The Speaker of Parliament could be putting himself at risk of charges which carry up to ten years in jail if he is found to have acted contrary to the provisions of the 1992 constitution by rejecting the 2022 Budget, a constitutional lawyer has said, and if the Supreme Court declares he has committed a breach of this kind but he fails to respect consequent orders.
The comment by the head of law centres in the Faculty of Law of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, comes amid the debate that has followed rejection of the 2022 Budget in Parliament by a one-sided House on Friday (26 November) and subsequent criticism of the role played by the Speaker, Alban Bagbin.
Sharing his opinion on developments in the House during the newspaper review segment of The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (29 November), Dr Agyeman-Budu said the Speaker could be jailed if the Supreme Court establishes that he acted in contravention of the constitution and he fails to respect consequent orders.
“I think that there is that issue of constitutionality that could be determined by the Supreme Court, and if you read Article 2 of the constitution, for instance, a citizen of Ghana can bring an action in the Supreme Court [if] you believe that any person has acted or omitted to act in a way that is inconsistent with or in contravention of the constitution or any provision thereof,” Agyeman-Budu said.
“If you read Article 2 closely, you will find out that the Supreme Court has the power to declare any such act of any person unconstitutional or inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution, and they have the power to make consequential orders to give effect to [any] particular declaration or decision that they will make.”
He added, “[This is] to the extent that all those persons to whom such orders of the Supreme Court are directed are bound by the constitution to obey the orders of the Supreme Court, or risk being convicted for what is referred to as ‘high crime’ under the constitution, which carries a jail term of ten years and not being able to hold public office for ten years.”