Parliament is racing against time, holding what the Majority Leader Cletus Avoka called “consultations” on the best way forward to curing defective Legislative Instruments brought to the House by the Mills government to give legal backing to the proposed new districts.

A joint committee of the House has proposed that 77 of the 100 LIs laid before the House 21 days ago today must be withdrawn or be nullified by a Parliamentary vote.

The Committee found many of the LIs to have grievous errors and misrepresentations leading to as many as 30 aggrieved Members of Parliament, Traditional Authorities and individuals filing petitions in Parliament against the creation of the proposed new districts.

Per the 1992 Constitution, the proposed new districts must come into force by close of day today, exactly 21 days after the LIs were laid in Parliament for scrutiny and subsequent approval.

Early in Parliament today, the New Juabeng North MP, Hon Hackman Owusu Agyemang, demanded that the report of the joint Committee must necessarily be debated and a decision taken before the LIs automatically become law in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

He feared the lawmaking House runs the risk of looking on for the LIs to automatically become effective with all the defects noticed by the Committee if MPs fail to take a decision on the issue before close of day today.

His comments came after the Speaker called on the Majority side to move the motion on the new LIs, but was told the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, was not available in the House to brief MPs on the outcome of consultations on the issue.

On his feet, Majority Leader, Hon. Avoka, explained that leadership has been holding consultations with the executive arm of government on the matter and that the House will surely debate and take a decision on the issue before rising later today.

The motion has since been deferred.

Since yesterday, lawmakers have been, according to our correspondent, Richard Sky, in “a serious dilemma” over whether to allow the new districts to come into force by turning a blind eye to the myriad of “constitutional and legal flaws seen in the LIs or step in to derail the new creations with a massive two-third majority vote” in line with the proposals by the joint committee of the House.

The flaws, according to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Subsidiary Legislation and Local Government & Rural Development, include among other things discrepancies in electoral areas and other defects and wrong location of principal offices or district capitals.

In its report, the Joint Parliamentary Committee recommended immediate withdrawal of the bills, failing which the House may have to nullify those LIs seen to have offended the nation’s laws.

“….The Committee strongly recommends that the interments listed as appendices B and C be either withdrawn by the honourable Minister for Local Government and Rural Development or annulled by the House,” the Joint Committee on Subsidiary Legislation and Local Government and Rural Development said in its March 2012 report to the House.

The report said, “Allowing these interments to come into force with all the defects will mean an amendment to LI 1983, which is illegal. It will also mean a contravention of the constitution and the local government act 1993, (Act 462)”.

But, the committee has recommended that the instruments listed at appendix A, which has 23 LIs, “be allowed by the House to pass in accordance with article 11(7) of the Constitution”.

“The committee again wishes to strongly recommend that in future, the House demands the population figures as well as the recommendation of the electoral commission relative to the creation of districts. This will enable effectively scrutinise the instruments to ensure that they meet the requirements of the local government act 1993, Act 462 and all other relevant laws,” the report said. **

Source: citifmonline

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