Africa-Press – Ghana. The Office of the President has denied media reports accusing the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of remaining silent on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023.
A statement signed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin said the bill was officially submitted to the President for his assent on Monday, as such could not be accused of being silent on it.
In addition to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023 two other bills, the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023 and the National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 were also submitted to the President on the same day.
“Indeed, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, is reported, on Monday, to have “rebuked Akufo-Addo over ‘silence’ on the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill.” It is important to state at the outset, that the amendment is specifically designed to outlaw the roles of witch doctors or witch-finders, in addition to prohibiting the act of declaring, accusing, naming, or labelling an individual as a witch, alongside other related matters.
Contrary to the claims made in these reports by the Speaker of Parliament and the Minority Caucus in Parliament, President Akufo-Addo has not remained silent on the bill,” it said.
The statement questioned why the Speaker of Parliament would accuse the President of remaining silent on the bill when the bill was officially presented to him on Monday, November 27 from Parliament, the same day the Speaker made the accusation?
“Indeed, the bill was officially presented to the President for his assent together with the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2023 and the National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, under cover of a letter dated November 27, 2023, with reference PS/CS/112/826,” it said.
The statement therefore said “It is, thus, wholly inaccurate that the bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention. President Akufo-Addo is mindful of Article 106 (7) of the Constitution, which affords the President seven days to review and give his assent to any bill presented to him.”
In light of this constitutional provision, it said the President was still well within the legally stipulated timeframe to make a decision regarding the bill.
“During this period, the President may examine the bill thoroughly and, if necessary, convey any concerns or suggestions he might have regarding its contents to Parliament,” the statement added.
The Office of the President assured the public and media that the bills, including, the Criminal Offences (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2023, would be attended to with the utmost respect for constitutional mandates and legislative processes