The Privileges Committee of Parliament has found a replacement for the three members of Parliament on the committee who recused themselves in a case brought against Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyepong, for alleged contempt.
Mr. Agyapong is alleged to have insulted Parliament.
He reportedly described Parliament as “useless” for having Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as its Majority Leader on his Accra-based Net2 TV.
Again, he described Muntaka Mubarak as dumb for referring him to Parliament’s Privileges Committee over the purported insult.
The Committee had its first public hearing on Tuesday, July 3, but its attention was drawn to a letter, by counsel for the accused, purporting that some members on the committee have applied to recuse themselves but were present at the sitting.
Briefing the house Monday, July 9, the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, announced MP for Adentan, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, Jaman South MP, Yaw Afful and Ablekuma North MP, Akua Owusu Afriyie, were selected by the majority caucus as the temporary replacement.
He however described as “unfortunate” the manner in which the three MPs went about the process of recusing themselves.
According to him, the three Members of Parliament acted in a manner that compromised the standing orders of parliament.
“What went wrong in respect of that is that, the members even though had the right to recuse themselves ought to have discussed the matter with the leadership of the caucus they belong to, that was not done”, he stated.
He made specific reference to Order 164(4) of the Standing Orders of Parliament which requires a member of the committee who so wishes to disqualify himself or herself to write to and seek approval from the committee.
“A Member of the committee may disqualify himself from participating in any investigation of the conduct of a member officer or employee of the house upon a declaration in writing that he cannot render an impartial and unbiased decision in a case in which he seeks to disqualify himself. If the committee approves and accepts such qualification, the chairman shall so notify the speaker who shall request the leader of the same political party…” portions of Order 164 (4) reads.
The Majority Leader added, the practice is for the committee to sit on the request and decide whether or not to grant same.
He however observed the MPs acted as though their request had to be granted once it was submitted.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu,on his part urged the house to allow the committee to do its work as it ought to without any fear or favour.