Security in Parliament not our duty, we can only act when the Marshal refers to us – Police

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The Ghana Police Service has said it is not responsible for the provision of security in the chamber of Ghana’s Parliament therefore, it cannot make any attempt to enter the House for such purposes.

Attempting to move in, according to the Police, will amount to a violation of the laws of the land.

According to the Police, they can only come in when the marshal, who is in charge of security in the chamber, refers the matter to them for further investigations into the causes of the disturbances and possible prosecution if the leadership of the House so decides.

A statement issued by the Service on Tuesday December 21 said “The legal position is that the Police have no authority to enter the chamber of Parliament to undertake any law enforcement venture. Any such act will be in contravention of the laws of the country.

“Therefore, the Marshal and his team of officers have to deal with such situations in the chamber and thereafter refer the matter to the Police for investigations and possible prosecution if the leadership of the House so decides.”

This comes at a time Member of Parliament for Ofoase Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said the Republic of Ghana must address the situation where some lawmakers resort to violence as a way of expressing their disagreements in the House

The Information Minister said violence had never been a legitimate tool to be used when there is a disagreement.

On Monday December 20 Members of Ghana’s Parliament could not hold their emotions as some exchanged brawls in the House just before the final vote on the controversial Electronic Transfer Levy Bill, also known as e-levy.

The sit-in Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, had announced that a division would be followed to approve the Bill, presented under a certificate of urgency, and he was going to vote as well in his capacity as a Member of Parliament.

That appeared to have provoked the National Democratic Congress (NDC) members, who questioned his decision to vote after presiding over the night’s proceedings.

They moved to the front of the dais, issuing threats at the Bekwai MP.

This got the Majority MPs to also start agitations and immediately Mr Osei-Owusu handed the presiding role to the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the fight broke out.

Speaking on the mid day news on TV3 Tuesday December 21, the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker said “The first thing we need to is that, we need to deal with the growing conduct of some Members of Parliament that whenever they do not agree with with something, whether it is the Speaker’s rule or a position of the executive or a position of Member of parliament, they resort to violence and physical attacks in the chamber.

“That is the reason for which we have had to adjourn today because today, Mr Speaker is still not in the House, we are not able to proceed with business without rancor because what it would mean is that the First Deputy Speaker or the Second Deputy Speaker would have to take the Chair. Under the circumstances if a matter comes up to a vote and he chooses to exercise his casting votes which he is entitled to, our colleagues on the other side will resort to violence .

“Everybody now sees it clearly, so what next is that the Republic of Ghana needs to address this situation where some Members of Parliament resort to violence as a way of expressing their displeasure. It is totally unacceptable, totally uncalled for. The Marshals department under the leadership the Speaker has to have a handle of this because it doesn’t matter that today, it is e-levy, tomorrow it could be anything and when some particular member of Parliament is not happy with it then there will be a resort to violence and fisticuffs, that is what next to be dealt with.”

Regarding the levy, he revealed that some changes have been made to the proposal following consultations.

“If you read paragraph 361 of the budget statements the executive initially proposed inward remittances, bank transfers, merchant payments, Mobile money to be charged at 1.75 per cent in addition to the 2 per cent that already the telcos are charging.

“After all the consultations and memos and engagements, remittances had been taken out, bank transfer of business had been taken out, merchant payment had been taken out, .025 of the money moneys operators charges had been taken out , so now it is no longer going to be a cumulative, about 3.75, it has now come to 3.5.

“That is evident that there has been engagement, there has been a listening. If all of that has taken place at the committee and you still think you are opposed to it and the vote has taken place and you have lost that vote you don’t come onto the floor and resort to physical violence to prevent the business of the Houses from going on and I think we must be clear on that. Let us not mixed that with consult more, violence has never been a legitimate tool,” he said.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana