The Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has revealed that the Assin Central lawmaker, Kennedy Agyapong has given his full assurance to assist the Privileges Committee as the committee looks into his utterances against a journalist.
The Member of Parliament for Efutu said in Parliament on Friday July 16 that Mr Agyapong has served notice that he will cooperate.
“I have received a message from him and I have no doubt on my mind that steps will be taken to deal with the matter appropriately so that there would be the need to even go into that long haul . I just needed to assure the house of these steps that have been taken by the leadership of the majority.
“We will want to work together. The media is not our enemy. We are not enemies to ourselves. Sometimes we slip. What is important is for us to take steps to remedy or resolve when these things happen.”
Speaker Alban Bagbin has referred Mr Agyapong to the Privileges Committee of Parliament for his utterances against a journalist with the Multimedia Group, Erastus Asare Donkor.
Mr Agyapong on Friday, July 9, is reported to have allegedly threatened to attack Mr Asare Donkor, “for the journalistic work that the latter undertook during the recent shootings and killing incident at Ejura” on his television station.
The Multimedia Group filed a formal complaint against Mr Agyapong.
On Wednesday July 14, the former Broadcaster raised the issue on the floor of the house and asked the Speaker to refer the matter to the Privileges Committee.
He said “Mr Speaker, I think that as a former journalist I feel obliged to draw the House’s attention to this conduct of an Honorable colleague of this house which in my view, brings this house into disrepute.
“Mr Speaker, I urge you to exercise your powers under 27 and refer this conduct of the Honorable which is becoming unacceptable, to the Privileges Committee to ascertain the veracity of the comments that were made and recommend sanctions if possible that will act as deterrent to other members who may be tempted to act like him.”
In response to his request, the Speaker accordingly referred Mr Agyapong to the committee.
He said he cannot take a decision on Mr Agyapong over his utterances against a journalist in Ghana.
That decision to determine whether or not the conduct smacks of abuse of privileges, he said, rests with the lawmakers as a House, to take.
“As it is now, I am compelled to refer it to the Privileges Committee. I want to emphasize that it is the House that will take the decision, it is not the speaker, it is not any other person apart from the House.
“That will be your collective wisdom that come to the conclusion whether what is alleged is just a mere allegation or is supported by facts and whether those facts constitute contempt of the House and abuse of a privilege of members,
“It is important for me to emphasize here that the privilege and immunity of free speech applies in full force in plenary session and committee sessions, not when members are outside debating issues or on radio and TV. You don’t have that right, that privilege, that immunity to just say anything because you are a member of parliament.
“We are not above the law. It is for good reasons because you represent a large number of people, you should be given the full immunity to be able to say what the people say they want you to say. That is why you say it here and you are covered.
“That immunity doesn’t extend to you in anywhere else. So pleased the committee should go into the matter, submit the report.”
Meanwhile, reacting to this on his radio station Oman FM on Thursday July 15, Kennedy Agyapong said “You cannot use the media to and the Police to gag me. You make a statement that I should be referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.
“I want to insult. He is foolish a MP, Suhuyini is stupid. He hasn’t achieved anything in life so he wants Ghana to burn.
“I’m so disappointed in him. He uses everything for politics. The privileges committee is made up of human beings or they think being an MP is all I have, they think being MP is the only thing I rely on. If they remove parliament, I will continue to say the truth, no one can stop me.”
He insisted that the business owner of Joy FM, told him that the workers had resolved to sabotage the government because the New Patritoic Party (NPP) administration is taking care of them, a claim the management of Joy FM denied.
“I will continue to speak the truth and not anyone silence me. The truth is that Joy FM have been disgraced, they should write an apology letter to the families that lost their relatives in Ejura incident. They should also write to those injured as well.
“I still repeat that they are corrupt, I dare Kwasi Twum and he claims he didn’t say it, he should be ashamed of himself. He said it in my office that the staff of Joy FM are threatening to sabotage the government because we don’t take care of them. If they push I will expose all the things about Joy FM.”