Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has said that he was startled when the issue involving Madina Member of Parliament Francis-Xavier Sosu got out of hands.
According to him, his surprise was occasioned by the fact that they attempted to deal with the matter in a manner to prevent it from escalating to this level.
The Effutu Lawmaker explained that when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was in opposition, his law firm had issues with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The then Deputy Attorney General under the Mahama administration, Dr Dominic Ayine intervened and ensured that due process was followed to handle the matter, he revealed.
Similarly, he added, they were trying to handle Sosu’s matter in a similar manner.
He said on the floor of the House on Thursday November 4
“This is a matter that I think collectively we can manage and avoid unnecessary escalation.
“Mr Speaker, I need to put on record that this won’t be the first time neither will it be the last.
“I recall our days in opposition my law firm had issues with GRA and I recall the intervention made by Honourable Dominic Ayine, the then Deputy Attorney General in drawing the attention of the authority that they should follow due process.
“These were behind the scenes engagement. I was taken aback when Sosu’s matter got out of hands. He has been a very respected friend we engaged each other and were trying to direct him on a certain path that will not get everybody in but be that as it may, what is out there is out.”
Meanwhile, a Governance Expert, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah has faulted Parliament over the way and manner the issue involving Sosu has been handled.
In the view of the CEO of the John Agyekum Kuffuor Foundation, the issue was blown out of proportion due to the power play tactics adopted by Parliament.
He explained in an interview on the mid day news on TV3 Friday November 5, that the initial position of the Police was to invite Sosu to assist with investigation, not to arrest him.
But, he said, the issue escalated after the Speaker refused to grant the Police their request to have him to assist investigate the matter.
The Speaker Rt Hon Alban Bagbin had denied a request by the Police to release Mr Sosu to them for arrest.
Sosu had led some of his constituents to embark on a demonstration against deplorable roads in his constituency.
The demonstration started peacefully at Danfa around 6:00am but later saw demonstrators burning tyres and mounting roadblocks on the Ayi Mensah-Danfa Road.
Sosu, who has since been charged by the Police, however denied the allegation saying “That any allegation of the Police about my involvement in unlawful blockade of road and destruction of public property is false and an afterthought carefully manufactured by the police to shift attention of the people of Ghana from the key issues of bad roads raised by our protest and demonstration.”
In a letter dated October 28, addressed to the Deputy Director-General of Criminal Investigation Division, F.K. Agyei, the Speaker indicated that due to limitations of Articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution, Mr Sosu could not be released.
“I am directed by the Rt. Hon. Speaker to inform you that proceedings of the 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of the 8th Parliament commenced on Tuesday 26th October, 2021 and having regard to the limitations of articles 117 and 118 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic, he is unable to release the Member of Parliament as requested in your letter,” Deputy Director of Legal Services, Nana Tawiah Okyir wrote on behalf of the Clerk of Parliament.
Prof Agyeman-Dua told TV3’s Emmanuel Samani that “In a way, it is very unfortunate that this issue has degenerated to a level where there seems to be a split in Parliament.
” I think this issue could have been resolved peacefully and amicably if there have been the initial consultations between the Speaker or Parliament and the Police.
“The Police started by saying that they simply wanted to invite the MP, Mr Sosu to help them in their investigations, they were not going to arrest him.
“There is a big difference between being invited and being arrested but somehow this initial issue has blown out of proportion once a power play begun to be seen in the way Parliament wanted to relate with the Police.”
He added “I think, on one hand, it is healthy in the sense that it is going to help us to test the extent of the powers of Parliament especially when it comes to the protection of parliamentarians who have been deemed to have flouted the laws , so it is good that we are testing that.
“On the other hand, I think it is important for us not to undermine efforts of the Police to begin to enforce the law. I think the problem has come out of the culture that we have all these years where we simply disobey the Police. You know that individuals at times fight with the Police when they are approached by the Police for all kinds of issues.”
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana