March 3, 2011

Counsel for the four Members of Parliament seeking to annul the Speaker’s ruling on the Petroleum Management Bill is rolling up his sleeves ahead of a legal battle at the Supreme Court.

Atta Akyea believes the passing into law of the controversial bill on Wednesday makes his impending suit a lot easier.

MPs for Bimbilla, Manhyia, Takoradi, and Tarkwa Nsuaem- Dominic Nitiwul, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Mr. Okyere Darko Mensah and Gifty Eugenia Kusi respectively are seeking interpretations for a ruling by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho that the MPs had no power to introduce a bill that will impose a burden on the consolidated fund.

They were bent on filing a motion for the amendment as well as the institution of a Western Region Development Fund into which 10 per cent of the oil revenue should be allotted for the exclusive development of the Western Region.

But the Deputy Speaker Doe Adjaho ruled against the intended ammendment.

Doe Adjaho who sat in for the absent Speaker Joyce Bamford Addo, ruled that such a motion could only be filed by a minister or only at the behest of the President of the Republic.

The four MPs insist the ruling by the Deputy Speaker was unconstitutional and are threatening to annul the ruling at the Supreme Court.

As the controversial bill got passed Wednesday amidst cheers from the Majority, counsel for the four MPs, Atta Akyea, who is also MP for Abuakwa South, was already beaming with confidence ahead of the expected legal battle.

“Today is significant because that brings a closure to the arguments that nobody is going to change his mind on the issues raised and therefore we can say that now that the bill has been passed into law, waiting for the assent to give it the efficacy, we can now have the declaration from the Supreme Court that, that bill is null and void in terms of Article 108 of the Constitution,” he told Joy News’ Sammy Darko.

He dismissed assertions that Parliament is a master of its own and its decisions and Standing Orders are not for interpretations by any court.

According to him, once the Standing Orders referred to by the Deputy Speaker were in flagrant violation of the 1992 Constitution, he was hopeful the Supreme Court would uphold his clients’ suit.