By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly has set aside all pending businesses of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow, in parliament following his absence last week without any prior formal communication.
The AG was expected to appear last Tuesday to attend proceedings for the third reading and passage of the Mutual Legal Assistance, Labour Amendment and Forced Labour Amendment bills but his absence resulted in proceedings being adjourned.
The assembly referred his absence to the ABC committee to investigate and advise the plenary for any possible further action.
AG Jallow who was out of jurisdiction appeared before lawmakers yesterday and apologised and called his absence “unintentional”.
“My absence was clearly unintentional and we deeply regret the inconvenience that it has caused the National Assembly. I would also like to add that my absence does not signify any sign of disrespect to this august body. I urge the National Assembly Members, the Hon Speaker and the Office of the Clerk to accept my apology,” the Justice Minister pleaded.
Speaker Mariam Jack Denton, reiterated that ministers must respect the agenda of parliament and be present at all scheduled engagements.
She warned that the assembly will not condone repetitive failure to attend to businesses under ministers’ charges without any formal communications.
Meanwhile, following its review of the AG’s absence, the ABC decided that all the pending businesses of the AG dealing with bills under his purview be written off from the current agenda of the first ordinary session since there might not be sufficient time to complete the legislative processes of the bills.
This means that the pending bills can now only be passed by the new National Assembly since the current session will stand adjourned by 28th February 2022.
Awa Macalo contributed to this story.