November 27, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Deputy Leader of the opposition All People’s Congress Member of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo has requested the Speaker of Parliament to look into the continuous lateness of his colleague, as well as the absence of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for a scheduled sitting.
Since the commencement of the Second Session of the Fifth Parliament, the Speaker has been constantly cautioning MPs to be in attendance and in time whenever the House is meeting, but seemingly, law makers haven’t heed to the said advice.
The Speaker however threatened to sanction MPs for their usual lateness as it has become their usual habit.
The Attorney General, Dr. Priscila Swartz, was supposed to table the High Court (Appointment of Criminal Sessions) Order, 2019, the High Court (Criminal Sessions) Rules S.I No. 74 of 196, the Criminal Procedure Act, 1965 (Act No. 32 1965) and Statutory Instrument No. 2 of 2019,but unfortunately, she neither showed up nor sent any representative.
Hon. IB Kargbo submitted that the absence of two ministers, who were supposed to be in attendance to address important issues was a clear indication that the governance structure of the state is almost collapsing.
“At the Executive level, both ministers cannot make themselves available to discuss government business and Parliamentarians continue dragging their feet to attend parliamentary proceedings. This means that something is wrong somewhere and we must do something about it. I hope you will take note of this and try to address it Mr. Speaker,” he urged.
He added that the Executive arm of government should as well be disciplined if the Speaker wants to discipline the legislature for lateness.
“The business of the house should be respected. The Speaker had lamented on MPs coming in late to attend proceedings, hence the same should be done to the Executive,” he said.
Meanwhile, Acting leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Nyuma said they were expecting the Attorney General or a representative, but that none of them showed u, with no formal correspondence sent to them.
“The Deputy Minister of Finance did call me and stated that he would come late. It has been confirmed that the two ministries were informed about the business of the House and could not explain why the office of Attorney General was not represented in parliament,” he said
The Speaker, Dr. Abass C. Bundu confirmed that the deputy Minister of Finance did call for permission because of other official engagement, but could not confirm as to why the Attorney General and Minister of Justice could not make herself available.