens,would it be fair to deny that person theentire deposit that he paid as if hedeliberately either misled the agency orwasted the agency's time? No! If anythingat all, it should be on a case by case basis.That is my reference and I think it is worthconsidering. So, this proposed amendment in myhumble view, Mr Speaker is too strongand too inimical to the interest of this Bill.
HonChairman of the Committee, Hon W. O.Boafo, and then Hon Majority Leader.
Thank you very much, MrSpeaker. I think that Hon Osei-Owusu made apoint, and from that perspective, I thinkthat it is a very simple matter. Where it is the agency -- that is theintendment -- where it is the agencywhich says that it would not continue toprovide the service, they would have torefund it, but where the agency hasfinished with the service and the personhas refused, or has come to say that hedoes not want the information again, thatis where we say that he forfeits whateverdeposit he kept there. Mr Speaker, it is clear and evident thatfor all material purposes, every law doesnot encourage busy-bodies in itsimplementation. The law is a seriousbusiness and when it is made, it is notintended for people to use it anyhow. Thatis why in the courts, when a person'sargument does not sound well to thejudges, they throw him off at a cost. I believe that with that philosophy --Yes, if the agency reneges on itsresponsibility to provide a person with theinformation at the time that he or shewants the information, the person can gofor his deposit. But where the person haselected that he does not need theinformation again after the agency hasgone through the torturous process ofgetting it, sometimes, outside that publicinstitution -- This is because sometimes,what the applicant needs can be accessedfrom another public institution. I think itis fair that the deposit should be retained.
Hon W.O. Boafo?
Mr Speaker, I thinkthat his proposed amendment runscontrary to the objective that we setourselves to pursue in passing thisparticular Bill under clause 1. In accordance with the amendmentwhich was proposed to clause 1, we seekto give access to information inaccordance with the accepted principlesof democracy. I think the way theproposed amendment is couched is veryundemocratic. Mr Speaker, we are trying to protectinstitutions more than the individuals whowill be seeking the information. Already,we have put certain weapons in the Billwhich allow deferment, transference etcetera and these may be used as weaponsto defeat the immediate access to --[Interruption.] -- Are we conversing orwhat? [Laughter.] -- Mr Speaker, we aretrying to deny immediate access to theinformation, and this is something whichwill defeat the purpose of the Bill. Mr Speaker, I think it is in accord withaccepted principles of law, that isquantum-meruit basis, or even wheresomething is frustrated, we do not throwaway the person's interest overboardentirely. We try to see whether the personcan be compensated in one way or theother. If the public institution incurs any costat all, I think that could be assessed andpart of the money paid to the personseeking for the information, part of themoney could be reimbursed or refundedto him. There should not be entireforfeiture of the deposit. We should findsome way out, whereby the person canget something out of what he has paid.Pro rata -quantum meruit. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Theintervention of the Hon Minority Leader,and then last but not least, the HonMajority Leader.
Mr Speaker,further to what the Hon Member forAkwapim North has stated, first, I wouldwant to indicate that this amendmentproposed by the Committtee, is at variancewith the provision in the clause 27 (2).This talks about a completely differentmatter from what the Committee isproposing. Clause 27 (2) provides, Mr Speaker,with your permission, I beg to read theoriginal rendition: “Where an agency refuses tocontinue…” It takes a cue from clause 27 (1), whichsays: “An agency may refuse to continueor to process an application…” Subclause (2) says: “Where an agency refuses tocontinue to process an applicationwhen the applicant has paid part ofthe advance deposit, the agency shallrefund to the applicant the part of theadvance deposit paid which exceedsthe cost incurred by the agency inprocessing the application.” Mr Speaker, that is completely differentfrom this proposed amendment, and I donot see the correlation at all. If theyproposed this as an addendum, and theywant it to be inserted after subclause (2),that is a different ball game altogether. Buthow do they tie that to subclause (2) which
they which seek to delete? Mr Speaker, itdoes not wash. I am surprised we aretrying to delete --
Readthe headnote, please.
Mr Speaker,the headnote says: “Refusal to process for failure topay any deposit.”
Thisshows that it is what -- I agree with you.
Yes. This isa different thing that they are proposing.It could stand on its own. It cannot comein place of subclause (2). So, they shouldplease consider that. It could be a differentamendment or an addendum that theywould want us to consider. But it cannotbe in place of subclause (2). Second, on the amendment itself, MrSpeaker, with your permission, I beg toread: “Where an applicant, after thepayment of a deposit, fails to payfor the full cost of the provision ofthe information…” The applicant pays for the provisionof the information. The amount that he orshe pays is for the provision of theinformation. I am talking about theconstruction. It should be: “Where the applicant after thepayment of a deposit, fails to paythe full cost of provision of theinformation…” We do not need the “for” there in line2 of clause 27 (2). This is because theapplicant pays for the provision of theinformation. That payment that he or she makes is in respect of the cost. The word“for” is not needed there. It should read: “Where the applicant, after thepayment of deposit, fails to pay thefull cost of the provision of theinformation, the applicant shall notbe given access to the informationand is not entitled to a refund of thedeposit.” Mr Speaker, the reason for the failureshould be investigated. For example, Imay not be the only person looking forsome pieces of information. I put in anapplication but unknown to me, anotherperson has sought the same informationwhich has been availed to him. Then alongthe line, I get to know that the informationthat I seek has been supplied to thatperson, so, I am able to access thatinformation instead of coming through anagency. I was asked to pay a deposit, Ihave done it, but the information that Iseek is already in the custody of a personthat I know, so, I do not need to continue. I would then go to the agency toinform them that unknown to me, theyhave already given the information tosomebody I know, so, I have been ableto collect it. They do not need to gofurther, so, can they make a refund to me,just like the original subclause (2) says?The agency covers the cost at processingat where it got to and make a refund tothe person. [Interruption.] Then the agency does not make it. Orperhaps, the agency says that -- This isbecause the cost of processing will befactored into the deposit. It cannot behigher. The agency cannot get midwayand say that they have spent more thanthe deposit they asked the applicant topay. If it is possible, then we are looking atsome subversion in the process ofprocurement of the information, if that iswhat you are doing, but I am not too sure. Be that as it may, if the cost is about thesame, then you will tell the person thateven where the agency has gotten to, theentire advance has been exhausted, sothey cannot pay him. That should bereasonable. I am saying that it should be possibleto make some refund, assuming that thecost of processing up to that stage isinsignificant. A person makes a depositof GH¢1,000.00, but the agency spentGH¢200.00. The applicant then gives theagency this reason or explanation, thatunknown to him, the information he waslooking for has been procured by, forexample, the Hon Majority Leader. I amthe Hon Minority Leader looking for theinformation and they know that. He has availed the information to me,so, they do not need to continue. Thenthe agency tells me that they have alreadyspent GH¢500.00, so, in that case, theywill make a refund to me. I did not knowyou could access the information fromthis man. I did not know he is your friend.So, please, have GH¢500.What is wrongwith it? Than to say that the agency willnot give him anything. I think that isunreasonable. So, we can borrow a leaf from theconstruction in subclause (2), and let itapply to the new amendment. First, I am suggesting to the HonChairman that he does not need to deletethe original subclause (2). This one thathe has proposed could stand alone. I thinkthat it is good, but let us further qualify it. Alhaji Muntaka --rose --
I wasgoing to recognise the Hon MajorityLeader, but I think that you should speak,then after that the Hon Majority Leaderwould speak.
Mr Speaker, on thefirst leg, carefully looking at it, I agree withthe Hon Minority Leader that thisamendment may have to stand as an addon, so that the subclause (2) would standas it fits in the Bill. This is because theissue of subclause (2) where it talks aboutthe person's refusal to continue with therequest for the document, as against whenthe person does not come up again, wherethe applicant, after payment of thedeposit, fails to pay for the full cost. I think they are two different issues.With this one, the person applies that hedoes not want you to continue; and theother one, the person says that he doesnot need the information again, aftermaybe, the process is completed. So, itmay have to be added on. My worry with the Hon MinorityLeader's suggestion that the way therendition is, just like in subclause (2) thatthe person says that he does not want it,and maybe the cost of procuring thedocument far outweighs the deposit,would the person be willing to pay thedifference in cost if he is no longerinterested in the Information ? What I would want to believe is that,the deposit had come, because at the timeof the application they were not certainhow much it would cost. So, the figurecould be lower or higher. When theinformation is given, definitely, we wouldmake provision for the person to be giventhe difference, after the document hasbeen procured. Where the person says he does notneed the information and the cost ofprocuring the document is higher thanwhat the person has deposited -- Is the
Mr Speaker, we are dealingwith two players -- we have the institutionand the applicant. Clause 27 deals with the institution andthe headnote is very clear -- “refusal toprocess.'' An application has been made,and the institution refuses to process; thatis what we deal with in clause 27. Clause 28 deals with “refusal toaccess.” That is different. The clause 27(2) needs a bit of a rendition and not justdeletion . What the Committee isprocessing is the conduct of the applicant.That is why the term used there is not“refusal”, but “failure”. So, with clause 27(1), the amendment we just took is all right,but we just need to refine the clause 27(2), then it should stay. With clause 27 (1), it talks about theinstitution refusing to continue to processan application, where the institution hasby notice demanded payment of thedeposit in relation to the application andthe applicant has not paid the depositwithin the time specified, which is givenhere as 14 days and so on. That is whatthey might refuse to process. The second one deals with theinstitution refusing to continue to processan application when the applicant has paidpart of the deposit. The agency shallrefund to the applicant, where the costthe agency has incurred is less than thedeposit. So, the applicant is entitled tothe re-fund, because we are not talkingabout the prescribed fees. We havefinished with it. Normally, when one goes for aHansard, they would say that this is thecost of the Hansard stated in law, so,one has to pay. But when one goes beyond theHansard to demand for audio, then theywould say that he should deposit GH¢20. Then they produce the audio and if it isGH¢15 and so, clause 27 says that refundthe GH¢5 to the applicant. That is correct.It should be refunded, because the costthey may have incurred is less than thedeposit the applicant has given them. I think the Committee should rathersay that: “where an institution refuses tocontinue to process an application whenthe applicant has paid part of the deposit,the institution shall refund to the applicantthe deposit paid, which exceeds the costincurred by the institution in processingthe application.” This is to clarify that. When we go to a different place, wewould deal with the conduct of theapplicant, which is what the Committeehas observed, that there is a gap, and sothey are proposing something for it. Clause 27 (2) should still stand but withthe new rendition.Clause 27 (3), has noproposed amendment, and clause 27 (4),which also has no proposed amendment, canflow sequentially. When we go to clause 28, we are dealingwith refusal of access. That is where, ifthey had already given a similar one tosomebody, by clause 28, they shoulddraw the applicant's attention that theyhave already processed that and it isalready in a particular department, archiveor library, so one could access it there. If he says no, he would want you todo it for him, and you say he shouldpay a deposit and it is paid, thenconsequentially one cannot say thatbecause the cost is above the deposit,he would not collect it. So, here, it comesin that, if one cannot pay for the additionalcost, then he is not ent it led to hi s depos it , because they would haveincurred more cost than the deposit paid. So, the proposed amendment will notproperly sit under clause 27. With your kind permission, if I canpropose an amendment to clause 27 (2)then we look at that later. It reads: “Where a public institution refusesto continue to process an applicationwhen the applicant has paid part ofthe deposit, the public institutionshall refund to the applicant the partof the deposit paid which exceedsthe cost incurred by the publicinstitution in processing theapplication.”
Mr Speaker,what the Hon Majority Leader sought toachieve was to delete in respect ofsubclause (2) the word “advance”. I donot see the relevance -- [Interruption.]That is what I heard. All right, but just totell you that you cannot delete “advance”from it. This is because it flows from “paymentof advance deposit” captured in clause25 and it has been used in clauses 25 and26 throughout -- [Interruption.] Youchanged it to “deposit”. I did not knowthat. If that is the reason, then I agreebecause I was looking at the reason.
Mr Speaker, apart from justmaking the consequential amendment withregard to “agency”, “public institution”,“advance deposit” to “deposit”, I alsodeleted at line 3 “the part of”. So, it reads: “refund to the applicant the depositpaid which exceeds the cost incurredby the public institution inprocessing the application”. Question put and amendment agreedto.
Mr Speaker,in clause 27, the original proposal fromthe Committee was that we deleted theoriginal clause 27 (2) and inserted this. Iwould have argued that it was notnecessary. Now, we have retained it. Areyou still calling for the amendment byinserting this before the Question is put?For clarity of --
Myunderstanding was that the Hon MinorityLeader, with the consent of the Committee,had replaced this amendment advertisedas (xv), with the new amendment with thepro viso that there were even othermatters within this advertised amendmentthat need to go to clause 28. I am sure that when it comes to clause28, they would also propose anamendment. That was my understanding.I stand corrected. Hon Majority Leader, if you can tell uswhat you did. Hon Majority Leader, am Icorrect?
Mr Speaker,that was the proposal but I think that itcannot be there because clause 28 is not“Refusal to access”.
HonMinority Leader, you are racing faster thanUsain Bolt. When we get there, we woulddeal with it because now, we are evengoing back to clause 26 which you stooddown. So, if you have no objection to thisnew clause 27 (2) on which I am about toput the Question -- That is what theyare dealing with now.
Mr Speaker,the issue was the one that I addressed tothe Committee, because they proposedthat it should be part of clause 27. In thatcase, are we standing it down until we getto clause 28. I suggest that it cannot find space inclause 28 because the headnote is“Refusal of access” -- How one could beexempted from accessing information. Itis not “Refusal to access”. What is hereis “Refusal to access” and not “Refusalof access”. That is why I am saying thatwe should consider it. The Committee should determinewhere it should be expressed. I think thatit should find place in clause 27 that youhave done, further to the tinkering thatmay be done to it.
I haveput the Question on the amendmentproposed by the Hon Majority Leader andthe amendment was agreed to. We havefinished with that. I was going to put theQuestion on clause 27 as a whole and yousaid that we must add another amendmentto clause 27 before we put the Questionon it as a whole. Can you suggest whatwe must add?
Mr Speaker, as I statedearly on, the proposed amendment by theCommittee would not find space in clause27 because it deals with processing --“Refusal to process or failure to paydeposit”. But what they have proposed,the process has completed. Theinformation is available; the person is topay additional cost and he says he cannotpay. That is what is happening in theproposed amendment. If you look at the import of thatamendment, it would come on access. Canthe person failing to pay the additionalcost access the information? That is whywhen you go to the second leg of theproposed amendment by the Committee,it says: “the applicant shall not be givenaccess to the information and is notentitled to a refund of the deposit”. The only place you can put that one isin clause 28 -- “Refusal of access”. Wewould not allow you access, because youhave failed to pay the cost required bythe processes. That is why I thought thatit would find space in clause 28, where wedeal with “Refusal of access”. The agencyrefuses the person access to theinformation because he has not paid forthe total cost. It is stated in clause 28 that the publicinstitution should give reasons to theperson why he is being refused access.That is the reason the public institutionwould give. Mr Speaker, you have done the rightthing. We have taken the decision onclause 27, and we would look at clause 28.The proposed amendment of theCommittee would find space in clause 28. Question put and amendment agreedto. Clause 27 as amendment ordered tostand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker,I do not doubt your ruling on that, butmay I call for a head count on this?
HonMinority Leader, are you sure?
Yes, MrSpeaker. Could we call for a head counton this?
Mr Speaker,I am convinced by the depth of the “Noes”votes and call for a head count.
But HonMinority Leader, I heard all the force fromonly one chair. The “noes” was loud butit was from only one chair and that is whatis confusing me. I asked the Clerks-at-the-Table, if it is clear on the face of the recordthat the “noes” have lost woefully --[Laughter.] This is because Hon MinorityLeader, I heard only one “noe”. Even with the assistance of themicrophone --
Mr Speaker,I am convinced and persuaded by theforce of the “noe” votes and I insist thatwe have a head count on this.
HonMinority Leader, do you seriously insistor you just insist?
Mr Speaker,either way, there is some insistence.
HonMinority Leader, I once went to court inCape Coast and after I had finishedarguing -- Prior to my arguing, I did nothave a lot of respect for the lawyer on theother side. When he started arguing, heused the cases I had referred to and gaveinterpretations which made more sensethan what I had given to the cases. When he finished arguing, the judge,whom I knew very well in Accra -- shewas in the Circuit Court in Accra and hadbeen transferred to the Cape Coast HighCourt. When I finished arguing, the judgeasked me, “So, Mr Ghartey, what shouldwe do?” I wondered, I was applying forinjunction; I had argued and my opponenthad responded. She was supposed to rule, so, whywas she asking me what to do? That iswhat I wondered for just a second. Then Irealised that the judge was telling me thatif I compelled her to give the ruling, shewould do so against me. So, I withdrewmy application.
Mr Speaker,in this House, truth is central to all thatwe do and the conduct of business in thisHouse does not float on the wings of longstories. [Laughter.]
Iremember that I once told an Ananse fableand then Hon Yieleh Chireh said that whilewe were doing serious Business, the HonJoe Ghartey was telling Ananse fables.The Hon Speaker was then the FirstDeputy Speaker; he asked me to continue. Indeed, it is not the length of the storybut its import. Let us do a head count. Question put and the House was counted. AYES -- 18 NOES -- 10 Resolved accordingly.
So, it wasnot the length of the story but theindication of what was to come that I wasadvising. So, the “ayes” have it upon thehead count. Or should we do secretballoting? [Laughter.]
Mr Speaker,with respect, what is the implication ofthis? If 18 people out of 275 vote for theMotion and 10 vote against it, what is theimplication?
Theimplication is that the head count hasbeen taken.
But what isthe meaning?
That thehead count has been taken.
Mr Speaker,the meaning is in respect -- [Interruption.]I am not coming from anywhere. I am comingfrom Accra.
Mr Speaker, for manySittings, I have watched the Hon MinorityLeader closely, and he has always pursueda certain position at the ConsiderationStage. I would be very grateful to hearhim whether he has decided to abandonthat position that he has been pursuingand even encouraging, that if we could,we amend our rules and probably theConstitution to take care of that. I just want to know whether he hasabandoned that because I see him todayusing rough tactics to get what he wants.
Mr Speaker,this House is a serious one when itconducts business. We do not resort torough tactics, much less, offensive words from a Junior Colleague in the House. Totell the Hon Minority Leader that he isusing rough tactics -- Mr Speaker, thatlanguage itself is very rough and raw andI think that it is most offensive. Before wecontinue, would the Hon Majority ChiefWhip, pursuant to decorum in this House,withdraw the offensive language and wecould make some progress thereafter?
Mr Speaker, I humblywithdraw that if he is offended. But I wantto remind the Hon Minority Leader thatthe rules of this House do not knowanything like Junior Colleague. We areHon Colleagues and that is what the rulesof this House say. Since he is talking aboutrules of this House, I think that it is alsoproper for him to use the proper andappropriate description. I withdraw, though I was speaking ona lighter note. But since he is offended, Iwithdraw and apologise to him. I think thathe should also use the appropriatedescription. The rules of this House donot know anything like “JuniourColleagues”. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker,the Hon Majority Chief Whip would knowthat --
HonMinority Leader, would you yield to theHon Ranking Member for the Committeeon Constitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs?
Mr Speaker,I did not see him rise. He is behind me. Iwould yield to him.
Mr Speaker, it is veryinteresting to see the front-bench engagein discussion about senior and juniorand not being recognised in the House ofpractices and conventions. Mr Speaker, I know that eachParliament is unique. The Parliament of theyears 2013 to 2016 is unique. However, inarranging the seatings, we recognisefront-bench, middle-bench and back-bench. That is why we have Leaders andLeadership and extended Leadership andback-bench. So, we may not have any rules writtenin our Standing Orders, but we recongiseLeadership; those who have been herelonger and we recognise experience andreward that by bringing one forward asone stays longer in the House. Althoughwe may not have such rules, we shouldnot in the heat of the moment, denigratethe proper traditions of all Parliaments. I urge my Hon Colleague to accept thatthere are senior Members of the House.I always recognise that and I bow to himeven though I am older. Thank you
Mr Speaker,I believe, to allow for conviviality, the HonMajority Chief Whip is an Hon Colleagueof the Hon Majority Leader, but herecognises that the Hon Majority Leaderis the primus inter pares as far as theMajority side is concerned. So, he is seniorto him. I do not see why we should bedeviating from the conventions andpractices of any established Parliament.Anywhere in the world, this kind ofarrangement is recognised. Mr Speaker, it is good that my HonColleague, and I refer to him as a juniorColleague -- Even in age, I am older thanhim. At school, I was far ahead of him andin Parliament, I preceded him. In hisconstituency; Asawase, he comes beforeus but in the reverse order, Suame is aheadof Asawase. But Mr Speaker, I think wehave now come back home.
A poem?I would not allow you to recite it --[Laughter] -- you just said we shouldnot share stories but you would want torecite a poem.
Mr Speaker,I am not going to recite a poem. I onlysaid that, if a vote is taken in the Houseand the ayes register 18 and the noesregister 11 --
HonMinority Leader, it is 10 for the records.
Mr Speaker,if it is 9 or even 20, what it means is that, itis short of the requisite number to take avote. I would rest it there. That is why Isaid that it has obvious implications. Iwould not pursue it further.
HonMinority Leader, I thought you said thisis a House of truth, so, once you rose, Ithought you would pursue it to a logicalconclusion. I am surprised you areapprobating and reprobating. Hon Minority Leader, what do youmean by what you just said?
Mr Speaker,when I asked you of the meaning of thevotes that the Chair had taken, you said“it means what it means”; a vote and ahead count had been taken. Mr Speaker, I would not want tocontradict the Chair.
HonMinority Leader, when I sit in the Chair, Isit in it as a referee and not a player. So, a head count has been taken. What does itmean? It means that a head count has beentaken. If there is another interpretation, Iwould recognise you, you would make yourpoint and we would debate it, and if weagree, we would take the vote on that orwe would agree to it. Please, tell us how you understandthat.
My understandingwas that, you asked for a head count aftera voice vote, you used your verypowerful voice as the Leader and got allthe Hon Members on your side to votefor you. It was 18 against 10. You askedwhat had happened and I said there hadbeen a head count.
Mr Speaker, I justwanted to add my voice to what the HonRanking Member for the Committee onConstitutional, Legal and ParliamentaryAffairs said, and to invite the Leadershipto help us maintain it in the House, thatwhere we derive our rules substantiallyfrom -- the House is not governed at alltimes by the rules, but also by customsand practices as they put it, secundumlegem et custodines Parliamenti. [Hear!Hear!] We must uphold that and I invite theHon Majority Leader to lead this kindlylight, so that we would maintain the richtraditions of our Parliament.
Mr Speaker, I do notknow whether it is a taboo for Hon Leadersto concede that when we do not have thenumbers to form a quorum and continuebusiness, proceedings should come to ahalt. Listening to the Hon Minority Leader,all the conclusions he wanted the Chairto draw was that, we do not have thenumbers to continue business. But try asyou have, you have not been able topersuade him to announce thatconclusion. Mr Speaker, following up on theargument made by the Hon MinorityLeader, I wish to draw your attention tothe fact that we do not have sufficientnumbers to constitute the quorum, so, Imove that Mr Speaker may bringproceedings to a halt.
Hon JoeOsei-Owusu, I do not know whether Ihave become a prophet. But as youentered the Chamber, I had thepremonition that being a strictconstructionist, you would raise thisissue. Every time you got up, I suspectedthat was the issue you were going to raise,but I recognised you and you have notdisappointed me. You have made myprophecy true and have convinced metoday that I am a prophet.
Mr Speaker, in thiscase, I am following up on the HonMinority Leader's conclusion.
I sensedthat you were resisting the temptation atthe time. The temptation was too great foryou.
Mr Speaker, the law onparliamentary practice is developed everyday and it is very complex. There is a verygood reason for that if one goes throughthe Standing Orders, the term is not even“Colleagues”. The term used is “HonMember” for a particular constituency ormy “Hon Friend” or “Hon Lady” or “HonGentleman”. This is because every Parliament isdifferent from the other previousParliament and that is why we have thesame conditions of service. But to get theorder of the Business and to have a very sane structure, we have positions andsome manage to be in those positions. A first timer could be a Leader and itwould be difficult for one now to refer tohim as a junior Colleague. That is thedifficulty. But as the Hon Minority Leadersaid, it was a very convivial atmosphereand I believe Hon Members were justtrying to stress off the fatigue by usingthose terms. My Hon Colleague and senior at theBar has used the parliamentary Latinmaxim, which is correct. And that is why Isay it is very complex. But the HonMajority Chief Whip felt a bit denigratedby the use of the expression, “juniorcolleague”. Therefore, by withdrawingand apologising to him, the Hon MajorityChief Whip requested that he does sameto him. This is because, if we are usingthe word, “colleagues”, then we arecolleagues. There is no senior or junior. Mr Speaker, if we talk about“Honourable” in terms of years of service,definitely, some of us have been herewhen others were not even born, and thatshould be recognised. But on the floor, Iwant to plead that — It really bringsaffinity in the House; that we see eachother as the same body — We are in thesame ship, and trying to develop aparliamentary institution. And until wehave a political class in this country, whichwe do not have now, we would have theseproblems that we have. They are professions and people arerunning away from seeing this as aprofession. So, in the body politics, eventhough as a country, we opted formultiparty democracy, people are runningaway from the term, “politics”. They look at politics as something bad— people would usually say, “You areplaying politics” — which means it issomething bad. And I think we have to
HonMajority Leader, before you move theMotion, you are also a much focusedMember of Parliament. Article 104 of the1992 Constitution of Ghana — that wasbeing urged upon us in so many words.What do you think we should do?
Mr Speaker, I believe youdo not intend to make a ruling, so, wewould go into it at the appropriate time sothat a ruling can be made.
Thankyou. But before we come to the end of theConsideration Stage, this is just for theconsideration of the Hon Chairman — Iwas reading ahead and looked at clause45 and noticed that there is no amendmentto it — we would not discuss it, but it isjust for the consideration of the HonChairman and the Committee — and itsays: “Right to a lawyer or other expert 45. A person who applies for accessto information, the informationofficer of the agency concernedand a person affected by anyproceedings under this Actwhether before a Minister or aCourt is entitled to be representedby a lawyer or an expert”. I was wondering whether an expert canrepresent a person in the court of law. Thisis because, under the Evidence Act —“Evidence by expert…” et cetera. It isprovided for. So, I do not know whetherthe Committee would look at it again. I amnot saying it is wrong, but maybe, tidy itup a little. I have seen that you have done a lot ofwork with the court. I noticed that youchanged ‘Supreme Court' to ‘High Court'et cetera, but there is no advertisedamendment to clause 45. I also looked atthe “Interpretation” and you have notdefined “expert”. Just look at it. This isjust a suggestion from the Chair. Hon Members, this brings us to theend of the Second Consideration Stageof the Right to Information Bill, 2013 fortoday.
Mr Speaker, I beg tomove, that this House stands adjourneduntil tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in theforenoon.
Mr Speaker,before I second the Motion, I believe it isimportant to make a remark on what theHon Majority Leader said about theconduct of politics in this country. TheHon Majority Leader suggested to usthat, politics is necessarily good and weshould make it so. Mr Speaker, let me just refer to whatthe Chambers 21st Century Dictionarydefines as “Politics”. It says, and I beg to quote: “Politics means, political activities,wrangling contest…”
“The move and manoeuvresconcerned with acquisition ofpower or getting ones way, forexample, in business, sports or dailysocial competition”.
“as the science or business ofmanaging public affairs upon thefoundation of set principles, aims,methods, structures..” Mr Speaker, the Oxford AdvancedLeaners' Dictionary also defines politicsas, and I beg to quote: “The activities involved in gettingand using power in public life and be able to influence decision thataffect a country or society”. Mr Speaker, these are various meaningsof politics. For a politician, the Chambers 21stCentury Dictionary again defines it as,and I beg to quote: “A politician is, someone engagedin politics, especially as a Memberof Parliament. But a politician canalso be used in a very derisivemanner and derogatory terms,especially in the USA”. Mr Speaker, the same Chambers 21stCentury Dictionary defines the politicianas, and I beg to quote: “Someone who enters politics forpersonal power or gain.” So, we must be careful where webelong and do what is right for ourcountry. Mr Speaker, on that note, I second theMotion for adjournment.
HonMembers, I do not know whether it is arider to the secondment, or a commentprior to secondment, after that veryextensive comment prior to secondmentfor the adjournment. Finally, the Motion has been movedand seconded. Question put and Motion agreed to.