The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has launched a strong defence for Madina lawmaker, Francis-Xavier Sosu, saying the action of the Police “was an obstruction, since he had gone through all the processes of the public order act.”
The Speaker who is speaking on the issue for the first time said Members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity.
“These privileges and immunities are special rights conferred on the house collectively as a whole and on members and officers individually.
“It is to ensure that the Legislature is able to carry out its constitutional duties without let or hindrance from legitimate undemocratic or unlawful processes,” he said.
He resolved to ensure that MPs enjoy these privileges and immunities.
” I will ensure that what the constitution says about the privileges and immunities of MPs is respected by all; and I mean all” he stressed.
Mr Bagbin has been addressing participants at the first ever Speaker’s Breakfast Forum currently ongoing in Kumasi Monday November 15.
He had earlier communicated to the Police his inability to release Sosu to them as requested.
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 cannot 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.
Article 117 stipulates the immunity legislators enjoy.
It says “Civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall not be served on, or executed in relation to, the Speaker or a member or the Clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament.”
Article 118 also states “neither the Speaker, nor a member of, nor the Clerk to, Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament.”
The Speaker ha also ruled on a complaint filed against the police by Sosu that “The committee will investigate the complaint and will submit a report to the house for the whole consideration of the matter.”
He added “I receive complaints. I receive information about police service personnel pursuing Members of Parliament on both sides of the house, and I have on a number of occasions intervened to talk to the authorities and to draw their attention to the law.”
“Members of Parliament have some special rights because of the peculiar nature of the position, functions, and duties of the Member of Parliamen.”
Meanwhile, the Police have officially charged Sosu for allegedly causing damage to public property.
The Director General, Public Affairs Directorate of the Police Service, ACP Kwasi Ofori, said on Wednesday November 3 that “The Police has obtained a criminal summons and has been duly served for him to appear in court on November 8…as we enumerated the charges includes obstructing the highway, causing damage to public property,” he said.
The Police had been seeking to arrest him for allegedly involving in a violent protests in his constituency.
The National Democratic Congress MP 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 has however denied 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.”
By William Evans-Nkum|3news.com|Ghana