General News of Friday, 28 July 2017
A Public Interest lawyer says former deputy Power Minister, John Jinapor reserves the right to sue the police over Friday’s search at his residence.
Martin Kpebu said the police flouted the lawmaker’s right to privacy when they stormed his house to conduct a search over AMERI Power deal signed by the past government.
He told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story, to the extent that the action of the police contravenes the Constitution and Parliament Act 965 (Act 300), they could be sued. The sections of the two statutes call for the Speaker of Parliament to be notified before MPs are arrested.
Some officers of the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) stormed the Tema residence of the former deputy Power Minister, to conduct a desperate search for documents covering the AMERI Power Agreement.
The $510 million deal was entered into by the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in 2015. The plant will add 400 megawatts to increase the country’s energy generation capacity.
But the Majority in Parliament has made moves to have the deal rescinded, claiming it was not done in the interest of the country.
Wielding AK-47 rifles, the police officers allegedly went to Mr Jinapor’s residence at 8am while he was on his way to Parliament and demanded to be allowed to search his residence.
The MP told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo the officers ransacked his home in their search for incriminating documents on power deal. The officers had a warrant, the lawmaker confirmed.
The incident comes days after the former Power Minister, Dr Kwabena Donkor and former Technical Advisor for the AMERI deal, Francis Dzata both had their homes searched on separate occasions.
The Minority has registered its displeasure with the development resulting in the decision of the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Aaron Ocquaye to summon the IGP over the matter.
The Speaker said the law and Parliament’s Standing Orders which require that he should be notified before any such action is taken, was not obeyed. But Mr Kpebu said the former deputy Power Minister can challenge the action of the police in court.
He said the police can seize his phone but they do not have the power to search it for any information.
“That is for an ordinary citizen but for an MP…you can’t seize it,” he said.