VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS AND THE OFFICIAL REPORT
Hon Members, correc- tion of Votes and Proceedings dated Monday, 13th November, 2017. Page 1…15 --
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I am sorry for taking you back.
Hon Member, please, go on.
Mr Speaker, I was in the Chamber yesterday but I have been marked absent on page 8 of the Votes and Proceedings.
Noted, Hon Member. Thank you very much. Page 16…28 -- Hon Members, the Votes and Proceedings of Monday,13th November, 2017, as corrected is hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings. Hon Members, we have the Official Reports of Tuesday, 31st October, 2017 and Wednesday, 1st November, 2017, for correction.
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Tuesday, 31st October, 2017.]
[No correction was made to the Official Report of Wednesday, 1 st November, 2017]
Hon Members, item listed 3 on the Order Paper — Statements. Hon Members, we have a Statement on World Diabetes Day, which is today, standing in the name of Hon Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, Hon Member for Ledzokuku, to be supported by Dr Mark Kurt Nawaane, Hon Member for Nabdam.
Mr Speaker, I remain eternally grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to deliver a Statement on World Diabetes Day. Mr Speaker, the 14th of November of every year, since 2006, has been celebrated as World Diabetes Day. The 14th of November is picked to honour Sir Frederick Bantim (born November 14th, 1891), who together with other scientists conceived the idea that led to the discovery of insulin in 1922. World Diabetes Day became an official United Nations Day in 2006 with the passage of United Nations Resolution 61/225. Mr Speaker, diabetes (appropriately called Diabetes Mellitus) is a medical condition in which the glucose; that is, sugar level in the blood rises above normal levels. For our bodies to use glucose, the fuel that comes from the food we eat, the glucose must be transferred from the blood to our body cells to be used up as energy. The vital hormone that enables glucose to enter cells is called insulin, a hormone naturally produced in the pancreas. If for any reason the sugar/glucose remains in the blood, instead of moving into the body cells, a state of diabetes is established.
these are Insulin Dependent (Juvenile) Diabetes Mellitus and the Non-Insulin Dependent (Adult) Diabetes Mellitus. A third kind that occurs in pregnant women is called Gestational Diabetes. The Insulin Dependent Diabetes (IDD) type occurs early in life when the pancreas produces no insulin due to some disease condition. Affected individuals need to get exogenous insulin (insulin produced outside the body usually in laboratories) injection to help push sugar in the blood into the body cells. The type two diabetes also called adult diabetes or late onset diabetes is the most common type that occurs in adults, usually after age thirty (30). In these affected adults, the insulin is produced by the pancreas but the receptors in the body that must alert the body of insulin's presence in the blood, fail to do so because the receptors develop some resistance to insulin (reduced sensitivity). Most of these patients are put on oral medicines and not insulin injections. The anti-diabetic drugs help to increase the sensitivity of the receptors to insulin when it is released into the blood. Mr Speaker, Diabetes Mellitus can be present in our bodies without any sign or symptom. When the conditions persist and aggravate, the following symptoms might show up: Frequent urination Increased thirst Weight loss Nocturia (waking up several times in the night to urinate) Dryness in the mouth There are risk factors for Diabetes Mellitus. Prominent among them are: i. Aging (40yrs+) ii. Overweight iii. Family history iv. Sedentary lifestyle (limited or no physical activity) v. Unhealthy food consumption (consumption of energy dense foods, saturated fatty foods and red meat)
Mr Speaker, the theme of World Diabetes Day, 2017, is “Women and Diabetes -- Our Right to a Healthy Future”. Mr Speaker, there are currently 199 million women living with diabetes globally and it is projected to increase to 313 million by 2040. one in seven births is affected by Gestational Diabetes (GDM), a severe and neglected threat to maternal and child health. Mr Speaker, globally, 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from 4.7 per cent to 8.5 per cent in the adult population ( Global Report on Diabetes -- World Health Organization). The global burden of the disease affects both sexes significantly, with adults suffering complications such as: sexual dys- function, heart and Kidney problems, visual impairment if not managed properly for the Diabetes Mellitus condition. Mr Speaker, although diabetes associated health complications affect both men and women, women have been centred for this year's awareness day so as to throw light on gestational diabetes and other challenges women face in society in their efforts to access healthcare and overcome inherent structural arrangements that discriminate against women when it comes to equitable and universal access to health. Gestational diabetes is a condition in which a woman with no history of diabetes develops increased blood sugar level in the blood beyond the normal blood sugar level as a result of pregnancy. Affected pregnant women usually experience a rise in the blood sugar during the last three months (3rd Trimester) of pregnancy. The increased sugar levels can lead to loss of the baby's life or result in an oversized baby that is difficult to deliver through natural spontaneous vaginal delivery. Gestational diabetes can be detected early and treated through effective ante-natal clinic (ANC) services. Through the ante-natal visits, pregnant women with raised blood sugar levels can be identified early and treated to prevent miscarriages, still births and labour complications arising out of big babies born to poorly managed diabetic mothers. Mr Speaker three out of nine Ghanaians suffer from diabetes, with about four million Ghanaians living with Diabetes Mellitus (GHS, 2016). This remarkably worrying phenomenon of diabetes comes with so many complications such as: stroke, kidney disease, vascular disease, visual impairment and heart disease. Management of these diabetes related complications come at so huge a cost that the nation is better off investing in prevention and effective treatment, combined with an aggressive national educational campaign on Diabetes Mellitus. Mr Speaker, in addition to the national educational campaign, I recommend the following: I. All pregnant women must have their blood sugar levels checked especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester II. The National Health Insurance Scheme must consider highly subsidised treatment for women with Gestational Diabetes. III. All pregnant women should have their 3rd trimester blood sugar level checked together with that of their husband's (Coupled Testing Regime). Mr Speaker, through such a policy, every man who is unaware of his blood sugar would get to know, when he gets tested during a trip to the ante-natal clinic with the partner. Such a policy would get as many men as possible to support their women, while getting to know their own sugar levels. The man who gives the best support to the partner with Gestational Diabetes is the one who has received education on diabetes and has been tested himself. Mr Speaker, increased physical activity is one area of our lives that requires some improvement and effort. The Job 600 Parliamentary Gymnasium has become more necessary now than any other period in our lives. This is because research has shown that the most effective form of physical activity is the one that is integrated into the structure of the workplace and dovetailed into our routine daily activities. Mr. Speaker, Diabetes Mellitus can be prevented, and effectively managed. “The time to know and live healthy is now”. I am very grateful, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity.
Hon Member, thank you for this very well-researched Statement. Yes, Hon Member for Nabdam? Mr Haruna Iddrisu —- rose --
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Member for Nabdam is not immediately in the Chamber. If it pleases you, we may want to comment on the Statement. If he does have the opportunity to join us, he can as well contribute to the Statement by also commenting on it, relative to his own Statement. Thank you.
Thank you, Hon Minority Leader. Dr Sandaare —- rose --
Hon Member, you may contribute.
Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Statement made by the Hon Dr Okoe Boye on this year's World Diabetes Day. Mr Speaker, diabetes, as my Hon Colleague has read, is one of the diseases that is a silent killer. It is a disease that is an example of the human body suffering in the midst of plenty, meaning that there is sugar or glucose but the human body cells cannot get the sugar in order to function properly. Diabetes is one of the many serious diseases that we have in this country that needs attention. It is important we educate the public on diabetes on this particular day which has been dedicated for that matter. Mr Speaker, one of the challenges we have in this country concerning diabetes is that people report late because the symptoms are recognised late. Once they report late with complications, many a time, we lose these lives. More importantly, the day is dedicated to women with diabetes, which is important when they are pregnant and the need for
Mr Speaker, I rise to congra- tulate my Hon Colleague, the Hon Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku, for bringing to the attention of Ghanaians one clinical entity which is wreaking havoc on the populace. Mr Speaker, diabetes is a known clinical entity and has been with us for a long time. But the prevalence is increasing in the developed world, and as we are in a demographic transition, in tandem with other non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, its prevalence is on the rise and it has a lot of implications for Ghanaians. Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that we do public education because diabetes is an incurable disease and can only be managed. Indeed, if left alone, a patient can transition and earn all the complications thereof. For example, if one has unmanaged diabetes or a badly managed diabetes, the person can have chronic retinopathy which can affect the eye and make that individual blind. Mr Speaker, again, one of the commonest complications of diabetes is what we call “diabetic foot” which in this sense affects both the skeletal and soft tissues, especially, those in the lower limbs, the feet and invariably, could lead to amputation and a very debilitating condition indeed. Mr Speaker, invariably, for anybody who has diabetes terminally, it leads to hypertension. A lot of them also die because of renal failure, which is failure of the kidneys. Mr Speaker, in sum, when one has diabetes and it is not managed well, the quality of life is degraded and life as it were, is then not too useful, especially, to oneself and society. M r S p e a k e r , i n t h i s s e n s e , s i n c e d i a b e t e s c a n b e p r e v e n t e d , o r e v e n i f o n e h a s i t , c o u l d b e w e l l m a n a g e d , w e h a v e t o a d o p t a n a t i o n a l p o l i c y w h i c h e n c o u r a g e s p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y . T h i s i s b e c a u s e i t i s w e l l k n o w n , e s p e c i a l l y , i n a l l t h e v a r i e t i e s o f d i a b e t e s , t h a t e v e n t h o u g h t h e r e i s a g e n e t i c p r e d i s p o s i t i o n t o i t , i f o n e e n g a g e s i n p h y s i c a l a c t i v i t y , t h e p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t o n e c a n c o n t r a c t i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y r e d u c e d . Again, it is also well known that if one takes a very balanced diet, especially, with emphasis on vegetables and greens in general, diabetes is ameliorated and one could lead a very healthy life. Mr Speaker, before I take my seat, I would want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that, in terms of healthcare financing, because diabetes is a very debilitating disease, it consumes a lot of resources, especially, human resource in terms of clinical attendance at clinics and demand on nurses and doctors time. Again, in terms of financing, the management is very expensive, therefore, we are all better off in adopting a preventive posture, and indeed, a preventive regime, so that we can stop a lot of the incidents of diabetes, reduce the health burden on patients and also the financial burden on society as a whole. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would want to congratulate the Hon Member for Ledzokuku for bringing to the attention of this House, such an important day.
Mr Speaker, thank you for permitting me to make this contribution to ‘The World Diabetes Day' -- 14th November. Mr Speaker, an estimated number of 415 million people worldwide are living with diabetes. That is a number bigger than the population of the United States of America (USA), which stands at 375 million. In Ghana, the estimate is at four million people living with diabetes and it is the sixth most frequent cause of death. In the year 2015 alone, about 266,200 cases were recorded. Complications as regards diabetes can be varied because all the organs are involved, If we take the pancreas, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, skin and even the extremities. Diabetes and associated chronic conditions rapidly emerge as major health problems as we assume a middle-income status and live affluent lifestyles. Mr Speaker, the major problems in the management of diabetes are the cost of drugs. Most patients cannot afford to purchase them. The cost of insulin from a reputable pharmacy is GH¢40 and the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) offers the health facilities GH¢41 and that is a difference of GH¢1. How would it encourage the health facilities to stock insulin? Indeed, the average cost of insulin for a patient is about GH¢150 a month and if we take those whose incomes are within the lower brackets, that is GH¢400; we are talking about 30 per cent of their income being taken to buy insulin. Mr Speaker, diabetic patients need to be on a special diet or on some specific diet. In Ghana, most of our dishes contain a lot of oil and even though we have a lot of good foods such as plantain, brown rice or even the unpolished rice, cocoyam, vegetables, kontomire, garden eggs, aleefu, et cetera, we have abandoned them for imported foods such as polished rice, spaghetti and different kinds of oils that are implicated as contributing to high cholesterol levels, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Mr Speaker, Ghana has become a nation whose its citizens do not exercise. The traffic jams, the lack of pavements in the construction of our roads, open spaces and parks suggest that we are not ready to exercise.
Mr Speaker, thank you. I would like to congratulate the two Hon Members for their contributions towards the World Diabetes Day. I would like to also make a contribution to the Statement. As regard the School Feeding Programme, the food that would be prepared for the children would be appropriately assessed by dieticians in order to make recommendations regarding the best type of nutrition to provide, as well as continuing the assessment of the food that the children are being fed with in order to decrease the chances of childhood obesity which have become quite high now in our society and across the globe. There is an increase in the consumption of sweet beverages in children as well as grown-ups which has contributed to weight gain, therefore, also increased the risk of diabetes which happens as a result of weight gain. There is a condition called metabolic syndrome which was discovered two decades ago which is a condition that the risk increases with age. It is usually a combination of various factors, including insulin resistance, high blood pressure and abdominal girth and also clotting issues. Mr Speaker, the issue with this is that in order to identify people who are at risk of diabetes, doctors or public healthcare practitioners could identify people who have big bellies or excessive abdominal fats in our society. Mr Speaker, I would like to suggest that when the gym finally opens in Parliament, Hon Members should make it part of their routine to attend, at least, three times a week and train for at least an hour every time in other to decrease the risks of high blood pressure and weight gain which are associated with diabetes, in order to ensure that their health and wellbeing are not at risk because of taking up this role of representing their constituents. This is because Hon Members are here to represent their people, therefore, health is important for all Hon Members to participate actively and represent our people appropriately. Mr Speaker, with those few words, I would like to say thank you.
Hon Members, thank you very much. That would bring us to the end of Statements. At the Commencement of Public Business -- item numbered 4. Hon Chairman of the Committee on Finance?
Mr Speaker, item numbered 4 on the Order Paper is with the printers, so if it could be stood down then we could take item numbered 6.
Hon Members, item numbered 6 -- Motion.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the joint Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy on the Semi-Annual Report of the Bank of Ghana on the Petroleum Holding Funds, and the Ghana Petroleum Funds for the period July 1 - December 31, 2016. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I beg to present your Committee's Report. Introduction The Semi-Annual Report of the Bank of Ghana on the Petroleum Holding Funds and Ghana Petroleum Funds from 1st July to 31st December, 2016, was first presented to the House on 22nd February, 2017, and referred to the Joint Committee on Finance and Mines and Energy for consideration and report. The Committee met with the Deputy Governor, Dr Millison Narh, and officials from the Bank of Ghana to consider the Report. Documents referred to The Committee referred to the following documents when considering the Report: 1. 1992 Constitution of Ghana 2. Standing Orders of Parliament 3. Petroleum Revenue Manage- ment Act 2011, (Act 815) Background Since the discovery of oil in the country, there have been calls for tighter regulatory framework to ensure that there is proper and responsible management of petroleum revenue to deliver the best possible future for Ghanaians. Most oil-producing countries have put in place a legislative framework to guide the collection, use and management of their petroleum revenue. International best practice is that the revenue management law should be simple, transparent, and flexible, yet rules-based with the view to ensure greater fiscal discipline. It is in this light that the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, 2011, was passed to provide for a framework that will guide the efficient collection, allocation and management of petroleum revenue for the benefit of current and future generations of Ghanaians and also to ensure that the overall management of petroleum revenue is based on sound, sustainable fiscal policies that transcend political regimes.
Hon Chairman, thank you very much. Anyone to second the Motion?
Order! Question proposed.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion ably moved by the Hon Chairman of the Finance Committee. Mr Speaker, some pertinent issues were raised in the Report. The first to note is that, as required by the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, this Report was supposed to have been submitted in August, and we are in November. It is important that we keep to the spirit of the Act, so we could send this Report to Parliament as the law requires. Mr Speaker, the second important issue that has been raised has to do with the issue of surface rental. From the revenue realised from surface rental, we could only see Tullow Oil Plc and Amni International Petroteum, but we have a lot of companies that are required to pay these surface rentals. It is important that we enforce the law and make sure that these companies pay for these rentals on time. the Petroleum Commission that is mandated to enforce the law must be encouraged by the Ministry to ensure that these companies pay these rentals on time. Mr Speaker, thirdly, we note that the income from crude oil lifting declined, and there are a lot of factors underpinning this. One was the damage to the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) Kwame Nkrumah. We have been informed that repair works still continue, but it is very important that they are quickly done so that we could see an increase in crude oil lifting. Mr Speaker, it is also very important to note, that the lifting on the Tweneboa, Enyenra, Ntomme (TEN) fields was very limited because there were restrictions on how many oil wells could be drilled. On the face of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) ruling, we hope that we would see the oil lifting on the TEN fields increase as well. Mr Speaker, another important point that was made and has been stressed, was that Act 819 prescribes very conservative instruments for the Ghana Stabilisation Fund and the Heritage Fund. It is very important that there is some flexibility in the Act to allow the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to have the flexibility to invest in the instrument that could bring more revenue to the State. Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Report and urge Hon Members to approve it.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion. Mr Speaker, this issue has become topical because the returns on the investment have been recurring over the years. Mr Speaker, the problem they have always complained about is that they are constrained by the provisions of the Petroleum Revenue Management (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 815), as to which type of instrument the moneys could be invested in. If there is a asdd constraint, why should we just be discussing it? They should bring a provision for us to amend the law, so that we could open it up to enable us get maximum returns. Such request should not come from Parliament. It should emanate from those who are finding it difficult to do the investment. Mr Speaker, it is quite strange that we go to the international market to borrow at a rate of 19.5 per cent and we go and then invest ours at 1.9 per cent. If we are keeping the money for the future, and at this point, we are not making any proper returns, we must as well start spending it because, as we often say it, the future is now. If we keep the money there and we would not get any returns, and we are not using it for the benefit of the future generation, it is not worthy keeping the amount in our books. So, in my opinion, the talks should come to an end, and the request to vary the terms of investment and the instruments we could use should quickly come to the House. There are so many Acts that we bring in the morning and even pass by evening. So, this could be done as quickly as possible so that as a nation, we could make good returns on the fund. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Deputy Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Motion and thank the Committee for the Report. Mr Speaker, the Report is, however, misleading, and I would want the Hon Chairman of the Committee to pay attention, take note and correct this before we approve the Motion.
Is it some part of the Report? Are you talking about some part of the Report that is misleading or you are talking about the Report as a whole being misleading?
Mr Speaker, it is portion of the Report because if we approve it in this form --
Very well. But you should not intend to say the whole Report is misleading.
Mr Speaker, let me make my point, then we could come to that conclusion.
I would want to know, from what we are doing, are you speaking to a portion of the Report or it is the entire Report which you would want to support and which you said is misleading?
Mr Speaker, I am speaking to the part of the Report that is misleading.
Thank you very much.
Mr Speaker, Table 1 gave us the other income of US$27,380,975.07. If we add this to what is in paragraph 5.1, which gave us a total of US$93,386,976.03, it gives us a total of US$141.88 million. That is the total income from the petroleum revenue. Mr Speaker, now, when we go to the allocation of this amount, which is in United States dollars, in Table 2 on page 31 of the Report, currency sign is in Ghanaian cedis. So, which of them is the right amount? That is why I said the Report was misleading.
Any other contribution, Minority Leadership?
Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion and to urge our Hon Colleagues to support it. In doing so, I would want to be guided by the Breakfast Forum this morning, that Parliament must begin under your leadership to be decisive in demanding what we think is right for this country. Mr Speaker, if we read your Committee's Report, page 3, paragraph 6.0, it reads, and I would appreciate linking it to your comment this morning: “The Committee expressed concern on the low rate of return on these investments. It was of the view that if the purpose for setting up the two funds are to be realised, there is the need to review the Act 815…” Mr Speaker, having listened to contributions, I would urge you to accordingly direct, giving time limits, the Ministry of Energy to come to Parliament with a revision of the law, in order that the investment on the instrument would better serve our purpose and the country's need. It is not enough for the Committee to come and say we should just review Act 815. Which part of the law do they want us to review? Is it the investment by the BoG? Mr Speaker, therefore, I am guided by your spirit from this morning's Breakfast Forum, when we conclude and adopt this Report, we should give time limits so that the Ministry of Energy, with its stakeholders, would come before this House. Mr Speaker, my second comment is that, if we go back again to page 2, paragraph 5.1 with your permission, I read: “The Committee was informed that during the second half of the year ending December, 2016, total lifting amounted to US$93,386,976.03…” Mr Speaker, as we are aware, the President launched the novel Free Senior High School Education on the 12th of September, 2017, at Okuapeman Senior High School. The President publicly stated that we would be relying on oil revenue in order to finance the Free Senior High School Education. Mr Speaker, given this trend, it is worrying how we may be able to adequately finance the free Senior High School Education if we rely on the oil revenue. That is why the revision of the instrument for investment becomes imperative and a matter of urgent action. Mr Speaker, the concern is that we do not control the prices of crude oil as a country. Neither are we a major producer of oil. Therefore, we should be looking for other sources of revenue to support this particular initiative. Mr Speaker, again if we look at the sharing formula of the Annual Budget Funding Amount and the use of it, I am sure when we have cause to consider other reports, we would look at it.
Thank you very much, Hon Minority Leader. Yes, the Majority Leadership?
Mr Speaker, I believe the concern of the Hon Deputy Minority Leader should be taken care of. Mr Speaker, this is just an issue of the Ghana cedis (GH¢ ), instead of the United States dollars (US$) --
Hon Chairman, if it has been corrected and you have realised that and you have accepted it, then do it in a proper way. It is not “just”. In short, please, do not trivialise.
Mr Speaker, I seek your leave to amend column 1, row 3 of Table 2. The amount should be in the US$.
Thank you very much. This means you pray that it should be corrected accordingly.
Mr Speaker, I pray that it is corrected accordingly.
So, GH¢, should be changed to the US$.
Yes, Mr Speaker, GH¢, should be changed to the United States dollars, (US$).
Hon Deputy Minority Leader, does that represent what you intended to have corrected?
Mr Speaker, exactly so.
The correction is therefore done accordingly. I would put the Question. Question put and Motion agreed to. Hon Members, we would move on to Resolution.
Mr Speaker, respectfully, there is no Resolution on this one. This is just the Committee's Report.
Which is the next Motion?
Mr Speaker, the next item is numbered 10.
Is it item listed number 10? [Interruption] -- Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we would rather go on to the item numbered 11 on page 7 of today's Order Paper.
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, the Hon Majority Leader has indicated to the
Hon Members, the Hon Chairman of the Committee is drawing attention to the information being given to the House. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, before entering the Chamber, I met my Hon Colleague, the Chairman of the Finance Committee in the corridors of Parliament, and he said something to me that I really did not understand. He said that today, I have purposed to cause internal bleeding. I did not understand the import of that statement. Mr Speaker, I would want to tell my Hon Colleague that I am in charge of Government Business. [Hear! Hear!] He is not. Mr Speaker, the inherent application that I made was that we vary the Business of the day to go on to item numbered 11. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Hon Members, we would move on to the Consideration Stage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017. Is the Hon Chairman of the Committee available?
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Resumption of debate from 13/11/ 2017.]
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 72, subclause (1), line one, after “is”, insert “being investigated”. So the provision then reads: “Where a person is being investigated charged with a corruption or corruption related offence under this Act, the person may inform the Special Prosecutor whether that person admits the offence and is willing to make restitution of the proceeds realised from the commission of the offence.” We do not want the plea bargaining to be made for persons charged and being prosecuted before court only, but also where a person is subject to investigation and has not been charged yet and he or she is willing to make a plea bargain. That person has the opportunity to make the plea bargaining with the Special Prosecutor when the matter has not proceeded to court or where he or she has not been charged yet. That is the essence of this proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the amendment, but with your leave, to ask the Hon Chairman why he wants “that person” and not “accused person”? In his reading, he used “that” but in the Bill, it is “accused person”. [Interruption] No, but even that, read the opening words of clause 72 (1) well -- “Where a person is charged”. So, the person has been charged. Mr Speaker, the insertion I wanted to add with your leave would be, “where that person admits guilt of the offence”. Article 19 of the Constitution is important. We still presume that a person is innocent. So, I would want to add, “admit guilt of the offence” as addition to yours.
This would be very important for the records. From that time, one is a convicted person and at the end of it, it makes one guilty before the law. Hon Chairman of the Committee, if you would kindly follow the argument. The Hon Minority Leader wants it to be very clear that, that particular person has essentially admitted his guilt, then you proceed. Hon Minority Leader, is that the essence of it? Hon Minority Leader, if you would please address your attention to me. Hon Minority Leader, are we on the same wavelength?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. The Hon Majority Leader indicated to me this morning that there was winnowing. Sincerely, I was not part of it so, I would yield to the Hon Deputy Ranking Member, Hon Dr Ayine. I hear there was some understanding on this clause.
Mr Speaker, I believe the agreement at the end of the day for clause 71 (1) was to go as indicated in the proposed amendment that stands in my name and it follows. Mr Speaker, if I may move it.
Hon Members, shall we carry one business together? Those who have other views would have them stated. I will not interrupt him at this stage. Please, go on.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 72, subclause (1), delete and insert the following: “(1) A person charged with corruption or a corruption-related offence may voluntarily (a) admit the offence and make an offer of restitution; or (b) admit the offence and offer to provide information that will aid in the arrest and prosecution of other persons whom he knows have committed or are about to commit corruption or a corruption-related offence.” Mr Speaker, the rationale here is that plea bargaining should not necessarily be focussed only on the restitution of the proceeds and that if the person has information that may be useful in the prosecution of other persons who were involved in the corruption or corruption related offence, that may be useful to the State so that we can punish corruption more comprehensively rather than just focus on retrieving the proceeds of corruption. That is why the proposal was made.
Mr Speaker, he corrected himself. I was giving information. He started by saying clause 71 (1) and I was just bringing it to his notice but he corrected himself.
No. Mr Speaker, from the outset, I wanted to draw attention that at the winnowing, it was agreed that the Hon Chairman should drop the amendment that was being proffered by the Committee, to allow for the proposal by the Hon Dominic Ayine to be moved in its stead. So, now it has been done -- As we are looking at two strands, I believe the further amendment that is required is to provide for a person being investigated but has not been charged yet. So, Mr Speaker, subject to the approval of Hon Dominic Ayine, I would want to suggest that we further amend his own proposal to read: “A person being investigated in or charged with corruption or a corruption-related offence may voluntarily …”.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, are you agreeable?
Mr Speaker, that was the understanding in the morning. So, I will drop --
Hon Chairman, please, let us forget what happened earlier. We have travelled a distance and we have got to this far. Are you agreeable?
Rightly so, I am in agreement, except to also propose a further amendment or to improve upon what has been stated so far. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, after “a person”, insert “under investigation or”. So, it would read: “A person under investigation or charged with corruption or corruption related offence may voluntarily …”. With respect to the same proposed amendment to clause 72 (1) (b), I would want to further suggest an amendment. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, after ‘to' insert, ‘make restitution and' So, the new rendition would be: “A person under investigation or charged with corruption or a corruption related offence may voluntarily (b) admit the offence and offer to make restitution and provide information that would aid in the arrest and prosecution of other persons.” Mr Speaker, the rationale behind it is that the first one has to do with the person making the offer of restitution. That is an option. The second scenario is where the person is providing the information, but we do not want the person to provide the information simplicita. If the person has in his possession a certain property that the person has acquired out of corruption or corruption related offence, the person, in addition to providing the information, must also make restitution of that property. That is the rationale behind the proposed amendment being effected under paragraph (b). So that the person would not have the option of either making the restitution or providing the information and going scot-free. Paragraph (b) takes care of providing the information, and in addition, making restitution of the property.
Thank you very much. Yes, Hon First Deputy Speaker?
Mr Speaker, if you consider the subsequent clauses, you would see that the plea bargain offer is not automatic. The Special Prosecutor would consider and decide whether to accept or not. But we have two scenarios - where the person has information to offer instead of restitution and then, where the person has restitution. So, the Special Prosecutor would decide whether the information the person has to offer is substantial enough to let him forgo the restitution. For example, if my driver has benefited and they arrested him, and he bought a small two bedroom house and he is willing to provide information on me, which would lead them to the gargantuan benefit, the choice would then be to determine whether they would accept to use the information he has and forgo the small benefit and come after the gargantuan one. So, if we make it ‘and', then there is no incentive to provide him with the information after they have taken the restitution from him. So, I think the further proposed amendment should be dropped so that we have the two standing independently of each other. I thank you, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, to further support Mr First Deputy Speaker, the amendment that has been filed by Hon Dr Dominic Ayine, and adopted by the Hon Chairman for and on behalf of the Committee, already states in clause 72 (1) that; “A person under investigation or charged with corruption or corruption related offence, may voluntarily admit the offence and make an offer of restitution”. It is already captured in subclause (1). So, if we repeat it in subclause (b), it is a repetition. We do not need to repeat it. I just want to draw the Hon Member's attention to it.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, how do you marry the two?
Mr Speaker, I have taken a cue from my Hon Colleagues and would accordingly withdraw my proposed amendment in respect of paragraph (b) of clause 72. Thank you.
So that the end result would be what? Then we would know exactly what Question we are putting.
Mr Speaker, so that the end would be, that the status-quo remains. We are not changing or adding anything in respect of paragraph (b) as proposed in Dr Ayine's proposed amendment.
Mr Speaker, the amendment would then be as follows: “A person under investigation or charged with corruption or corruption related offence, may voluntarily
Hon Chairman of Committee, there is a further amendment standing in the name of Dr Dominic Ayine. Dr Ayine, would you want to argue for that proposed amendment?
Mr Speaker, I think I have already provided the rationale for the proposed amendment.
The amendment listed (ii)?
Mr Speaker, that is what I just moved. Item numbered (iii)? Sorry, Mr Speaker. There is some distraction coming from the back.
“(2) Where a person under investigation or charged with corruption or a corruption- related offence admits the offence and makes an offer to provide information in accor- dance with subsection (1) (b) of this section, the information shall be provided confidentially to the Special Prosecutor and the Court.” Mr Speaker, the rationale here is that because it is information that may lead to the apprehension of the person that has committed or is about to commit an offence, if it is not provided confidentially to the court and the Special Prosecutor, it may lead to a situation where the potential criminal may escape the hands of justice. That is why it has to be provided confidentially, probably, in chambers to the Special Prosecutor and the Judge.
Hon Chairman of Committee, do you have any problem?
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, I am in support of the amendment proposed, save to say that I would offer a further amendment of the phrase “admits the offence”. This is because, once we have introduced “under investigation”, it means that the person might not have been charged of any offence but would admit to his guilt of the investigation that would lead to the charge of the offence. Like it is constitutionally couched in article 19 (2) (c) of the Constitution, which says; with your permission: “be presumed to be innocent until he is proved or has pleaded guilty”. So, you would plead to your guilt and not the offence. This is because sometimes, you would have committed an offence without the mens rea -- there is no ill motive -- but the offence would have been committed. You could be charged with an offence but the prosecution could fail to prove the offence. Even though the commission would have taken place, mens rea has not been established. We said that the person is willing to plea bargain even when he or she is under investigation, so it is his or her guilt that he or she admits and not the offence. This is because we have introduced “under investigation” in addition to when he is charged. Once we bring those two processes together, then the admission cannot be to a charge but to his guilt. That is my humble position on the matter.
Mr Speaker, we non-lawyers think that if you plead guilty, it must be to an offence, otherwise, what do you plead guilty to? I am not a lawyer but the common sense of pleading must be guilt to something. You must plead guilty to something because you cannot just plead guilty. To what? It is Achimota English.
Hon Member, do you appreciate Achimota English?
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, law is a bit more technical than plain English. When we speak of an offence, the offence must have been committed and taken place. We are looking for the ill motive, mala fide or mens rea. Did the person have the ill motive? It is only when you can marry the mens rea with the actus reus -- the occurrence of the offence -- These two must meet before you can establish an offence. When a person is under investigation, he or she comes voluntarily to say that, even before the investigation is concluded, to establish whether an offence could be slapped against him or her, he or she admits to certain things. It is his or her guilt and he or she is yet to be charged. When you go into the matter, he or she shall be guilty, so he or she would want to plead with you at this level to settle the matter quietly and exchange certain things. That is the essence of bargaining, so that we do not go through the full rigours of trial before we could establish what has been admitted. That is the wisdom I bring to the debate, that “admit to offence” would have been sufficient if we had maintained “charge”, but we said “under investigation”. “Under investigation” means that even before it is concluded and the person is charged appropriately, that person would be able to admit to certain things. That is why I said that, like the framers of the Constitution couched it, it can only be to your guilt and not to an offence at that level. That is my humble position in the matter.
Mr Speaker, if my Hon Colleague would read further on clause 72 (5), the words, “accept a plea of guilty” were used to walk through the process until when it is under investigation and under a trial through due process by court. That would address the concerns he raised.
Mr Speaker, my Hon Friend has tried to raise certain issues about offence. Once you say it is an offence -- unless he means some other form of offence -- Strict liability is different, but the moment you are charged or under investigation and you do not want to waste the time of the State, you could plea bargain. You could say it is true, you have done so, but you would want to offer information or provide restitution. So, it is not a question to go beyond and argue about mens rea. It is an offence and it is written that you have committed it. There is no constitutional issue involved in this matter. The issue we raised is that you have agreed, the details of which you know -- This is because you would have been told at the beginning. You must first be charged and then the investigation would have continued. However, at that time, you would not want to waste the State's resources and time, so you would agree. So, why must we now go further to establish mens rea and guilt? My Hon Friend has not added any wisdom to our discussion.
Mr Speaker, the cardinal thing is that the person is investigated in respect of an offence. From our practice, anytime a person is given the statement form, that person is investigated in respect of something. Once the person admits, it means that his or her mens rea has been provided to the actus reus, so, one would not need to
Hon Chairman of the Committee, how would you put the whole thing together for us?
Mr Speaker, we do not have any opposition to what has been said so far with respect to the proposed amendment. We agree to the proposed amendment.
Hon Chairman, it is for you to make that unambiguously clear to Hon Members, so that they could respond to the Question.
Mr Speaker, let me take the new rendition. “Where a person under investigation or charged with corruption or a corruption-related offence admits the offence and makes an offer to provide information in accordance with subsection (1) (b) of this section, the information shall be provided confidentially to the Special Prosecutor or the Court.” Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 72, subclause (2), line 1, after “restitution”, insert “or information”. Mr Speaker, this is consequential, because of our acceptance of the alternative to provide information in clause 1, we need to insert the words “or information” so that it would flow with the rest of the section.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, do you have any dis- agreements or difficulties with this amendment?
No, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I did not really follow the amendment of Hon Dr Ayine. It should not only be the insertion of a person under investigation, but in line 2, we may also consider to insert the words “the courts” or “the court” and that indeed, would be consequential.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, are you in agreement?
Mr Speaker, rightly so, I am in agreement. Mr Speaker, if you do not mind, I would want to take the new rendition. “Where a person under investiga- tion or charged with corruption or corruption related offence makes an offer of restitution or provides information, the Special Prosecutor or the court shall consider if the offer is acceptable”.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, can you visualise a situation whereby either the Special Prosecutor or the court does not agree? Do you envisage a possible disagreement?
Mr Speaker, that is covered in subclause (3) following.
Very well. Hon Chairman of the Committee, shall I put the Question? Please, make it clear to us.
Yes, Hon Dr Ayine?
Mr Speaker, I am opposed to the inclusion of the words “or the court” in this particular phrase. Mr Speaker, the reason is simply because prosecutorial discretion is paramount in making the decision whether or not to prosecute, and no court can compel a prosecutor of a court to proceed with a case when the prosecutor is convinced that he or she does not want to proceed with it. So, in the plea bargaining system, it is only proper to vest that discretion to make the decision on the prosecutor rather than the court in this matter.
This is what I sought to enquire. That is exemplified by cases we know about plea bargaining. The prosecutor cannot say he or she would insist and the judge would say otherwise -- then the judge may have to come and prosecute the case before him or herself. Hon Member, I hope you are with Dr Ayine, and this was the question I asked the Hon Chairman of the Committee. At the end of it, the decision to prosecute or not to prosecute rests in the bosom of the prosecutor, but we would want to provide for a situation where it might look as if the prosecutor would say yes and the judge would say no. It cannot be, and we must marry the situation properly, right now.
Hon Members, I have the pleasure to introduce to you an eight- member delegation of the Standing Committee on Urban and Rural Development from the National Council of Namibia who are on a one-week study visit to Ghana. They are here, among others, to explore, learn and share experiences on various mixed farming practices in the agricultural sector. It is also to afford the delegation the opportunity to meet with stakeholders in rural and urban development who are engaged in farming activities that help to mitigate poverty in our communities. The visit is, above all, intended to create the platform to promote networking between our Members and their Namibian counterparts, with the aim of deepening relations between the two legislatures. The delegation comprises the following: Hon Petrus M. Kavhuru, (Leader of Delegation); Hon Melania Ndago, Deputy Chair; Hon Werner Kalipi, Member; Hon Fransina Ghauz, Member; Hon Nguzu J. Muharukua, Member; Mrs Hilda Kapuka, Parliamentary Clerk; Mrs Helena Kashi Kola, Parliamen- tary Clerk; Mr Immanuel Kooper, Committee Researcher; Honorable Members, on your behalf, I wish them fruitful deliberations and a pleasant stay in the country.
Hon Members, in the interim, the Hon First Deputy Speaker would take the Chair.
BILLS -- CONSIDERATION STAGE
[Continuation of debate from column 3037]
[MR FIRST DEPUTY SPEAKER IN THE CHAIR.]
Yes, Hon Fuseini?
Mr Speaker, we had a round table discussion and we are ad idem on the rendition that we should delete “or court” because the plea bargain must be made to the Special Prosecutor and must be acceptable to the Special Prosecutor. Mr Speaker, indeed, we would further want to say that this position would affect clause 5 of the Bill which must occasion the deletion of that clause. Mr Speaker, I believe we were initially influenced in our thinking by the amendment that was done in subclause (1), but this is totally different. This is a matter where the plea bargain is made and has to be assessed and determined whether it is acceptable or not. And accepting it would lie squarely with the Special Prosecutor and not the court.
Hon Chairman, speak to me. I see you engaging exchanges there.
Yes, Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Mr Speaker, I said that the court may have a say in it and that in agreeing to accept the bargain that would have been concluded between the Prosecutor and the accused person or suspect, it would have to look at it vis-а- vis the sentence that would have been imposed had the matter gone to full trial and that in determining the satisfactory nature of agreement, it would not be done in vacuo. So, at the end of the day, the court would have to determine whether a satisfactory arrangement has been concluded. Thank you, Mr Speaker.
Hon Member for Bolgatanga East, do you want to say something?
No, Mr Speaker.
Very well. The Hon Member for Bolgatanga East said no.
All right. Hon Member for Wa Central. I asked the Hon Member for Bolgatanga East whether he wanted to say something and he shook his head. So, now, I have recognised the Hon Member for Wa Central.
Mr Speaker, my concern is the provision of information, which according to the amendment is talking about either the prosecutor or the court. The Hon Member for Bolgatanga East is against the fact that it should go to the court because it is the prosecutor who takes the final decision. It is true but if we provide information -- [Interruption.]
Hon Member, which clause are you speaking to?
Mr Speaker, clause 72, (2). I can see the acceptability --
I think we have taken a decision on clause 72 --
Yes, Mr Speaker. As for the acceptability, it is all right but the provision on the information to the court or to the prosecutor, I do not think there is the need for any amendment. That is just the point I wanted to raise.
Are we discussing subclause (5)? Hon Chairman, which subclause are we dealing with now?
Mr Speaker, we are on clause 72 (2). Mr Speaker, the concern was that we should not add “court”. This is because the offer is to the Special Prosecutor only and not the Special Prosecutor and the court. Mr Speaker, earlier, we had proposed addition of “the court” and we are seeking to delete same, so that the suspect or the person under investigation would make the offer to the Special Prosecutor only but not the court.
Is there any opposition to this proposed amendment? Please, guide me properly.
Mr Speaker, because the clause has undergone a lot of amendments, the neater way would be to delete subclause (2) and insert, “where a person under investigation or charged with a corruption or corruption-related offence under this Act makes an offer of restitution or information, the Special Prosecutor shall consider if the offer is acceptable to the prosecution”.
That is, we are still on clause 72 (2).
Mr Speaker, let me take it again. Delete subclause (2) of clause 72 and insert, “where a person under investigation or charged with a corruption or corruption-related offence under this Act makes an offer of restitution or provides information, the Special Prosecutor may consider if the offer is acceptable to the prosecution”.
Mr Speaker, my good Friend, the lawyer would agree; he said “a corruption”. I would want to further amend that to “corruption or corruption- related offence”.
Very well. Are we ad idem, Hon Chairman?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Chairman, I direct that the draftpersons look at the numbering. This is because we have already substituted a subclause (2). So, this may be subclause (3) but I would leave that to the draftspersons to re- arrange it. Item numbered iv -- Hon Dominic Ayine?
Mr Speaker, it is consequential. It is the same as iv.
Very well. In that case, you would withdraw the amendment and I direct that the consequential amendments be carried.
Very well, Mr Speaker. I withdraw the amendment.
Very well. All the consequential amendments consequent upon the earlier amendment would be undertaken by the drafts- persons. Amendments withdrawn by leave of the House.
Hon Chairman item numbered vi or vii?
Mr Speaker, we are now on item numbered 11 (vii). Item numbered 11 (vi) is consequential.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 72, add the following new subclause: “(5) In making the determination whether the Offer is satisfactory, the Special Prosecutor may consider the following factors -- (a) the history of the accused with respect to criminal activity; (b) the level of cooperation the” — Dr A. A. Osei — rose —
Hon Member, please hold on.
Mr Speaker, under our Standing Orders, I do not think he needs to read the whole thing.
Hon Member, you do not need to; but if you would want to, I would still grant you leave. This is because not every body has read it.
Mr Speaker, very well. Mr Speaker, he is making my work less difficult.
“(5) In making the determination whether the offer is satisfactory, the Special Prosecutor may consider the following factors-- (a) the history of the accused with respect to criminal activity; (b) the level of cooperation the accused exhibited during the investigation; (c) the willingness of the accused to cooperate in the inves- tigation or prosecution of other persons; (d) the likelihood of obtaining a conviction if the case pro- ceeds to trial; (e) the probable effect on witnesses of a trial; (f) the public interest in having the case tried rather than disposed of by a guilty plea; and (g) the need to avoid delay in the disposition of other pending cases.”
Hon Chairman, this is not from you, but we would want to know your pleasure.
Mr Speaker, we have agreed on this proposed amendment so it may go in.
Mr Speaker, while I support the proposed amendment, I seek your leave to make a further amendment to line 2. Instead of the use of “satisfactory”, we should continue to use what is in the Bill; “whether the offer is acceptable”. Mr Speaker, and so, I proposed that we substitute “satisfactory” with “acceptable”.
The Hon member who proposed the amendment, is that acceptable to you?
Mr Speaker, yes. It is consistent with the language that we have used in this section.
Mr Speaker, I come under Standing Order 91(c), which says, and with your permission, I beg to quote: “91. Debates may be interrupted.” (c) by attention being called to the absence of a quorum;” Mr Speaker, in my view, we are less than 60 people in the House. This is a very important Bill, and majority of the required number of Hon Members must be in the House for us to transact business.
Mr Speaker, I would want to propose a little further amendment to what the Hon Colleague has said.
“In making the determination whether the offer is acceptable, the Special Prosecutor may consider the following factors”… Mr Speaker, that makes it a bit restrictive. So, I would want us to open it up a bit to read “may consider factors including;” then we list. Otherwise, it makes the list exhaustive. It may not be exhaustive.
“Including” as in the third line — “the Special Prosecutor may consider the following factors” — “may consider factors” — So, do we delete “the following” and insert “including” at the end?
Mr Speaker, I believe if that amendment is being made, it should read as follows: “In making the determination whether the offer is acceptable, the Special Prosecutor may consider the factors including the following”. “The following” must come.
Hon Member, it would not make any difference. — [Laughter.] Question put and amendment agreed to. Hon Members, I will put the Question on the entire clause 72 — Mr Banda — rose —
Mr Speaker, before you put the Question on the whole of clause 72, in view of the amendments that have been effected in respect of some of the subclauses under clause 72, I would like to propose an amendment in respect of subclause (3) to read: “(3) If the offer is not acceptable to the prosecution, the investiga- tion or the case before the court shall proceed.”
Hon Members, this is straightforward, so I will put the Question.
Mr Speaker, this is just to indicate to the Hon Chairman that what we did in clause 72 (1) may have consequential effect on many of the subclauses. For instance, after subclause (3), we may have to look at subclause (4), which reads: “If the offer is acceptable to the prosecution, the Special Prosecutor shall in the presence of the accused person, inform the Court which shall consider if the offer of restitution is satisfactory.” Mr Speaker, that is where the person is charged. If the person is being investigated, that disclosure may not have to be before the court. So, we should have the same application to affect the others. So, the Hon Chairman could just liaise with the draftspersons and the Table Office to effect that consequential application.
Very well. In that case, I would suspend the Question on the entire clause 72.
Mr Speaker, you may put the Question subject to what we have done.
Hon Majority Leader, I believe subclause (4) would require quite some extensive surgery. So, it may be better for them to finish, and report it to us to accept before —
Mr Speaker, respectfully, once we accept the principle, the Table Office and the Chair could assist the draftspersons to ferry our thinking through, and even if there are any other areas that may be affected, the principle is what we need at this time.
Mr Speaker, fortunately for us, the chief surgeon and her facilitating officers and team from the drafting section of the Attorney-General's Department are with us here. Therefore, it would be prudent if you put the Question, and accordingly direct the draftspersons to liaise with the Table Office, guided by our thinking, so that we could get clause 72 adopted.
Very well. I consequently direct the draftspersons to take a cue from the amendments effected on clause 72 (1), redraft all the subsequent amendments, and bring them in line with the principles that greed. So, subject to the consequential order, I put the Question on clause 72.
Mr Speaker, my attention has just been drawn to the use of a word in the proposed amendment of Hon Dr Dominic Ayine, which is at page 9 of the Order Paper, paragraph (g) of clause 72 (5), which reads: “the need to avoid delay in the disposition of other pending cases”. It should be “the need to avoid the delay in the disposal of other pending cases.”
Hon Ayine, should it be “disposal” or “disposition”?
Mr Speaker, I believe “disposition” is better than “disposal”. “Disposal” means “discard”, it has a kind of pejorative sense, but “disposition” is like “conclude” or “wrap up”. So, that was what I thought when I moved the amendment.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, do you want to reconsider your position in respect of this explanation?
Mr Speaker, if that is correct, I thought it should be, dispose of other pending cases”, but not “disposition of other pending cases”. I have some doubt about that, but we should leave it to the draftspersons.
I believe so too. I direct that the draftspersons insert the appropriate word to fit the entire subclause.
Yes, Hon Member for Yilo Krobo?
Mr Speaker, in view of the amendments earlier carried in clause 72, there is need for us to do consequential amendments to subclauses (b) and (c).
Hon Member for Yilo Krobo, I have given the directive that the draftspersons do all the consequential amendments. [Pause.] Hon Kwame Agbodza, I have not ruled on your application because we have discussed and agreed here, in this House, that when we say Hon Members are present, they include Hon Members at meetings. So, we would verify how many Hon Members are in Committee meetings and add the figure to those here in the Chamber, and I would then determine whether your Motion is properly placed.
So, I would put the Question on the entire clause 72. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 72 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 73 -- Protection of witness
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 73, add the following new subclause: “(3) Without prejudice to subsection (2) of this section, a person who qualifies as a witness under this Act shall nonetheless be entitled to all the rights, privileges and advantages accorded to pro- tected witnesses under the Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720).”
Mr Speaker, I have no objection.
Mr Speaker, I support the amendment; but just before “rights”, would the Hon Deputy Ranking Member have an objection if we brought in “protection”. He now has “...rights, privileges and advantages accorded to protected witnesses...” Mr Speaker, even though I am secured under the “protected witnesses” there, it now reads: “... nonetheless be entitled to all the rights, privileges and advantages accorded to witnesses under the Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720).” Then, I would have brought in “protection” before “rights”.
“Without prejudice to subsection (2) of this section, a person who qualifies as a witness under this Act shall nonetheless be entitled to all the protection, rights, privileges and advantages accorded to witnesses under the Whistle- blowers Act, 2006 (Act 720.”
Hon Dr Ayine, would that not change the reference, because I believe the subclause in the Act is “protected witnesses”?
Mr Speaker, the head note there is “Protection of witness”; so, that is important. That is the reason I insist that it must show up there. If we go to “protection of whistleblowers” in the Whistleblowers Act, there is an ambit in thought that defines how they should be protected. So, I just preceded “rights and privileges” with “protection”, and then delete it in the last line and leave it to “witnesses” if that is acceptable to Hon Dr Ayine and the Hon Chairman. Thank you.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, the proposition is that we delete “protected” in line 4, before “witness”, and put “protection” in line 3 before “rights”.
Mr Speaker, it is within the confines of the Whistleblowers Act, 2006 and to the extent that it concerns and touches on “witnesses” that is alright.
Very well. I would put the Question then --
Mr Speaker, with your leave, I would like to propose an amendment with respect to the first line in clause 73 (1). It should read: “The Special Prosecutor shall take all necessary and reasonable steps to protect the safety and welfare of a witness”.
Very well. Hon Members, the proposed amendment is to insert “all” after “take” in clause 73, subclause (1), line 1. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 73 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 74 -- Collaboration with public agencies
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 74, subclause (2), line 1, delete “agency” and insert “institution”.
“The office may conduct investiga- tions in collaboration with other public institutions”. Mr Speaker, I would, therefore, seek your leave to further amend the subclause by inserting “other” immediately after “with” in line 1 of 74 (1). So, it reads: “The Office may conduct investiga- tions in collaboration with other public institutions”. Thank you.
Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Chairman of the Committee to reflect on what was done in subclause (3)(f) of the original clause. I believe we amended that provision, but we had “corporate with” -- but then we said “with competent authorities or other relevant local and international agencies”. Mr Speaker, let us look at the construction, so that what we are doing here would be in sync with that one. Otherwise, it may appear completely different.
I notice that in the proposed amendment, there is a proposal to insert “corporation with international agencies”. So, we may not need to do it here.
Mr Speaker, subject to your direction, I believe the headnote, “Collaboration with public agencies”: should be “. . .with public institutions”. once we have amended the “agencies” to read “institutions”. So, the headnote should also be amended.
In that case, we would also amend subclause (2), line (1): “An officer of a public agency…” should read “An officer of a public institution”
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
Mr Speaker, I was wondering whether in clause 74, and guided by what the Hon Majority Leader has said, we should not look at the use of “co-operate” and “collaborate”, and then expand the remit beyond our public institutions. This is because there may be co- operation with other international bodies. So, if we have policy guidance on it, clause 74 should look at a marriage of the two words. In undertaking this investigation, they have a responsibility to co-operate, where necessary, whether with a public institution or an international body that may give information to facilitate -- Mr Speaker, so, if we have the policy guidance from the Hon Minister, maybe clause 74, once I agree with him, that we substitute “public agencies” for “public institutions”, we may have to add “and other international bodies”.
Mr Speaker, if we look at clause 74(3), we do not have any authority to prosecute international bodies -- no. “A public officer…” if we add “international” there, it would not apply. In clause 74(3), “international bodies” should not come in. We seek to deal with public officers locally, and “international bodies” cannot come in there. It would not apply.
Hon Members, I think I made reference to a subsequent proposed amendment, which dealt with “mutual assistance”, and that is where “international co-operation” is captured. So, this one deals with collaboration with local institutions.
Mr Speaker, you have just used the word “collaborate”. May I respectfully refer you to clause 74(3), line (2), the word “co-operate” is used.
Very well. Hon Chairman, you would want to be consistent. Do you want “collaborate” or “co-operate”?
Mr Speaker, I remember that under clause 3 (1), (f), we used “co- operate” and “coordinate” “…co-operate with and coordinate the activities of competent authorities...” So, probably, we would want to maintain “co-operate”, and delete “collaborate”. “Co-operate” is more appropriate than “collaborate”.
Mr Speaker, this is to remind the House that I wanted to introduce “collaborate” in place of “coordinate” in clause 3 (1) (f), but I was defeated by the combined effort of the Hon Chairman and Dr Ayine; I guess Hon Yieleh Chireh too. So, I think that for consistency sake, let us abandon “collaborate” and resort to “co- operation”. So, we would also substitute “colla- boration” in clause 74 (1), line (1) with “co- operation”.
Let me first listen to the Hon Chairman, and then I would come to you -- Dr Ayine.
Mr Speaker, once we have now taken “co-operation”, consequen- tially, the headnote must also be amended to read “Co-operation with public institutions”. Mr Speaker, “collaboration” in clause 74 (1), line (1) must also change to read “co-operation”.
Mr Speaker, there is always this interesting debate regarding the use of “collaboration” or “co-operation”, but they are actually synonyms. So, I do not think it makes much of a difference if we use either of them. So, maybe, for Legislative consistency, that is fine; but I do not think that we should haggle over which one to use.
Very well. If they mean the same and we have used “co-operation” all through, let us be consistent.
Mr Speaker, it appears that the chief warrior of Suame still mourns a fatal defeat he ought not to have suffered on the use of “collaborate” or “co- operate”. Mr Speaker, we should maintain the rendition as it is in the Bill, and just substitute “public agencies” for “public institutions”. Probably, you can put the Question if the Hon Chairman has no objection.
Hon Members, we have effected proposed amendments in respect of “collaboration”, which we are substituting with “co- operation”, and then “agencies” being substituted with “institutions”. So, Hon Chairman, I would want you to read the new rendition and I would put the Question.
Mr Speaker, in this new era we all know that we have some private people who have specific expertise in investigations. Now that we are saying that we can only collaborate with public agencies or institutions, are we saying that if there are people in Ghana who can effectively help the Special Prosecutor uncover, can we not engage them? Mr Speaker, my proposal would be to loosen the word “public” and just leave it at “institutions” or “agencies”. That is, whichever we would want to use. This is because I know that currently, there are private people who do due diligence for cases that are sent to court in this country. So, if the Hon Chairman could consider that.
I think in that respect, we would be talking about the powers of the Special Prosecutor to use the services of private investigators. That is different from co-operating with public agencies. So, if we do not provide for the power of the Special Prosecutor to use the services of private investigators, we may go back to its powers and provide for that. But it would not fit in this clause.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition starts with the headnote, “Cooperation with public institutions.” Clause 74 (1): “The Office may conduct investi- gations in cooperation with other public institutions.” (2) An officer of a public institution shall co-operate with officers of the Office in the performance of functions under this Act. (3) A public officer who refuses or fails without reasonable cause to co-operate with an authorised officer commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than fifty penalty units and not more than one hundred penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three or not more than six months or to both.”
Very well. I would put the Question.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, the issue has to do with whose assistance or cooperation that we would seek, and I would refer the House to subclause 3 (b), which talks about public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector. We expect all these people to cooperate with the Special Prosecutor. So, why are we limiting it to public agencies? It is public officers, and we would want to extract cooperation from public officers. Are we limiting it to public officers?
Hon Majority Leader, look at subclause (3) of clause 74. It says that a public officer who refuses or fails without reasonable cause also commits an offence. So, it is not just limited to agencies, but officers of the agencies as well.
Mr Speaker, that is what I am leading to. It should not even be public officers and public institutions or agencies alone, because we are talking about politically exposed persons and private sector persons as well. If they do not cooperate, then what happens?
Hon Majority Leader, I think if you want private persons and politically exposed persons, then you are not dealing with this clause, because this clause only provides for cooperation with public institutions. Hon Chairman, am I right?
Mr Speaker, in this particular context, we are referring to only persons in public institutions. Specifically, this refers to public officers.
Hon Members, having regard to the state of Business, I direct that Sitting is held outside the normal Sitting hours. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 74 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Hon Members, you may recall that yesterday, pursuant to the Statement by the Hon Minister for Planning, the coordinated programme of Economic and Social Development Policies 2017 to 2024 was presented to the House; but a specific referral was, however, not made to any Committee. Hon Members, the Paper in question is hereby referred to the joint Committee on Finance, Poverty Reduction Strategy, and Employment and Social Welfare and State Enterprises for consideration and report.
Yes, Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation?
Mr Speaker, with respect, what is the joint Committee supposed to do? I ask that because it is not for approval, but it is for consideration by Parliament.
It is for consideration and report. Hon Members, we would move to Clause 75. Clause 75 -- Confidentiality
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 75, subclause (1), line 1, delete “receives” and insert “is in possession of”.
“An authorised officer who is in possession of information in the performance of functions under this Act shall not …” Mr Speaker, this is a better rendition of the provision, and it is very elegant and more appropriate.
I would put the Question. Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 75 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 76 -- Regulations.
Mr Speaker, before I move the proposed amendment -- [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker, before we go to the section on the Regulations, under the miscellaneous provisions, I would want us to consider a new clause. Mr Speaker, throughout this endea- vour, the Special Prosecutor assigns -- or other authorised officers may engage in certain pursuits. So, we would need to provide some kind of indemnity to the Special Prosecutor and the authorised officers, who would work with the Special Prosecutor. So, I have had some discussions with the Hon Chairman and Hon (Dr) Ayine, and I intend to make a proposal for the consideration of the House.
“No proceeding shall lie against the Special Prosecutor or an authorised officer of the Office in respect of any
Hon Chairman, in which clause do you want this to be placed?
Mr Speaker, this is a new clause which would come under the section of miscellaneous provisions.
There is no provision for miscellaneous here. Are you proposing that we create a provision for “miscellaneous”?
Mr Speaker, the cluster we are considering, from clause 72 to 79 --
Oh yes, I have seen it. So, are you proposing that should come before clause 76, the Regulations?
Mr Speaker, that is my thinking.
What you are proposing, hga sit been advertised?
Mr Speaker, it has not been advertised. So, if I may go over it.
Hon Members, please, pay attention so that we could fine tune as he proposed.
Mr Speaker: “No proceeding shall lie against the Special Prosecutor or an authorised officer of the office in respect of any matter or thing done or omitted to be done while discharging or purporting to discharge the functions of the office.”
There is a proposed amendment which is: “An authorised officer is immune from prosecution in the performance of his duties under this Act, if the Authorised officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds.” That is coming from the Committee. Do you want this before or after? Yes, Hon Ayine?
Thank you, Mr Speaker. I also just noticed, after discussing with the Hon Majority Leader, that there is a proposal from the Committee on the grant of immunities. But Mr Speaker, if you look at that proposal very carefully, it deals with immunities from prosecution by authorised officers, but it does not include the Special Prosecutor. Also, very importantly, there is the issue of good faith. For instance, if the person acted in bad faith, then he has opened up to liabilities, either criminal or civil. Mr Speaker, in my opinion, we should try and marry the two proposals, but I think the more acceptable one is the one that the Hon Majority Leader proposed.
Are you suggesting that an authorised officer does not include the Special Prosecutor and his Deputies? Is that your suggestion?
Mr Speaker, that is not what I am suggesting. Statutorily, prosecutorial power is vested in the Special Prosecutor. So, he exercises it primarily, but he might authorise officers either as investigators or prosecutors who would do things on his behalf. So, the proposal by the Hon Majority Leader includes both the Special Prosecutor and any authorised officer of his Office in the performance of their functions. Mr Speaker, the Committee's proposal excludes the Special Prosecutor.
Let us look at the definition of an “authorised officer”: “‘authorised officer' means an officer of the Office of any public office authorised by law to exercise police powers;” And the Special Prosecutor and his Deputies are authorised officers, so to speak. So, I think what is there should be sufficient. Yes, Hon Majority Leader? Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu: Mr Speaker, that indeed is the ordinary meaning assigned to an “authorised officer”. Except that, at so many places in the Bill, we have made a distinction between the Special Prosecutor and other authorised officers. Mr Speaker, if we are now construing it in the manner that we would want to understand, we should go back and wherever we have “Special Prosecutor and authorised officer” appearing, we should delete “Special Prosecutor”. But that might not be right.
Or should we go to the interpretation clause and define an “authorised officer” to mean the Special Prosecutor, his deputies and the rest to be covered.
Mr Speaker, that would be problematic. This is because, all through, we have made a distinction. So, once we do this, we would create a problem for ourselves. So, in my opinion, for this purpose, if we just continue with what we are doing, it would certainly not do any violence to the efforts thus far.
No. I would want us to be clear. With this proposed general immunities, would they cover the Special Prosecutor and his deputies as a well?
Mr Speaker, reading the interpretations in clause 77 of this Bill: “‘authorised officer' means an officer of the office …” Which office are we talking about? It is the office of the Special Prosecutor so it includes that person. In my opinion, the interpretation covers it, and at this point, putting them together does no harm.
Or, would you want to amend it by saying “The Special Prosecutor, his Deputies or an authorised officer is immune from prosecution” if we would want that emphasis?
Mr Speaker, if we do that, we would have changed the interpretation. Yes, we cannot have both. If we do what you are saying, it is all right, then we would have to remind ourselves to change the interpretation.
Hon Attorney-General, let me hear from you. Do you want an additional provision for the Special Prosecutor or is the current general immunity sufficient?
Mr Speaker, I think the interpretation clause takes care of that.
In that case, could we finish up to the transitional provisions, then we come to those additional ones? The draftspersons would determine where to place them. Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, to remind ourselves, if you look at clause 27 it reads: “The Special Prosecutor and authorised officers shall exercise the powers of a police officer specified in the Criminal and Other Offences (Procedure) Act, 1960 (Act 30) or any other enactment.”
“28. (1) The Special Prosecutor or an authorised officer may by notice in writing, require . . .
“(6) Where a person refuses, conceals or otherwise fails to produce a document required by the Special Prosecutor or an authorised officer.” So, Mr Speaker, all through, even though in the interpretation column we have included the “Special Prosecutor” in defining the “authorised officer”, we have made distinctions in the body of the Act just to isolate the Special Prosecutor. That is the point I am making. Mr Speaker, so if now we are sayingto us that we would have to go back. That would be very injurious to the effort that we have made.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, I would want to respectfully disagree with my Hon Leader. Mr Speaker, this is because, in the body of the Act, the Special Prosecutor plays a different role from the authorised officers. So, it is important that we make that distinction. But in terms of immunity, the Board must be covered and that is why the emphasis in the body is making sure that there is that delineation. It is proper. Mr Speaker, under immunities, we are all the same. If we cut them blood will come out, so we would have to protect both of them. That is why I believe the interpretation takes care of it and the general immunity section is sufficient. Mr Speaker, this is because as you said, if we try to follow the Hon Majority Leader, then we would be here going back to -- but the interpretation takes care of it, so I believe we would -- [Pause] --
Hon Chairman, as far as I am concerned, the interpretation covers it, but the decision is not mine. I am only a referee, so -- [Laugher.] I would go by whatever you direct.
Mr Speaker, once the Attorney-General has spoken, we would have to go by the rendition of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice.
Mr Speaker, if the House decides that this is the proper way to go, so be it. I do not want us to go with this issue of: “the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has spoken so we should go back to it”. Mr Speaker, this is because it happened right in this House, when in crafting the Interpretations Act, an Attorney-General said to us -- and that Attorney-General, indeed, was a woman, just as we have an Attorney-General who is a women here, that Parliament should accept that the authority to make laws is a shared responsibility between Parliament and the President.
Hon Majority Leader, the right side of the House at the time did not agree with her, and I recall that she was very jumpy when that side voted against her on that day. [Laughter.] Yes, Hon Ayine?
Mr Speaker, much as I would want to support the Attorney-General in terms of the position that she has taken -- Mr Speaker, I agree with her just as you have directed, however, I believe that on the issue of how we would have to decide on it, I would say that this is Parliament's Bill, but it is no longer the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice's Bill. Mr Speaker, in view of the doctrine of separation of powers, we would have to take ultimate legislative responsibility for what we do here. If it goes to the President and she is not happy with what is in there, she can tell the President to refuse to assent to it, and the Bill would come back to us. Mr Speaker, though her position is correct, I would also want to accept Parliament's authority over this Bill, and if you would so direct, then we may have to put it to a vote, despite the fact that she is objecting.
Yes, I would want us to go in an orderly manner. There are advertised amendments in the body of the Bill, and I would want us to finish that and then come to those new proposed amendments which are not in the body of the Bill. We would take them, then the draftspersons would do the proper arrangements.
Mr Speaker, just to assist the House, I would say that I did consult the Hon Chairman of the Committee, and the information that was given to me was that, this had not been covered, which is why in consultation with Dr Ayine, we crafted this. Mr Speaker, however, now that we have realised that it is in the Bill, I believe we can only withdraw. If we would have to further improve it, then perhaps, we could, but certainly, we would have to withdraw what I have submitted.
Thank you, Hon Majority Leader. Hon Members, we would then go to clause 77, finish with that -- there are even others -- clause 60 is a new proposal and so is clause 48, so when we finish with
Mr Speaker, I would respectfully seek your leave to make a further amendment to the proposed amendment. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, after “Minister,” insert “shall within ninety days upon the assumption of Office of the Special Prosecutor…” --
Hon Member, are we on “regulations”?
Mr Speaker, rightly so.
Then which line are you amending?
Mr Speaker, clause 76, line (1). Mr Speaker, I beg to move, after “Minister”, insert “shall within ninety days upon the assumption of Office of the Special Prosecutor…” then the rest would follow. We are deleting “may”.
“The Minister shall within ninety days upon the assumption of Office of the Special Prosecutor in consultation with the Board, by legislative instrument, make regulations to …” Mr Speaker, we seek to make this provision legislatively compulsory because more often than not, after the passage of the parent laws, Regulations do delay, and we would want to make this a statutory obligation upon the Minister to ensure that the Regulations do come before Parliament within the stipulated period, so that if he or she fails, it becomes anybody's right to go to court to compel the Minister to do what is right. Mr Speaker, thank you.
Yes, Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, I believe that the principle of encouraging the Minister to come back quickly is good. Mr Speaker, however, with respect, the assumption of the officer could take much longer. This is because the appointing authority may delay in appointing -- What we would want -- Mr Speaker, I believe the concept is that immediately the law comes into being, ninety days after, the regulations should come whether or not the Special Prosecutor is in office. Mr Speaker, assuming that the appointing authority takes one year to appoint the Special Prosecutor, it means that the Regulations would not come. The intent is to encourage them to come quickly, irrespective of whether the person is in office or not. Mr Speaker, I would therefore encourage my Hon Chairman to further amend it because, the assumptions could take too long. It would have to come through parliamentary process, and we cannot dictate that.
Yes, Hon Member for Yilo Krobo?
Mr Speaker, thank you. Mr Speaker, I would want to support the view of the Hon Akoto Osei on the reason we would want to see the Minister come to Parliament with Regulations in good time. Mr Speaker, if we look at clause 76(l), it provides for Regulations “generally for the effective implementation of this Act”, including the performance of the Special Prosecutor himself, and it is necessary that these Regulations are in place even before he assumes office, or as he is in office, the Regulations could be crafted. So, Mr Speaker, I believe that the Hon Chairman should reconsider his position. We would go in for the Minister to bring Regulations within 90 days upon the promulgation of this Act.
Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that this is a new bureaucracy that is going to be set up. Necessarily, the Special Prosecutor must have a hand in setting up the place and his inputs into these Regulations would be significant. I can assure the House that there would not be any undue delay. If there would be any delay at all in appointing the Special Prosecutor. I am going to delegate my authority, and I can make that assurance, that barring the processes that we have to go through, the Special Prosecutor would be appointed in good time and that should not delay the putting together of a Regulation. Mr Speaker, putting together a Regulation is not as easy as putting together the legislation that we are taking into account now and we would ask that we maintain the draft as it is for passage.
Hon Attorney-General, I would want to ask a question. Hon Attorney-General, I wanted you to guide the House why it is necessary to wait for the appointment of the Special Prosecutor. Because this is the first time we are creating the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the history of the country. So, it is not as if we have anybody with such experience, that his practice or experience would be necessary or required in crafting a new L.I. Am I wrong?
Mr Speaker, I am sorry I have to disagree with you. This is because, if you consider the qualifications of the Special Prosecutor, the person comes with a depth of knowledge of the area that he is expected to act in and that would make an impact on how we put the Regulations together.
Mr Speaker, we concede that this is a new thing and it requires time but clause 76 says: “The Minister may, in consultation with the Board …” So, the relevant group is the Board, not the one person who is the Special Prosecutor. My view is that if we say “upon assumption of the Board” -- He is a member of the Board. It encourages the appointing authority to appoint them as quickly as they can. It is not he who is relevant here; it is the Board.
Mr Speaker, I believe the purpose of this is to bring some speed in the conduct of the activities of the Board, and indeed, the Minister. That is innovative and maybe, we are looking at the pressure that would be brought to bear on the Minister to act with considerable haste. Other than that, Mr Speaker, if we say that the Minister should act within three months and she does not, what sanctions could be imposed? This could only guide the Hon Minister, that time is not on her side; could she hasten her steps in this regard? So, I believe we can only leave it at that and not litigate on what to do, whether we should reduce it to maybe 60 days or two months or one month. Let this be enough to serve as some pressure on the Hon Minister, and I believe we can make progress.
So, what is your proposition?
Mr Speaker, what I propose is what the Committee has proposed. Question put and amendment agreed to.
I hoped that the “Noes” would be loud so I would disallow that. Hon Chairman, clause 76, item numbered (xii) on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, instead of paragraph (g) which we seek to delete, I would like to respectfully seek your leave to instead delete paragraph (j) because paragraph (j) makes it too formal. “prescribe the procedure for filing complaints with the office” But we would like to maintain “prescribe the procedure for the submission of complaints”.
So you would withdraw the proposed amendment in item numbered xii?
Leave is granted to withdraw the amendment listed in item numbered (xii). Instead, you would propose that paragraph (j) be deleted. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 76, paragraph (g), delete. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Item numbered (xiii) on the Order Paper.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 76, paragraph (k), line 1, delete “public reporting” and insert “reporting to the public” The new rendition reads: “prescribe the procedure for reporting to the public in respect of corruption cases handled and convictions secured; and . . .” Mr Speaker, this rendition is better than the original. Mr Speaker, once we have used a term of art “corruption and corruption related offences”, I would seek your indulgence and leave to further amend paragraph (k) to read: “prescribe the procedure for reporting to the public in respect of corruption and corruption related cases handled and convictions secured; and . . .” Question put and amendment agreed to. Clause 76 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 77-- Interpretation
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “authorised officer”, line 1, after “Office” insert “a police officer”.
In that case, do you not need a comma after the ‘office'?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. “…officer of the office, the Police officer or any”. Mr Speaker, I would seek your leave to insert ‘other' after ‘any'. So, the rendition reads: “Authorised officer” means officer of the office, police, officer or any other public officer authorised by law to exercise police powers.”
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I was just wondering if the Hon Chairman would want to add at the end, “pursuant to the performance of the functions of the office”. It is not anybody authorised by law to exercise police powers but to do that pursuant to the performance of the functions of the office.
No, sorry, we do not need that. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, that is covered.
Mr Speaker, I throw up my hands.
Yes, Hon Dafeamekpor?
Mr Speaker, I wish to propose an amendment that is not published —
We have to take the decision on the current proposed amendment.
Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity. I wish to propose an amendment that is not published. Mr Speaker, this is as a result of the earlier amendment carried under clause 72 where we, as part of the amendment proposed, insert ‘a person under investigation'. So, Mr Speaker, ‘a person' has to be defined. And Mr Speaker —
In that case, can we wait? Let us do what we have advertised and you can introduce that as an issue.
Very well, Mr Speaker.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “competent authorities”, line 1, delete “agencies” and insert “institutions”. Mr Speaker, consequentially, where there is ‘agencies', we will delete and insert ‘institutions'.
Very well. Hon Members, this is a straightforward amendment. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, Hon Dr Ayine has an amendment but I would humbly suggest that we take the amendment immediately after his before we take his in order to make the rendition very coherent. His amendment should come at the end of our proposed amendment so that it would make it a lot more meaningful.
You are proposing that we take item number (xvii) before we take item number (xvi) on the Order Paper? We understand you. Your amendment is item number (xvii) and Hon Ayine's is numbered (xvi). So, you propose that we take item numbered (xvii) before we take item numbered (xvi).
Very well, Mr Speaker.
So, we would take item numbered (xvii) out of turn.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “institution of relevance”, line 3, at the end, add “or the institution where the corruption or corruption-related offence occurred”. The new rendition reads; “Institution of relevance means the institutions that provide intelligence or support in the investigation in the prosecution of cases or forfeiture of assets or the institution where the corruption or corruption related offence occurred.” And Dr Ayine would add his.
Hon Members, is the proposed amendment clear? Yes, Hon Ayine?
Mr Speaker, much as I understand what the Hon Chairman has proposed, when we met, I did not advert my mind to this particular amendment. But, Mr Speaker, if we add it, it means that we are trying to create an incentive for institutions, where the corruption or corruption related offence occurred whether they were actively participating in the investigation or prosecution. The institution of relevance is relevant in this context for purposes of sharing of the realised proceeds. So, we cannot just put it there because that is where the corruption occurred, even if they did not participate in a meaningful way in the investigation or prosecution, they should still have a share of the realised proceeds. I do not think that is something that we should be doing.
Hon Chairman of Committee, is it that the institution actually refers to institutions that should benefit from proceeds that are recovered from a crime?
Rightly so, Mr Speaker.
And why do you want to add ‘institution that is culpable', so to speak?
No, Mr Speaker, this does not refer to an institution that is culpable. Probably, the rendition does not capture — We are referring to the institution that probably started the investigation. That is where the corruption or corruption related offence started or occurred, and they provided support in respect of that or assisted in the investigation. Be it as it may —
In that case, you do not need to add anything. If this institution where it started provided information, they did; whether you put them here or not. I do not think this is necessary.
Very well, Mr Speaker, Thank you.
So, you would withdraw this one. Leave granted to withdraw this proposed amendment. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House. Item number (xvi), Hon Dr Ayine?
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “institution of relevance”, line 3, at end, add “but does not include the court”. Mr Speaker, do I need to provide the rationale?
No. Very well. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “institution of relevance”, line 3, at end, add “or the institution where the corruption or corruption-related offence occurred”. Mr Speaker, this is a consequential amendment. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, clause 77, interpretation of “tainted property”, paragraph (a), line 1, delete “a serious” and insert “an” The new rendition would read: “tainted property” means property (a) used in connection with the commission of an offence” We are deleting “a serious”. An offence is an offence. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Member for South Dayi, I want to listen to your proposed amendment.
Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity. My amendment is to the effect that “person” as variously used in the Bill soon to be passed into an Act should be
Chairman of the Committee, what do you think? My view is that, when it comes to commission of crime, it is personal. So, we cannot have a body of persons. We would have to charge each person individually and define what specific act or omission that person engaged in which constitutes an offence.
Mr Speaker, this is exactly my point. This has become necessary because we have introduced the phrase “a person under investi- gation”. The investigation may be of a body corporate. We might investigate groups of people but that is a person under investigation. I read the Whistleblowers Act carefully and I saw the wisdom in why they sought to define “person”. This is because at the investigation stage, it may include not only natural persons but body corporates or groups of people. It is with this intention that we should define “person” as variously used in this Act.
Mr Speaker, we have the definition in the Interpretation Act. So, it could always be resorted to. Is it very difficult that we have used “person” in various parts of this Bill? It could also just carry the ordinary meaning of a person and not necessarily the legal meaning. If it is the legal meaning that the Hon Member wants, then it is in the Interpretation Act, and we could apply it when the need arises. If we attempt to define it as per another Act, it would not be appropriate. There would have been a reason, that in the case of the Whistleblowers Act, it needed to be done. I do not think that we need to do this.
Hon Member, let us engage in an exercise. When a corporate body is to be charged with a crime, who would be charged? [Interruption.] The Directors and they would be answerable in their individual capacities? That is why I think this definition might not be necessary. That is the proposal.
Mr Speaker, I do not think this proposed amendment is necessary. This is because we all know that a “person” means a natural person or legal person. A “person” also includes the plural. So, if it is a group of persons, “person” covers it. So, we do not need to define who a “person” is. That definition, with the greatest respect, is needless.
Hon Member, what do you want me to do? Do you want me to put the Question or would you want to withdraw the amendment?
Mr Speaker, I would want it to go on the vote. I have a strong conviction of my position, that this has to be done.
Very well. Propose the amendment that you want to make, so that we would vote on it.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, in a chronological order, after “pecuniary penalty” as defined, we would have: “'person' includes an individual, a body of persons, an institution or corporation”
Hon Member, is that different from what is in the Interpretation Act?
Mr Speaker, I would appeal to the Hon Member to drop the proposed amendment. If he feels strongly that we must have “person” defined, then he should lift the definition in the Interpretation Act and place it here. I believe the definition in the Interpretation Act would serve the purpose. The reason I say this is that, from his attempted definition, we would run into a lot of problems. It says “an individual, a body of persons, an institution or corporation”. So, we would now have to request the definition of all these items that he has added in his definition of “person”. If he would not drop it, he should just look for the definition of “person” in the Interpretation Act, lift it and put it in this Interpretation section, so that we could resolve it at that level.
Mr Speaker, I have stated clearly where I borrowed this definition from. It is from a sister Act which was passed by this House; the Whistleblowers Act, (Act 720). Mr Speaker, it is also procedural that persons are slapped with charges of conspiracy and sometimes, when it happens, it is one or more. So, it is not always the case that --
Hon Member, what is the date of the Whistleblowers Act? Compare it with the date on the Interpretation see Act and which one prevails. The later Act is the Interpretations Act, and we are all bound to use that as the guide in law making or in interpretation of persons so to speak. Question put and amendment negatived. Clause 77 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 78 ordered to stand part of the Bill. Clause 79 -- Transitional provisions.
The advertised amendment to clause 79, item numbered xx which is on page 11 on the Order Paper, is in the name of the Hon Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, with respect to this proposed amendment, I am advised and verily believe same to be true, that it must be withdrawn.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, leave has been granted to withdraw the proposed amendment. Amendment withdrawn by leave of the House. Clause 79 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Mr Speaker, I would want to propose that we take a suspension for an hour and come back. Mr Speaker, before then, there is an Addendum Order Paper that has been supplied to us. It is a one item issue, which relates to the withdrawal and relaying of a Paper. So, if we may vary the Order of Business and take the item on the Order Paper Addendum.
Hon Members, the Order of Business is varied and we would take the Order Paper Addendum. Hon Members, Order!
Mr Speaker, before I lay the Paper, I would want to crave your indulgence to withdraw the Bill that was laid on the 18th October, 2017, for technical reasons. Mr Speaker, the Bill should have been gazetted 24 hours after the 18th of October, 2017. The Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has advised me that it is better to do it properly. The new one I am about to lay has been gazetted. Mr Speaker, I would want to seek your permission, to withdraw that Bill.
Very well. Leave is hereby granted and the National Identity Register (Amendment) Bill, 2017 which was laid on the 18th of October, 2017 and consequentially referred to the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs is hereby withdrawn. Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, you may take the next item on the Addendum Order Paper
BILLS -- FIRST READING
Hon Members, I would suspend Sitting of the House, until 4.15 p.m. 3.08 p.m. --- Sitting suspended. 5.10 a.m. —- Sitting resumed
Hon Majority Leader, we have finished with clause 77. I noticed that there are proposals for replacements — I do not know whether they were stood down, but it appears that there is a new proposed clause 29. BILLS — CONSIDERATION STAGE Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017
[Resumption of debate from column 3086]
Mr Speaker, as you said, we were able to finish with the last clause of the Bill, but some of them were deleted from their original places and relocated to other places, and there are some outstanding ones that have been advertised. So, we are going to deal with them, and I believe if we work hard, we should be able to finish this in 30 minutes or perhaps, less.
Very well. So, we would continue with the outstanding clauses that have been winnowed now. So, I will go to clause 29.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause after clause 28: “Requirements for making a Production Order 29. (1) A production order is made where there is reasonable ground to suspect that, the person specified in the application for the order as being subject to the investigation (a) has benefitted from the commission of corruption or a corruption related offence, in the case of a pending investigation; or (b) is suspected of having committed or committing corruption or a corruption related offence. (2) A court shall make a production order on an application made by the Special Prosecutor. (3) The period stated in a production order is a period of seven days after the day on which the order is made, unless it appears to the court by which the order is made that a longer or shorter period would be appropriate in the particular circumstances.”
Very well. Hon Members, I will put the Question — Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu — rose —
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would plead that in clause 29, subclause (1) (a), line 2, we leave the draftspersons to deal with the positioning of the punctuation marks. It certainly cannot be after “that”. But in Ghana, when we speak, we always pause after “that” and so people seem to think that there should be a comma after “that”. It is not the place for it at all. But we would leave it to the draftspersons to properly locate the punctuation mark.
Very well. I so direct. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Members, in that case, I will put the Question on the entire clause 29.
Mr Speaker, rightly so. Clause 29 as amended order to stand part of the Bill.
New clause — compensation for wrongful freezing of property.
Mr Speaker, I beg to seek your leave to withdraw the proposed amendment. He has done that in consultation with the Committee.
Hon Member, new clause, item numbered (xxiii). New clause, Appointment of a Receiver
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause: “Appointment of a Receiver 48. (1) The court may by an order appoint a receiver in respect of realizable property to which a freezing order applies. (2) A receiver appointed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section shall, in relation to realizable property, have power (a) to take possession of the property; (b) to manage or otherwise deal with the property; (c) to enter into contracts in relation to the property; (d) to commence, continue or defend legal proceedings in relations to the property; and (e) to realize so much of the property as is necessary to defray the expenses of the receiver.” Mr Speaker, this is a provision which we can find in other legislations elsewhere, particularly, in an Act passed in the United Kingdom in 2002.
Hon Chairman, what do you say to this proposed amendment?
Mr Speaker, the understanding is that we take the proposed amendment. It goes to strengthen to the Office and protect what is due the State. So, we have no opposition to the proposed amendment. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Members, I further direct that the draftspersons rearrange clause 48 to cover the new insertion. New clause 48 as amended ordered to stand part of the Bill. New Clause — Application for Pecuniary Penalty Order.
Mr Speaker, we have already dealt with this proposed amendment. We dealt with it yesterday.
Mr Speaker, yes. It was moved and approved.
Very well. So, it should be expunged from the Order Paper. New clause — General Immunities Mr Iddrisu — rose —
Yes, Hon Minority Leader.
Mr Speaker, I was on my feet but could not catch your eye. Just for the purposes of the record, even though you have accordingly directed — “declaration of assets” which was what the Hon Chairman was on when you reminded him of the fact that it had been taken — Is it a requirement to declare assets or just declaration of assets? Mr Speaker, this is because, declaration of assets, as a constitutional requirement —
Hon Minority Leader, the clause I called, which the Hon Chairman advised that it had been taken was clause 60 -- “Application for Pecuniary Penalty Order” and not “Declaration of assets”. There is a provision for “Declaration of assets” but we have not got there yet. What we are working on now is “General Immunities”.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause under Miscellaneous Provisions: “General Immunities An authorised officer is immune from prosecution in the per- formance of his duties under this Act if the authorized officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds.”
Mr Speaker, I just would want to know why we are imposing additional burden in the proof of acting in “good faith” and “on reasonable grounds”. Mr Speaker, in many areas of the Constitution where this phraseology is used, the simple rendition is that the person shall not be liable to any action or lawsuit in respect of any matter or thing done by him or her in the performance of his or her functions. But to provide that the person must be in the position to prove that an action he took was done in “good faith” and that it was “on reasonable grounds” imposes an additional burden on the Office of the Special Prosecutor, who certainly may be stepping on many toes. So, to impose this would amount to an effort to stagnate the activities of the Special Prosecutor. I do not think that we need any of these qualifications.
Hon Member, it is not only ladies who can get gifts.
Hon Member, use the male example.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I would oppose the amendment and probably persuade the Hon Chairman of the Committee to stand it down. What could constitute “reasonable grounds” and “good faith”? We do have evidence of intimidation; sometimes, unnecessary harassment and infringement on fundamental human rights and freedoms by these persons -- Therefore, they cannot come under the cloth of immunity law. If they take the wrong decision, which hurts the right of another person, that person should have the right and recourse to justice. Therefore, I say no to “General Immunities”. Mr Speaker, do not forget that we have said in this Bill that they have the powers of the police. Are we saying that just like we heard last week, in a matter of crime not related to corruption, the police acted in excess and then they could come here and say that they did it on “reasonable grounds” and “good faith”, therefore, they are immuned? No. Mr Speaker, in this Bill, we have said that we would want to give the Special Prosecutor and authorised persons the powers of the police. So, we would believe that this immunity is unnecessary, because we all know if we read article 19 of the Constitution, that a lot of the fundamental rights that accused persons are entitled to, they do not honour them. Yet the fact that they do not honour them does not mean that an aggrieved person cannot seek redress. We would be denying other people the opportunity to question their excesses. There may be excesses. Mr Speaker, so I have a difficulty in supporting this amendment, and I believe it should be abandoned, unless we are going to define “reasonable grounds” and “good faith” here for us to know. Mr Speaker, to make my argument, even in other jurisdictions, Special Prosecutors may be accused of biases; it can be political bias or any type of bias. We have seen it happen in many jurisdictions where it has worked. Therefore, he would go and do something and come to justify it that he did it on “reasonable grounds” and in “good faith”. Mr Speaker, so, I strongly oppose this amendment. Probably, the Hon Chairman of the Committee should stand it down so we make progress on the remaining clauses. At least, we said in the law that they would have the powers of the police. We may as well go and amend the law that when the police are in any excesses, we are giving them general immunities and protection. Thank you. Hon Chairman, to make progress, I would want to propose an amendment and suggest it to you that: “An authorised officer is immuned from prosecution in the per- formance of his duties if it is shown that he acted in accordance with article 296 of the Constitution.” Article 296 covers the use of discretionary power and it must not be arbitrary, capricious -- resentment. So, it would cover all the things that we are afraid of.
Mr Speaker, the Office of the Special Prosecutor is a special and peculiar one that we are establishing by law. We know the functions as defined for the office to perform, and we know the thorns and thistles in the way; we cannot pretend. Mr Speaker, the quotation in article 296 of the Constitution applies to everybody who is given some authority to perform any function. That is general and so, we cannot use it to restrict the Office. Indeed, here in this House, we have Hon Members of Parliament, we can use this platform to say anything and whatever we say here cannot be impeached anywhere. What do we say to that? Do we say that it is unconstitutional because of article 296?
Mr Speaker, so, we should be careful and not import provisions elsewhere to disable the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Indeed, article 279 which talks of the “Powers of a Commission of Inquiry” for instance, provides in subclause (2) as follows; “A sole commissioner or a member of a commission of inquiry shall not be liable to any action or suit in respect of any matter or thing done by him in the performance of his functions …” What do we say about that? Are we saying that juxtaposed with article 296, it is unconstitutional? That is an article of the Constitution. Do we say that it is in conflict with the other provision? Mr Speaker, so, when people are importing the provision under article 296 to disable the office, in my view, this would really disable the office. It would disable the performance of the functions of the Special Prosecutor and we need to liberate the office to perform the functions as set out in this Act. Mr Speaker, I side with the Hon Chairman of the Committee and even think that we do not need the qualifications -- the reasonability of the grounds and the goodness of the faith to be displayed. I do not think so at all. We should situate it in context of article 279 and liberate him to perform his functions. Mr Speaker, I so move.
Hon Chairman, answer this question for me. Under this Act, we are only trying to give a portion of the Hon Attorney-General's powers to the Special Prosecutor. Does the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice have any immunity at all in any law?
Mr Speaker, every public officer, acting in his capacity as a public officer, to the extent that, that public officer acts in good faith, that public officer is protected by the law. Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing that our laws make provision for unlawful arrests, unlawful restrictions of liberties, unlawful detention, malicious arrests and malicious prosecution. These are all basis to claim compensation. Let me quote article 14 (5) of the Constitution: “A person who is unlawfully arrested, restricted or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation from that other person.” This provision applies to even the police, and any person acting in his or her capacity as a public officer is obligated to protect this constitutional injunction. Mr Speaker, what we are saying is that this is a general principle of law, that public officers acting in their capacity as public officers are protected by the law, to the extent that they act in good faith and on reasonable grounds. Somebody may ask; what is “good faith” and on “reasonable grounds”? This is a matter of evidence, and if any person thinks that they have been unlawfully treated, they cannot be there and then claim compensation from that public officer. They must proceed to court, sue the person, lay the basis for which they are claiming the compensation and their claim would be subjected to evidence or trial before the court can come to a determination.
Hon Chairman, kindly stop there. What immunity are we offering the Special Prosecutor? What is here is “immunity from prosecution”. We have not said that they are immuned from civil prosecution and so, let us be clear on what we want. If the person acted in good faith in the performance of his or her duty, and somebody is injured or property is lost, the person may not be personally liable but the State would be liable from the law that is emanating from that act. But when it comes to prosecution, one can only be prosecuted for a crime, and therefore, we cannot justify a crime by “good faith” or “reasonable grounds”. I think the kind of immunity that we want is to absorb the Special Prosecutor and the public officers from personal responsibility for acts or omissions in the conduct of their work. So, we should re- think the immunity we are offering.
Mr Speaker, in fact, it is with great reluctance that I rise to support the Hon Chairman after my Hon Leader has spoken. Mr Speaker, there are certain fundamentals that we have to understand. The office that we are establishing is a political office, and it is going to take decisions that would potentially affect the rights and civil liberties of individuals. Mr Speaker, he is being vested with great powers and he can abuse those powers. I agree with you to the extent that an abuse of those powers should not lie in a criminal action because he would not have violated any statute but it would lie in a civil action. The provision here is clearly saying that the immunity granted the Special Prosecutor is not absolute if it can be demonstrated that the exercise of his powers; both investigative and prose- cutorial have been done in bad faith, and like my Hon Colleague has said, if it was not done capriciously with some bias or prejudice -- Indeed, in the criminal statutes of this country, anytime we use the words “on reasonable grounds” the flip side is that if one could demonstrate that this action has not been taken on reasonable grounds, then an action would lie in criminal jurisprudence. In fact, it is a limiting factor to the exercise of the power in such a way that he has to exercise the power in accordance with law, and reasonable grounds and have been said to be the test of the man in the trotro at the Tema Station. Not the subjective -- if a police officer decides that he wants promotion and so he could pander to the whims and caprices of a political establishment and arrests a person capriciously -- an action would lie. Mr Speaker, I beg to further amend this provision and I would propose two amendments. Mr Speaker, unless we are saying that an authorised officer includes the Special Prosecutor, then very well. Mr Speaker, but an authorised officer is immuned from civil suit or civil action -- because he would not have violated any penal code in the performance of his duties under this act if that authorised officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds. Mr Speaker, it should be civil action and not prosecution.
Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, we are making a legislation which is at the heart of a criminal trial and a criminal trail process. In a criminal trial the uncontested assumption is that there are two parties; the State and the other weakened party. We are Parliament, therefore, in making legislation, we should be mindful of the rights of that weakened party. Mr Speaker, as I gave the example; after the Watergate scandal in the US following the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, there was confusion with the Attorney- General, Richardson, after Cox was appointed. Assuming the Attorney- General is not happy with a Special Prosecutor tomorrow, and she has good and enough reasons that the Special Prosecutor has behaved in a manner that may warrant her criminal proceedings against the Special Prosecutor -- very soon we would come to the provisions for the Special Prosecutor to declare assets. I do not think we would need to give them this immunity. Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Leader refered to Hon Members of Parliament and that is why parliamentary privilege is saved in the Constitution and we are referred to as Honourable. The assumption is that we would not do dishonourable things and then we would enjoy the privilege of being honourable. Mr Speaker, this is delegated authority of the Attorney-General and the supremo in this matter is the Attorney-General. Mr Speaker, you raised a legitimate question, that is the Attorney-General immuned? Mr Speaker, I was reserving it when we come to the definition of public officers, the umbrella wholesale definition that we have lifted from the Constitution would include -- as I indicated earlier -- the President of the Republic. We know that we cannot subject a sitting President to a criminal process. Mr Speaker, so, the Hon Chairman's argument rather supported us. When he read article 19, it supported our argument that we do not need to provide immunity for that purpose. Mr Speaker, I heard the Hon Chairman when he read article 19 of the Constitution; it rather strengthens the argument that we are making, that we should not provide immunity. Mr Speaker, my emphasis is that the Special Prosecutor is just one party and that is the State. As Parliament, we should be mindful of the rights of other persons and the manner in which -- Mr Speaker, it is not for nothing that the law establishes that where there is shadow of doubt, it goes to the accused person. This is because the law assumes that with the weight and strength of the State, he cannot even do away with doubt. So, the Attorney-General is not immuned and so why should somebody who is coming to enjoy a delegated authority be immuned. I would leave the question that Mr Speaker asked, that if the Attorney-General, who is delegating the authority to the Special Prosecutor or authorised person is not immuned, then why would somebody exercising that delegated authority be immuned? [interruption] -- Show me a law in Ghana; either by the Constitution or any other existing law, where the Attorney-General is immuned in the performance of any duty. Let us not personalise a legislation because Attorney-Generals have come and gone and they would still come. So, I am not referring to Hon Gloria Akuffo, but we are saying that the Office of the Attorney- General is not immuned. Therefore, why do we want to immune somebody who is going to enjoy a delegated power? Mr Speaker, we have a difficulty with that.
Mr Speaker, I even want to amend this proposed amendment and include legal proceedings. This is because a public officer in the performance of his duties acts mala fide depending on the nature of the performance of his duties, could be liable to both civil and criminal proceedings. Mr Speaker, let me give a typical example; the law requires that a police officer in the course of arresting a suspect, should use reasonable force. If the police officer, goes wayward and uses a force that is unwarranted by law and in the process, the suspect is killed, then that police officer could be prosecuted. We have seen instances of this many times without number, and so that police officer could be prosecuted. It means that, that police officer did not act in good faith or on reasonable grounds. Mr Speaker, because of this I would rather propose that an authorised officer is immuned from legal action in the performance of his duties under this Act, if the authorised officer acted -- Mr Speaker, the qualification is acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds. The powers of the Special Prosecutor are not unlimited, but the powers are also circumscribed by law. The Special Prosecutor is not expected to go beyond the bounds of the law. That is why we are saying that, to the extent that the Special Prosecutor is protected then the public must also be protected so that if the Special Prosecutor acts mala fide and acts without reasonable grounds then that Special Prosecutor could also be hauled before the court of law either in a civil or criminal proceedings. Mr Speaker, this is a general principle of law which must stay, therefore, I move and pray this proposed amendment be adopted.
Hon Chairman, I think your intentions are clear now. You want to provide immunity for civil and criminal proceedings if only the person complaining cannot show that the Special Prosecutor or authorised officers acted in bad faith. Hon Chairman, but my worry is the criminal -- What would occasion the need to prosecute the Special Prosecutor if it is not a crime?
Mr Speaker, an instance could arise where the Special Prosecutor, in the performance of his duties, may act beyond the limit of the law and commit a criminal offence. Mr Speaker, are we saying that the Special Prosecutor could not be prosecuted?
I am saying that when it comes to prosecution, he should be like any other person. We do not need to provide any immunity for the Special Prosecutor in terms of crime. It is only in civil liability that if he were not an officer, he may have been personally responsible for acts or omissions of his. But when it comes to crime, the law applying to him should be like any other officer. So, the immunity we want is from civil proceedings in the performance of his duties. That is what I think.
Mr Speaker, I now clearly understand where you are coming from. Could we then make it a civil action?
Mr Speaker, damages as a result of malicious prosecution is a relief available to an aggrieved party who has been proceeded against by the State wrongfully. Before the State proceeds against an individual, for purposes of prosecuting a criminal offence against him or her, there are standards to be met. The doctrine in malicious prosecution suggests that the State failed to meet those standards before proceeding against a person. So, normally, they would fail in the prosecution. For instance, if one proceeds against Mr A, and at the end of the prosecution, he successfully moves a motion for submission of no case and succeeds, he has a recourse to proceed against the State in malicious prosecution.
Hon Members, the proviso is an opening that as long as you or anybody else could show that the Special Prosecutor did not act in good faith or unreasonable grounds, that immunity is not available to him. That is all that this clause says. The immunity is available to him provided that he has acted in good faith. If he does not, the person who is aggrieved is entitled to compensation. That is all this is about.
Mr Speaker, unfortunately, in criminal prosecution, there is nothing like good faith. We have agreed that we would take out the criminal prosecution.
Hon Member, please, resume your seat. You have not added any new thing. Hon Chairman, do not be distracted by Hon K. T. Hammond. I would want you to tell us the new and accepted rendition, so that we could take a decision on it. Hon K. T. Hammond, I would not recognise you because you have not been here from day one. You have not followed the proceedings. Yes, Hon K. T. Hammond, I would hear you.
Mr Speaker, thank you very much. Mr Speaker, my voice has not been good since the last election. For whatever reason, I do not know. It has not been good, so bear with me. Mr Speaker, I was seriously putting something together up there when, of course, I was watching you in the debate. I am so anxious about this, that I had to rush here, at least, to make a contribution on just that point. [Interruption.] I was watching the House debate and not the Hon First Deputy Speaker alone. Mr Speaker, on the matter of the immunity of the Special Prosecutor, I find it scandalous that the suggestion is made that somehow he was entitled to criminal immunity. Indeed, when my Hon Colleague, the Hon Minority Leader, got up to explain, I realised that the Hon Chairman was getting infected. So, he was infected with his ideas, and began to suggest that in that case, it might only be a tortious liability. He cannot have either of them. Mr Speaker, the most powerful man on earth, the President of America, is not entitled to any of them. He cannot have a criminal prosecution, and he cannot have a civil prosecution. The point was made quite correctly that the so called Special Prosecutor is under the authority of the Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. The Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is not even beginning to contemplate the claim to civil, let alone criminal immunity. So, what is the suggestion that the person should be entitled to either of the two? Criminal prosecution is certainly not. Mr Speaker, I read through the Constitution. All that the Constitution does for the first gentleman of the land, who is the President, is that while he is in office as the President, one cannot bring criminal -- Three years thereafter, that man or woman is subjected to the laws of this country. So, we talk about the Special Prosecutor -- even if the consensus of the House is that he would not be entitled to criminal liability, that is fair and we would leave it like that. Mr Speaker, talking about reason- ability, matters of reasonability do not arise in this context. In any event, the vicarious liability would fall ultimately on the State. So, what is the problem? We would not have a Special Prosecutor who would be criminally immune, and certainly not have any civil liability. Mr Speaker, a point was made again by one of my Hon Colleagues out there that we would imbue this person with the powerful dramatic powers he or she could exercise anywhere. I think my Hon Colleague, Hon Inusah Fuseini, made the point. They could do it capriciously, they could do it maliciously, and they could do it whichever way they would want it; I think my Hon Leader would want to call it “whimsically” -- [Laughter.] -- and run away with it. Mr Speaker, why do we want to do that? My view is that he should not be entitled to either criminal immunity or civil liability. We should let the civil process take him on, and be taken to court. When he goes to court and he is found liable, as you would agree with me, Mr Speaker, the State would vicariously accept the responsibility. Mr First Deputy Speaker Yes, that is the point. Hon Members, the point we would want to make is that -- Hon Members, Order! The point we would want to make is that in the performance of his duties, he is not personally liable. So, the immunity is for his person, but the State would be vicariously liable for things he does, even in good faith. For those he does not do in good faith, he might be personally liable, and the immunity does not cover him. So, that is what we would want to capture, and take the Question. Hon Chairman, let us agree on the rendition and move from here. “An authorised officer is personally immune from civil liability in the performance of his duties under this Act if the authorised officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds.” Would that be all right?
Mr Speaker, I must start by stating that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is different from a Commission of Enquiry. So, the two are totally different.
Hon Member, let us focus on the amendment. We should not go back to debate.
Mr Speaker, we are talking about good faith and reasonable grounds, but who determines the good faith and the reasonable grounds?
It is always determined in court.
Yes, but if it is always determined in court, then what kind of immunity are we giving to the Special Prosecutor? Mr Speaker, if we talk about a vicarious liability, it is only when one establishes the liability of the thought seizer that the employer can be vicariously liable. So, in the circumstances of this nature, if we give immunity to the Special Prosecutor, then how do we go beyond the Special Prosecutor to establish, so that the State would become vicariously liable? Mr Speaker, therefore, giving immunity to the Special Prosecutor in this circumstance may cause us to end up making a bad law.
Hon Member, allow me to engage you. If a police officer does something that in your view he should be personally liable for, who would you sue?
Mr Speaker, the police officer and then the State.
Why would you sue the State?
Mr Speaker, because the State would be vicariously liable.
It is precisely the reason for which you would want the Officer to be held liable for his actions, but the compensation would be paid by his employer. Is that not what we are trying to achieve here? So, he should not be personally liable, and that is what we are trying to define. This should be as long as he or she acts in his or her official capacity, in good faith.
Yes, Mr Speaker, but the immunity that we are creating here means that if one is immune from a civil action, then it means the civil action would not even be taken against him, just like we have given to our President. Until his period elapses, one cannot take the President to court. So, if we give the same immunity to the Special Prosecutor --
Hon Member, but the law provides how we should take action against the President.
Mr Speaker, here, we are giving immunity to the Special Prose- cutor. My understanding is that during the process, one cannot bring any action against him because he is immune.
He is personally immune. That is why the Constitution says that --
Mr Speaker, with due respect, you indicated that you would want to engage me. [Interruption.] Hon Members, Mr Speaker would want to engage me. That was what he said. He would want to engage me, so, should I sit down while the Speaker speaks to me?
Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, we have heard enough of the argument. So, you could put the Question, so that we move on. Mr Speaker, it is getting tedious and repetitive. We have listened enough to the arguments, and we would need to make progress. So, with respect, put the Question and --
Hon Chairman, kindly give us the new rendition that would capture what we have agreed on.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition reads: “An authorised officer is personally immune from civil liabilities in the performance of his duties under this Act if the authorised officer acted in good faith and on reasonable grounds”. Mr Speaker, therefore, it is qualified. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Hon Members, item numbere (xxvi) -- new clause. New clause -- declaration of assets
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause under Miscellaneous Provisions: “Declaration of Assets The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and staff of the Office shall, in accordance with clause (4) of article 286 of the Constitution and section 1 of the Public Office Holders (Declaration of Assets and Disqualification) Act, 1998 (Act 550), submit to the Auditor-General a written decla- ration of (a) the properties or assets owned directly or indirectly by the Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and staff of the Office; and (b) the direct or indirect liabilities of the Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and staff of the Office.”
Yes, Hon Minority Leader, you had an issue with this one.
Mr Speaker, first of all, I thought that the head note there should be “requirement to declare assets.” It would then mean that by this provision, we are legislating that the Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor — and if the Hon Chairman is mindful, even though he referred to page 14, there should be “and other staff”. Mr Speaker, we must qualify it with “and other staff” of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The Hon Leader said earlier that it shall be in accordance with clause 4; but why clause 4?
Hon Members, I believe we cannot add to the Constitution; but with the action on article 286(5) (j), Parliament has enacted an Act by which it has added to this list, as given to it by this Parliament. So, which one should apply, is it this or the Act which was enacted -Act 550? Hon Chairman, with your proposal that there should be “other officers” would you include the drivers and the cleaners of the office? So, we may want to give the power to the Special Prosecutor by a Legislative Instrument to list the category of officers who are to be included. Under Act 550, it is only at the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Authority (DVLA), that even very low ranked officers are supposed to declare their assets. Nobody appears to know about that. Hon Majority Leader, should the reference be to only Act 550, or should we start from the Constitution? Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, you have guided the debate. Under article 286 (5) (j) --with your indulgence, I read: “such officers in the public service and any other public institution as Parliament may prescribe.” It is the prescription we are doing now and therefore, when he referenced clause 4 of article 286 of the Constitution, I said no. He should just reference article 286 because it -- Mr Speaker, that rule -- ejusdem generis. We have done the list up to the end, and we have been given a residual power that we could add to the list. We are adding to the list. That is why the reference should be to article 286, and not necessarily to subclause (4). When they take your caution, Mr Speaker, maybe we should even delete “other staff” and just leave it at “the Special Prosecutor and the Deputy”, or probably we should extend it to the Board members but not other staff. We have created a Board that would work with the Special Prosecutor, so all of them must also be required by law to declare their assets.
Mr Speaker, I have no objection with the insertion of “other”. For the avoidance of doubt, I have no objection to his proposed amendment in accordance with article 286, and I have no objection to the requirement, but “other staff” must also be included because they are also public servants.
So, the new rendition please.
The new rendition shall be: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the office shall, in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution …”
Do we want to keep the reference to clause 4 of article 286, or just article 286?
Mr Speaker, it has been proposed that the rest of paragraphs (a) and (b) be dropped because if we say: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the office shall, in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution, make a declaration of their assets and liabilities.” That it is enough. Once the relevant law has been quoted, it is submitted that it is enough.
Mr Speaker, just a further amendment, so that the Hon Chairman would add “a written declaration” -- [Interruption] -- Absolutely, but that is why when we argued, there still was no contention on that.
Article 286 provides for written declarations.
Absolutely, so, if there is no specific reference to one standing clause --
Hon Members, let me read what I got, so that we are clear on what we are voting on. It reads: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall, in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution declare their assets.” Is that right?
Mr Speaker, taking off clause 4 of article 286 of the Constitution is good, because initially, clause 4 dealt with subsequent acquisitions. So, it did not deal with acquisition upon assuming office; taking it off and making it article 286 is fine. That takes care of initial declarations. It should read: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall, in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution, submit a written declaration to the Auditor-General.”
Article 286 (6) says written declaration, so it would become repetitive. Hon Chairman, the way we are doing it does not appear elegant. I would rather propose that: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall declare their assets in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, the challenge is that in article 286, they are required to make declaration of properties, assets and liabilities. When we select making declaration of just the assets, then what about the property and liabilities? That is why the Hon Chairman wanted to add “liabilities”, and I proposed to him that they shall make a declaration in accordance with article 286. [Interruption] -- Yes, but he said they would make a declaration in accordance with article 286, and that covers anything within article 286, which they are required to declare.
Hon Members, let us agree on the formulation. The back and fourth argument is not what I am looking for. Hon Chairman, what is the final formulation.
Mr Speaker, it shall read: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall, in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution, declare their assets and liabilities.”
An Hon Member proposed that “assets and liabilities” should come before “article 286” as follows: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall declare their assets and liabilities in accordance with article 286 of the Constitution.” That is more elegant.
Mr Speaker, these lawyers are confusing those who are not lawyers. [Interruption.] I am confused. A simple rendition like: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the office shall comply with article 286 of the Constitution.”
Hon Chairman, what is your reaction to the new rendition proposed by the Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, it is all right. Once it captured article 286, that is all right. The contents are there.
Hon Members, the rendition is that: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor and other staff of the Office shall comply with article 286 of the Constitution.”
Mr Speaker, just before “other staff”, let us add “members of the Board” for our purposes as in clause 5 on page 6 of the Bill.
The new rendition reads: “The Special Prosecutor, Deputy Special Prosecutor, members of the Board and other staff of the Office shall comply with article 286 of the Constitution.” Question put and amendment agreed to. New clause -- Offence relating to the search and seizure and obstruction of authorised officer.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause under Miscellaneous Provisions: “Offence relating to search and seizure and obstruction of authorised officer: (1) A person who-- (a) refuses an authorised officer access to premises or refuses to submit to a search; (b) assaults an authorised officer in the performance of a function under this Act; (c) fails to comply with a lawful demand of an authorised officer in the performance of functions under this Act; (d) fails to produce property declared to be seized under this Act; (e) conceals or attempts to conceal property liable to seizure under this Act; (f) furnishes information to an authorised officer which the
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, new clause, add the following new clause under Miscellaneous Provisions: “Mutual Legal Assistance The provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2010 (Act 807) shall where
A new insertion? A new Insertion -- The Official Oath.
Yes, Hon Chairman, the Official Oath is proposed by you.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, schedule, add the following new provision: “THE OFFICIAL OATH I,………………………………………………………..... do (in the name of the Almighty God swear) (solemnly affirm) that I will at all times well and truly serve the Republic of Ghana in the office of …………………………… and that I will uphold, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana as by law established. (So help me God) To be sworn before the President or such other person as the President may designate.” Question put and amendment agreed to. Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill. Long Title -- AN ACT to establish the office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption, prosecute these offences on the authority of the Attorney-General and provide for related matters.
Hon Members, there is a proposed amendment to the Long Title. Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Chairman and the policy sponsor of the Bill have no objection, between “corruption” and “involving public officers” in the second line, if we could add “prevent” as part of the Long Title.
Hon Chairman, did you -- [Pause] -- Yes, Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, just so that we do not lose track of yesterday, when we got to clause 66, which is “Production order on application”, and then “Requirements for making production order”, clause 67, the Hon Chairman called for a deletion of those two clauses. Eventually, his attention was drawn to the fact that we were not entirely deleting, but relocating. Now, because he said we were deleting, it is not clear where they are now. They are hanging. He does not need to move any amendment. He would just say that he is relocating them to the appropriate places, so that the two of them would be properly captured against what we have done. Otherwise, it may appear as if we deleted them entirely, and that is not the intent of the Hon Chairman.
Hon Majority Leader, if I understand you, the Question on the two have not been put. We are to put the Question and direct that they be properly re-arranged.
Very well, Hon Members—
Mr Speaker, if the Hon Chairman of the Committee would not oppose, we have subsequently added “alleged” to “corruption”, and “corruption related”.
Where are we talking about?
In respect of the Long Title.
I would come back to the Long Title. My attention has been drawn to something we left. Let us deal with that first.
Mr Speaker, I crave your indulgence to take a second look at clause 77.
Hon Member for Suhum, you obviously were not paying attention. I just told somebody that there are outstanding matters on clauses 66 and 67. I will finish that before I go anywhere else. So, kindly hold your fire. I will finish with clauses 66 and 67. Clauses 66 and 67 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
I further direct that the draftspersons properly locate these two clauses at the place they properly belong. Now, Hon Member for Suhum, what were you saying about clause 77?
Mr Speaker, “Board” has been used several times in the Bill, but it has not been properly defined. I propose that we define “Board” to mean “the governing Board of the Office.”
Hon Members, “Board” is provided for under clause 5. “Governing body of the Office 5. (1) The governing body of the Office is a Board consisting of” So, it has been properly captured in clause 5. Hon Member for Old Tafo?
Mr Speaker, in the text, after that, “the Board” is used but not the “governing body” all the way through. So, “the Board” has to be defined.
No, the governing body of the office is the Board. So, when you say, “the Board”, it refers to the governing body of the office.
Rightly so, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I beg to move, Long Title, line 2, after “corruption” insert “and corruption related offences” and in line 4, delete “implicated” and insert “involved” The new rendition of the Long Title would read: “AN ACT to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector involved in the commission of corruption, prosecute these offences on the authority of the Attorney-General and provide for related offences.” Mr Speaker, I would seek your leave to propose further amendments. I beg to move, in the penultimate line, after “corruption”, insert “and corruption related offences”. In the second line, after “specific”, insert “suspected”.
So, it would read: “AN ACT to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific suspected cases of corruption…”
Mr Speaker, it is: “. . . suspected specific cases of corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector involved in the commission of suspected corruption and corruption related offences, prosecute these offences of the authority of the Attorney-General and provide for related offences.”
Mr Speaker, the Hon Chairman has departed from the agreed word at the Committee. No one would vest the Special Prosecutor the powers to embark on investigation based on suspicion. We said that the Special Prosecutor must embark on investigations based on allegations. [Interruption.] Suspicions should not invoke the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor. Only allegations could invoke the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor. If he went on a wild goose chase of suspicions, what would he catch for us? There must be definite allegations of corruption for the Special Prosecutor to investigate but not suspicions.
Mr Speaker, I am in support of the position taken by the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee. I would propose a further amendment. It should read: “. . . agency to investigate specific cases of alleged…”
Mr Chairman, let us go for the record. We added “suspected”, so, it is not out. We amended the text to add “suspected”. Let us get the record to confirm that.
Mr Speaker, just to remind them. The Hon Ranking Member, in clause 3, we used “alleged or suspected”. So, we must be consistent, “alleged or suspected” but not just “suspected” or only “alleged.”
Mr Speaker, I believe that earlier, when we looked at clause 3, the Hon Majority Leader referenced article 218(e) of the Constitution. This refers to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). “(e) to investigate all instances of alleged or suspected corruption …” Mr Speaker, you may accordingly direct the draftpersons that wherever we have used the words “corruption or corruption related”, they should be prefixed with “suspected or alleged” throughout this Bill. I asked for a policy approval from the Hon Attorney-General and the Hon Chairman that if they had no objection “to investigate specific cases of corruption”
Hon Members, what I would want to do is to give a consequential order, that wherever we have used the word “alleged”, unless the context otherwise requires, we should add the words “or suspected”. We did effect that amendment in clause 3, but I am not sure whether subsequently we have done that. So, the draftspersons would take note and effect that amendment if the context would so admit.
Yes, Hon Member?
Mr Speaker, my position is that the words “alleged” and or “suspicion” should qualify the word “corruption” but not the word “specific”. It is just the inter-positioning. The word “alleged” should come immediately before the word “corruption” but not before the word “specific”.
Very well. Hon Chairman of the Committee, then kindly read your rendition again for the Hansard to capture it properly.
Mr Speaker, the new rendition would be:
Yes, Hon Minority Leader?
Mr Speaker, I had canvassed, so, if it would be defeated, my principle would honour, that part is to prevent corruption and it finds no space in the Long Title. Mr Speaker, in line 2, I am sure that between the words “corruption” and “involving”, we could make provision for the words “prevent corruption” then the rest of the words could stand.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, I believe we took a decision on the word “prevent” and we defeated it. Hon Members, I do not know where we have used the words “prevent corruption”. I have looked at the amendments on the “Functions of the office” and I have also looked at the amendments on the “Objects of the office” and I do not remember that we added the word “prevent”.
Mr Speaker, it was in the consideration of clause 2, which is the “Object of the office”. The debate was to include it in the preambular. The object of the office is to take steps to prevent corruption by paragraphs (a) then (b). That was what we did.
Hon Majority Leader, which clause please?
Mr Speaker, it is clause 2.
Clause 2(a) and (b) read: (a) “investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and corrup- tion related offences to prevent corruption in the public sector; and (b) “recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption- related offences.” Hon Members, that was not an amendment, it was the original rendition.
Mr Speaker, there was a new subclause (c) which was added to clause 2, which was to take steps to prevent corruption and it was agreed on -- [Interruption] -- No, it was the Hon O. B. Amoah who introduced the words “to take steps”; I just used the words “prevent corruption”. Mr Speaker, what I said was that, in the “Long Title”, we should insert the words “prevent corruption” because the deterrent is important.
“…investigate specific cases of corruption, prevent corruption...” -- Mr Speaker, I would want the Hon Ranking Member to help me. Mr Speaker, must the “Long Title” be all encompassing? Mr Speaker, once this is the sense, I have always insisted -- the draftpersons and Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, this is the sense of Parliament so we could ask the draftpersons to fit it in -- parliamentary debate is a guide to interpretation. We have debated and we believe that the “Long Title” must reflect all the fundamental objects of this Bill.
Mr Speaker, I believe we would have to find space for the expression of the preventive aspect of the functions of the Special Prosecutor. It must come in the penultimate line after the word “offences”. So that it would read: “AN ACT to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector involved in the commission of corruption and corruption related offences, prosecute these offences and prevent corruption on the authority of the Attorney-General and provide for related matters”.
Hon Ranking Member, it does not actually fit in. Probably, where the “object” is now, it is better because, that is the result of these activities. I believe we can take the proposed amendment as moved by the Hon Chairman of the Committee. Question put and amendment agreed to.
Yes, Hon Ranking Member?
Mr Speaker, there appears to be a problem with the amendment we made on “Mutual Legal Assistance” on page 16 on the Order Paper. Mr Speaker, there is no operative verb in the whole amendment and with your permission, I beg to quote: “The provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2010 (Act 807) shall where”. Mr Speaker, I believe we should insert the word “apply” after the word “shall”.
Hon Ranking Member, I do not understand, please, read the whole thing.
Mr Speaker, it says: “The provisions of the Mutual Legal Assistance Act, 2010 (Act 807) shall where (a) the Special Prosecutor suspects that property obtained from the
commission of corruption or a corruption related offence is situated in a foreign country; or (b) a foreign country requests assistance from this country to locate or seize property situated in this country suspected to be property obtained from the commission of corruption or corruption related offence within jurisdiction or the foreign country.” Mr Speaker, what would happen? I believe the word “apply” should be inserted between the words “shall” and “where”, so that it would be “shall apply where”.
Hon Chairman of the Committee, we shall insert the word “apply” between the words “shall” and “where”. Question put and amendment agreed to. Hon Members, that brings us to the end of the Consideration Stage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017.
Mr Speaker, we can now take the item numbered 4 on the Order Paper.
Hon Members, the item numbered 4 — Motion — By the Chairman of the Committee.
Mr Speaker, I beg to move, that this Honourable House adopts the Report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Works and Housing on the Credendo-Backed Export Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the ING Bank of Belgium SA/NV for an amount of twenty-five million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-eight euros ((€25, 341,958.00), being loan component of the total project cost of thirty-seven million, six hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred sixty-six euros (€37,683,266.00) to finance the Navrongo (Upper East) Water Supply Project. Mr Speaker, in so doing, I present the Report of the Committee. Introduction Mr Speaker, the Credendo-backed Export Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the ING Bank of Belgium SA/NV for an amount of twenty-five million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-eight euros (€25,341,958.00) being loan component of the total project cost of thirty-seven million, six hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and sixty-six euros (€37,683,266.00) to finance the Navrongo (Upper East) Water Supply Project was laid in the House on Tuesday 31st October, 2017 . Pursuant to article 103 of the 1992 Constitution and Orders 169 and 180 of the Standing Orders of the House, the Agreement was referred to a Joint Committee on Finance and Works and Housing for consideration and report. The Joint Committee subsequently met and considered the Agreement with the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon Kofi Adda, the Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Abena Osei- Asare, as well as officials from the two Ministries and the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL). The Committee appreciates their immense contributions and hereby submits this report to the House. References Mr Speaker, the Committee referred to the following documents inter alia during its deliberations on the Agreement: The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana The Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana The Public Finance Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) Background The Upper East Region and the Navrongo area in particular have over the years faced perennial water challenges. The major cities of the region which include Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Paga and Bongo, have been identified by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) as deprived in terms of their access to potable drinking water supply system. The main surface water supply system in the region is the Vea Dam which is located between Bolgatanga and Bongo. That Dam, however, has inadequate capacity to meet the raw water demands of the fast growing cities. The Vea reservoir is the only source of fresh water supply and is being used conjunctively with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, thus exploiting the reservoir to its limits. To address the water supply challenges facing Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Paga and Bongo and their surrounding com- munities, there is the need for a new raw water source and a new treatment plant. The Tono irrigation reservoir which is close to Navrongo and has surplus capacity to meet the water supply needs of the project area has been identified as the new source of raw water. This reservoir also has enough capacity to accommodate further extensions in the future. Project objectives The main objective of the project is to produce and supply potable water to adequately cater for the needs of Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bongo and Paga and their environs up to the year 2030. The project is expected to culminate in: i. Provision of essential basic water supply infrastructure ii. improving the health of the inhabitants in the project area iii. economic stimulus for existing companies and industries and new companies iv. improving the standard of living of women and children in the Region. Terms and Conditions The terms and conditions of the facility are as follows: Facility Amount -- EUR 37,683,266.00; ORIO grant amount -- EUR 12, 341,308.00; Loan amount -- EUR 25, 341,958.00; Interest rate -- 1.95 per cent p.a. + 6 months Eurobor; Commitment fee -- 0.80 per cent p.a. on the projected available facility for the availability period, Management fee -- 0.85 per cent upfront, Grace period -- 3.0 years, Repayment period -- 10 years (exclusive of grace period), Tenor -- 13 years, Grant element -- 42.43 per ecnt. Observations Financing details The Committee noted that the total cost of the project is thirty-seven million, six hundred and eighty-three thousand, two hundred and sixty-six euros (EUR37, 683,266.00). This is being financed with the loan of EUR 25, 341,958.00 from the ING Bank N.V. of Belgium and a grant .amount of EUR12, 341,308.00 from the Government of Netherlands through ORIO. Deputy Minister for Finance, Mrs Abena Osei-Asare assured the Committee that the grant agreement has already been signed between the Government of Ghana represented by the Ministry of Finance and ORIO of Netherlands, the Grantor. Project description The Committee was informed that the project involves the design and construction of a new water supply system, including intake, water treatment plant, transmission pipelines and distribution pipe network. Particularly, the scope of works on the project would include the following: a) New raw water intake at the Tono reservoir (436m3/h, raw water capacity), including pumping station and raw water trans- mission pipeline. Raw water to be treated at the new Tono water treatment plant will be supplied from the Tono reservoir from an intake tower which is provided with raw water pumps. b) Design and construction of a new water treatment plant located at Navrongo (412 m3/h clear water capacity) c) Rehabilitation of the existing Vea water treatment (approximately 38 m3/h clear water capacity for an improved water transmission and distribution to Bongo and its environs. d) Design and construction of 67 km of new transmission pipelines to transport drinking water from the Tono water treatment plant to the supply areas in Navrongo, Bolgatanga and Paga. e) Design and construction of 50 km new distribution network to transport drinking water to consumers in Navrongo, Bol- gatanga and Paga. f) Design and construction of 3 new elevated reservoirs, and g) Provision of 400 standpipes. The Committee was delighted to note that unlike some previous projects, where transmission and distribution networks are left out, this particular project includes transmission and distribution networks. The Committee, therefore, urges the Ministry of Sanitation and Water resources to ensure that these com- ponents are implemented to forestall the current situation where beneficiary communities are unable to access the water upon completion.
Expected benefits The provision of potable water to the people of Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bongo and Paga and their environs will lead to a reduction in the prevalence of common water-borne diseases as well as reduce the stress of having to trek long distances in search of water. It would also help reduce the pressure on health facilities in the region as a result of a reduction in water- related diseases. On-Lending The Committee noted from paragraph 8.0 of the Joint Ministerial Memo to Parliament that the Ministry of Finance intends to on-lend the facility to Ghana Water Company Limited in accordance with the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921). Deputy Minister for Finance, Hon Abena Osei Asare informed the Committee that the Ministry of Finance will engage the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to do the relevant assessment for the possibility of on-lending the loan. The final Agreement would therefore be submitted to Parliament for approval. The Committee, however, expressed concern about GWCL's ability to service the loan. The Deputy Minister for Finance explained that Government policy to on- lend facilities to agencies is to ensure that these agencies run efficiently to be able to borrow on their own balance sheets. The Committee, therefore, urges the Ministry of Sanitation and Water resources to ensure that GWCL runs efficiently in order to service the loan. Fees In accordance with clauses 11.1 and 11.2 of the Facility Agreement, the borrower (Government of Ghana), is required to pay to the lender a commitment fee in euro, computed at the rate of 0.80 per cent per annum on the projected available facility for the availability period. The borrower shall also pay to the lender an upfront management fee in euro, computed in an amount equal to 0.85 per cent of the Facility. In all, 32.75 per cent of the aggregate amount of the commitment and management fees shall be paid through the grant amount, while the remaining 67.25 per cent would be financed from the Loan. Conclusion The Committee, having carefully scrutinised the Agreement and considering the associated grant amount of €12,341,308.00 and the immense benefits to be derived from the project, respectfully recommends to the House to adopt this Report and approve by resolution, the loan agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the ING Bank of Belgium for an amount of twenty-five million, three hundred and forty-one thousand, nine hundred and fifty-eight Euros (€25,341,958.00), for part- financing of the Navrongo (Upper East) water supply project, in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, and section 56 (1) of the Public Procurement Act of 2016 (Act 921). Respectfully submitted.
Hon Members, any seconder?
Hon Ranking Member, I stopped the Hon Chairman from making his point because
Hon Members, this Report is submitted by consensus and so I will put the Question — Hon Minority Leader, I thought you were in agreement when I curtailed the long references to the Report by the Hon Chairman of the Committee and practically did the same thing to the Hon Ranking Member. I thought all of us were in agreement because we are Sitting way beyond our regular Sitting hours and there is no disagreement anywhere in this Report. So, I thought it would be understandable to curtail the discussions on this one.
Mr Speaker, I do not believe this attitude would help our course. We guide you; even in putting the Question, Mr Speaker made no reference to Leadership -- it does not happen. Mr Speaker, secondly, you must allow us; I do not think there is a fundamental objection to this agreement. But we should comment on the Report. This House has been criticised --
Hon Minority Leader, what is your desire?
Mr Speaker, I would want to comment on the Report but there were other -- Mr Speaker, trust me, even when the Hon Majority Leader was not in, I whispered to the Majority Chief Whip what we should do. We should not be stampeded in these processes. [Inter- ruption.] If we are tired, then let us adjourn and come back tomorrow; they cannot use that as basis -- no.
Hon Minority Leader, I asked you to tell me what your pleasure is? You are going left, right and centre; what is your pleasure?
Mr Speaker, first of all, if you would note, it is a joint Committee Report. It is only fair that the Leadership comments, even if it is one person from each side of the House. Mr Speaker, there is no objection but my Hon Ranking Member was up and there was another Hon Member who was on his feet. Indeed, as I told you, while I knew that the Hon Majority Leader was on his way to prepare for the Third Reading, I endeavoured to reach out to the Majority bench to say that one contribution from each side of the House. Then all of a sudden the Question is being put on the Motion. Mr Speaker, Alhaji Collins Dauda can just give his comments and I would then conclude and we can make progress. There is no objection at all, but we must raise some issues for the records. Mr Speaker, this is not the first time. I would remind the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr A. A. Osei, and the now Hon Majority Leader who was then Hon Minority Leader, that when Bills come here --
Hon Majority Leader, I would want to be guided by the Leaders. How many people do you want to contribute to this before I put the Question? If you leave it to me, I would change my course and allow every Hon member to talk and we would be here.
Mr Speaker, I believe that for the records, since the Hon Minority Leader wants to be citing instances, many times he gets the instances wrong. There were many instances where after the Hon Chairman
of the Committee had moved, I had seconded without any contributors at all because those matters were considered to be non-contentious. So, for the Hon Minority Leader to say that anytime it was done, we had debates, that cannot be correct. Mr Speaker, once we agree that it is non-contentious, we allow a couple of Hon members, especially where time is not on our side. We need to prepare this House for tomorrow's Budget reading. That is the reason why I felt that after it had been moved and ably seconded by the Hon Deputy Ranking Member on Finance, I thought that we were all on drive. But if he would want to create space for the Hon Collins Dauda, himself being a former Minister for Works and Housing, as well as the former Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, so be it.
Mr Speaker, before I go to the main issues that I want to raise, I would want to draw attention to something that has happened regarding this Motion. The Reports were given to us here and now. [Uproar.] It is important because it has to do with a loan and we need to have copies --
Yeboah — rose
Yes, Hon Chairman of the Committee?
Mr Speaker, for the records, the Report was laid in the House last Friday. According to the Standing Orders, when a Report is laid, it is for distribution and copies are placed in our pigeon holes. But because Hon Members would ordinarily not bring copies to the Chamber, we then run additional copies for distribution as and when the Report is being taken. So, this was laid way back last Friday.
Mr Speaker, my intention is to draw attention to it so that we would be guided going forward. Mr Speaker, this loan is intended to provide potable water for the people of Navrongo, Bolgatanga, Bongo and Paga. I would just restrict myself to one point. Under the project, a sixty-seven kilometre transmission line would be constructed. Also, a fifty kilometre distribution network would have to be done. The transmission line would carry raw water from the intake, that is, the Tono project and the fifty kilometre is the distribution network to carry water to homes or to the consumers. Mr Speaker, anytime there is construction, property is affected. In this facility, there is no provision for compensation. When we do not have compensation provided for during construction, there are always challenges in the construction and it affects project delivery. Mr Speaker, we would want the people of Navrongo, Paga and Bolgatanga to enjoy good drinking water. The approval we are going to give today would whet the appetite of the people of this area. Therefore, any obstacle in delaying delivery of potable water to the people may cause apprehension. Therefore, the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) would have to stand ready to provide compensation to people whose properties may be affected by the construction.
Mr Speaker, I thank my Hon Colleague for reminding us on the need to pay compensation to the people who would be affected by the transmission and distribution lines. Indeed, we have worked this out with the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and made provision for GH¢690,000 based on the estimates that we did for the areas which would be affected. So, adequate provision has been made. When we get on the ground and there is any other problem, we would address them. So, his concern has been taken care of. I thank him for his comments.
Mr Speaker, I rise to support the approval of the €25,341,958.00 being loan component of the total cost of €37,683,266.00 to finance the Navrongo (Upper East) Water Supply Project. Mr Speaker, this is just to draw attention. If we pick the Report as it is, it is a very important intervention because I schooled at the Navrongo Secondary School in the 1990/1991 and access to potable and quality water has been a perennial problem in that area. Indeed, we had to be relying on boreholes in order to be able to have access to water. So, this would improve access to water in the area. Mr Speaker, just two comments; the first one is that I hope that there is local content in the procurement of the pipes. Local Ghanaian companies like Interplast Limited can provide value for money. The private sector of Ghana can also benefit. Mr Speaker, this is because those who are providing these loans may demand that every other material be purchased, and therefore, we should make room for local content. Let me just conclude on two other issues which are on paragraph 5.4 -- On- lending agreement. Next time, they should come with an n-lending agreement and I am just quoting paragraph 5.4: “The final Agreement would, therefore, be submitted to Parliament for approval”. When would the final Agreement be submitted to Parliament? When the then Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, introduced some of these interventions as part of debt management strategies, we did not appreciate it. Now, we are beginning to appreciate that when money is taken to the GWCL, they should not just have the money but they must endeavour to pay back. Mr Speaker, what is worrying is a comment attributed again in this Report to the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance. I would again refer to page 6; so, the principle of water for Navrongo. My worry is that this Report says Navrongo. When we go further into the Report, we find communities like Bongo, Paga, Mayoro, Namon and others which are all deserving of it, although not all the communities that we expect are mentioned. So, if anybody picks this, he would think that it is a water project for Navrongo, but it goes beyond Navrongo. Mr Speaker, I can understand the title of the project. So, they should apprise this House of the on-lending agreement.
Finally, in times past, we were told that it is important that Parliament is apprised of the works contract. Let them apprise this House of the works contract. Mr Speaker, with these few words, the people of Navrongo and the Upper East region deserve this intervention. I believe that we should be increasing access to water generally in the country. I can imagine the women in the area would be spared the agony of carrying “Kufuor or Mahama rubber buckets” in search of water. Mr Speaker, we should support it so that they get it. Again, I have not seen all the documentation, but the next time they convey this to us, we would want the Executive or Cabinet approval added to every other document which comes to this House.
Mr Speaker, I would defer to the Hon Member, except to observe that this whole Business is about the delivery of potable water and not “portable” water.
Item numbered 5, Resolutions -- Hon Minister for Finance?
Mr Speaker, I am seeking permission for the Hon Deputy Minister for Finance to stand in for the Hon Minister and move the Motion for the adoption of the Resolution.
Permission is granted. Hon Deputy Minister?
THIS HONOURABLE HOUSE
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to. Resolved accordingly.
Hon Majority Leader?
Mr Speaker, respectfully, could we deal with item numbered 12 on the Order Paper?
Hon Members, item numbered 12 - Motions. Hon Attorney-General and Minister for Justice?
Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. Question put and Motion agreed to.
Hon Members, item numbered 13.
BILLS -- THIRD READING
Hon Majority Leader? Hon Members, it is 7.25 p.m. and it is past our Sitting hours and so the House is adjourned till Wednesday, 15 th November, 2017 at 10.00 a.m.