President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has clarified his decision not to give assent to three crucial bills—the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill 2023, the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill Number 2, 2023, and the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023. In a letter to Parliament, the President outlined concerns about potential financial implications and a violation of constitutional provisions.
President Akufo-Addo, after consultations with the Attorney General, noted that the Ghana Armed Forces Amendment Bill 2023, sponsored by MP Francis Xavier Sosu, seeking to replace the death penalty with a life sentence, could impact the state’s consolidated fund due to associated incarceration costs.
He highlighted significant financial implications on Ghana’s consolidated fund and public funds, projecting costs related to imprisonment, sustenance, and healthcare for those convicted under the proposed laws. The President emphasized the need for fiscal responsibility and adherence to constitutional provisions in introducing legislation, expressing support for the bills while indicating an intention for their reintroduction in Parliament.
In the letter to Parliament, President Akufo-Addo stated, “Upon a thorough review of the relevant constitutional legislative frameworks, specifically Article 108 of the constitution and section 100 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Act 921, it is evident that the bill introduced as private member’s bills by the honorable MP for Madina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, do not conform with the provisions of the constitution.”
“These bills, which avoid the death penalty and criminalize the activities of witch doctors, retain substantial financial obligations on the consolidated fund and other public funds of Ghana due to the projected cost related to imprisonment, sustenance, and healthcare for those who will be convicted under the days when they become law.”
He continued, “Therefore, in light of this significant fiscal impact, these bills should not have been introduced without the fiscal impact analysis. Access to such an analysis precludes these bills from being properly classified as private member’s bills.”
President Akufo-Addo emphasized his support for the content of the bills and expressed his intention for them to be reintroduced in Parliament on his behalf in due course.
In conclusion, this decision by the President underscores the delicate balance between legislative objectives and fiscal responsibility, raising questions about the alignment of proposed bills with constitutional and financial considerations. The future of these bills now depends on their potential reintroduction to Parliament.