The Office of the President has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has not remained silent on the Criminal Offences Amendment (No.2) Bill 2023.
The Minority in Parliament had cited the President for a breach of the Constitution, expressing concerns over his failure to assent to the Criminal Offences Amendment Bill and Anti-Witchcraft Bill, both passed several months ago.
The bills, sponsored by Madina Member of Parliament (MP) Francis Sosu, were successfully passed in July of this year.
The delay in the President's approval prompted the Minority in Parliament to demand explanations, particularly in light of reported killings related to accusations of witchcraft during this period.
Tamale South MP Haruna Iddrisu was the first to raise concerns regarding the lack of action on the part of the President.
Responding to the Minority, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu acknowledged the delay and disclosed that major challenges had been identified in the bills, contributing to the President’s hesitation to give his assent.
Expressing his disappointment, the Speaker of Parliament highlighted that the President had not formally communicated to him regarding the bills, despite the significant time that had elapsed since their passage in July.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, 28 November 2023, the Office of the President said: “It is important to state that at the outset that the amendment is specifically designed to outlaw the role of witch doctors and witch-finders, in addition to prohibiting the act of declaring, accusing, naming or labelling an individual as a witch, alongside other related matters.
It indicated that the Bill was officially presented together with other bills including the Wildlife Resources Management Bill, 2003, and National Petroleum Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, under cover of a letter dated Monday, 27 November 2023.
The Office of the President indicated that: “It is thus wholly, inaccurate that the Bill has been sitting on the desk of the President without receiving due attention.”