Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has petitioned Parliament to cite two Police officers from the Adenta Divisional and Accra Reginal Command for contempt of Parliament for displaying unprofessional conduct.
He invoked the powers of Parliament under Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament, and said ACP Isaac Kojo Asante, Regional Operations Commander, and ACP Eric Winful, Divisional Commander, Adenta-Abokobi should be hauled before the Privileges Committee for contempt of the House.
He said: “Right Honourable Speaker, the sub-title of Article 117 is “Immunity From Service Of Process And Arrest”. The content provides as follows, “Civil of 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.”
According to the Madina MP, after addressing a group of demonstrators in the Constituency, the Police informed him that they needed to send him to the Regional Commander to answer a few questions.
“I informed that I was on my way to Parliament to attend to other parliamentary duties because I was a Deputy Ranking Member and was to attended Leaders meeting in preparation to the resumption of sitting on 26th October 2021, “ Mr Sosu said.
He added that the Police insisted that he needed to come with them, but he informed them that if they wanted to put him under arrest, they had to tell him of the reasons for the arrest, and they had to write to the Speaker of Parliament to inform him before they could execute any orders on him as a sitting MP.
Mr Sosu accused the Police of flagrantly breaching the Constitutional Provision, which related to privileges of an MP as he said they led the way and attempted to forcefully apprehend him in the presence of his constituents.
The Madina MP contended that the attempt by the two officers to publicly arrest and manhandle him amounted to an act intended to impede and obstruct the legitimate discharge of his duties as a Member of Parliament,
“This is an act, which is an affront to the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana,” he said.
However, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, Deputy Majority Leader sought clarification from Speaker Alban Bagbin whether Mr Sosu in making his submission had come under Order 73, which provides that the MP should have previously notified the Speaker.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin in clarifying the issue stated that Mr Sosu had given him a prior notice out of which he (Speaker) gave him the permission to make the complaint before the House.
Speaker Bagbin, giving his ruling on the complaint referred the matter against the two Police officers to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.
He explained that the committee would investigate the complaint and submit a report to the House for consideration.
Speaker Bagbin also expressed concern about the conduct of law enforcement officers towards MPs, adding that, he would issue a statement on the matter in due time.
“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 Parliament,” Mr. Bagbin stressed.
Mr Sosu, earlier in his submission, had stated that on 25th October, 2021, he joined some youth in Adoteiman and Otinibi, which are some communities in the Madina Constituency to demonstrate against the deplorable roads in their communities.
He said the protest was done in accordance with the Public Order Act and there was no destruction of public or private properties as well as no casualties reported.
He said though some of the protestors blocked roads there was no basis for the Police to arrest anybody because they had followed due process.
Mr Sosu also insisted that the protest was in accordance with law and did not warrant his attempted arrest and manhandling by the Police.