The Concerned Voters’ Movement has expressed concerns over what it says is an attempt by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin, “to undermine the authority of the court in the country”. The group believes the Speaker, by his actions, is trying to set a collision course between the Judiciary and the Legislature.
The Speaker on Tuesday directed for the setting up of a seven-member committee to look into a petition by a former governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, over the collapse of uniBank.
The petition, which was laid by the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, was challenged by the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu. The Majority Leader argued that the matter was before a court, reminding Parliament not to interfere in the work of the Judiciary.
Separation of powers
In a statement signed by its founder and president, Razak Kojo Opoku, CVM said the attempt by the Speaker to look into a matter that is already before a court of competent jurisdiction is “an attempt to undermine” the powers of the court.
“This country’s 1992 Constitution is based on a quasi-executive presidential system of government. This is underpinned by the principle of separation of powers. Executive power is vested in the President, legislative power in Parliament, and judicial power in the Judiciary.
“By the functions of various arms of government in Ghana, Parliament enacts laws, and the judiciary interprets the laws,” the statement said.
“The issue of Unibank and UT Bank is at the court. I don’t understand how and why the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Alban Bagbin, wants a parliamentary committee to be formed to investigate the issues of these banks, which are before the court of competent jurisdiction.
“The million-dollar question on the lips of many today is: does the Speaker of Parliament want to undermine the court?” it queried.
It continued: “Hon. Alban Bagbin once said that ‘we have three equal independent arms of government’. Then why is the Speaker of Parliament rushing to do things which could undermine the decision of the court?”
“Respectively, Hon Alban Bagbin may be setting a very dangerous precedent by pitching the Legislature against the Judiciary with these actions.
“What prevents owners of the collapsed banks to seek redress at the Appeals Court or Supreme Court if they are not satisfied with the final determination of the case? Is Parliament now an Appeals Court or Supreme Court?” it asked.
The group further wondered why the Speaker had been silent over UT Bank that first petitioned the House, but quickly acting on that of Unibank.
“Is it because the owner(s) of Unibank is/are known NDC member(s)?” the statement asked.
“Why is Hon. Alban Bagbin not giving the same level of attention to other issues citizens of this country that have petitioned Parliament to investigate?” it further asked.