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Bagbin appears to be instituting new rules that undermine Rule of Law – NPP MPs

Speaker (L) and Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

The Majority in Parliament have criticised the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, for the way and manner he handled the issues involving Madina Lawmaker Francis-Xavier Sosu.

Mr Alban Bagbin had denied a request by the Police to release Mr Sosu to them for arrest.

Sosu 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, who has since been charged by the Police, however denied the allegation 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.”

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 could not 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.

But a statement issued by the Majority in Parliament on Thursday November 4 regarding the Speaker’s response said ” The Majority Leadership views the foregoing response by Speaker Bagbin as a troubling departure from how his predecessors handled such requests. To avoid doubt, when both Rt Hons Joyce Bamford Addo and Edward Doe Adjaho received those requests during their days in office, they responded by inviting the relevant MPs, held discussions with them, and then asked them to report to the requesting Police or investigative authorities.”

It added “Now the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt Hon Bagbin, appears to be instituting new rules that seem to undermine the Rule of Law without any prior discussions with the Leadership of the House. We ask: What exactly has changed?”

Below is their full statement

MAJORITY CAUCUS
PARLIAMENT OF GHANA
Parliament House – Accra (Chana)
PARLIAMENT OF GHANA

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MAJORITY LEADERSHIP PARLIAMENT HOUSE, ACCRA, GHANA, 04 NOVEMBER 2021

The Majority Leadership in Parliament notes with extreme concern the refusal of the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Alban S.K. Bagbin, to release the Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Hon Francis Xavier Sosu, to the Ghana Police Service to assist with investigations into alleged offences committed during a recent demonstration in his constituency.

In a letter dated 27 October 2021, the Ghana Police Service officially identified Hon Sosu as a person of interest and, therefore, requested the Speaker to release him to assist with investigations.

However, in a response dated 28th October 2021, the Speaker said: “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”

The Majority Leadership views the foregoing response by Speaker Bagbin as a troubling departure from how his predecessors handled such requests. To avoid doubt, when both Rt Hons Joyce Bamford Addo and Edward Doe Adjaho received those requests during their days in office, they responded by inviting the relevant MPs, held discussions with them, and then
asked them to report to the requesting Police or investigative authorities.

Again, during his tenure as Speaker, Rt Hon Professor Mike Oquaye modified the arrangement, including making the Speaker’s Conference Room available to the Police to meet with MPs they were interested in and to conduct initial investigations. He did this to protect the dignity of MPs while at the same time ensuring that MPs are not put above the law. At all these times, Hon Bagbin, as he then was, had been part of the leadership of the House.

Now the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt Hon Bagbin, appears to be instituting new rules that seem to undermine the Rule of Law without any prior discussions with the Leadership of the House. We ask: What exactly has changed?

As a group, the Majority believes firmly that constitutionally guaranteed immunity for MPs in our democracy must not only be protected always but jealously guarded as well. However, never should we, as a Parliament, make the mistake of allowing immunity to be construed to mean impunity.

We take a firm view that in the particular case under reference, Parliament, as the law-making arm of our democracy, has a constitutional, legal and moral duty to cooperate and collaborate with the Police to ensure that the Rule of Law prevails. Further, Parliament must not be seen to be creating a false regime of two separate laws in Ghana – one for MPs and another for non-
MPs. Instead, Parliament must ensure the equality of all citizens, including MPs, before the law.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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