The Parliamentary Service says it takes strong exceptions to the manner the Ghana Police Service is seeking to apprehend the Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu over alleged wrongdoing.
In a response to the police, the parliamentary service intimated that, although the immunity of MPs is not absolute, the legislator cannot be hounded in a way that is unconstitutional and threatens the country’s democracy.
It also finds it incomprehensible why the police administration has failed to secure a certificate from the Speaker of the House before going ahead to effect the arrest of the MP.
“Mr. Speaker reiterates that the immunities and privileges of Members of Parliament are not absolute. The procedure for causing the arrest of a sitting Member of Parliament or serving a court process must be in accordance with the Constitution.”
“The appropriate procedure is to secure, from the Speaker, a certificate that the Member in question is not attending to Parliamentary Business. Anything short of this should not be entertained by the House”, parts of the statement read.
The October 25 demonstration over bad roads has been the source of controversy after attempts by the police service to invite the Madina MP for interrogation failed.
Mr. Sosu has said police maltreated him and tried to arrest him on the day of the protest.
Police were also reported to have tried to arrest Mr. Sosu while he was at Church on Sunday, October 31, 2021, though the police administration has denied the reports.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, described this development as gross disrespect and a violation of the provisions of the 1992 constitution.
“Mr. Speaker considers these recent happenings as an attempt by some persons in the security services to change the nature of Parliamentary Business and cow Members of Parliament and the House into subservience. This potentially has a long-term effect on our democracy. Mr. Speaker remains resolute to lead Members and Officers of Parliament in the collective determination to defend the constitution and its provisions as is a constitutional duty”.
The Speaker also chided the Police Service for indicting the personal bodyguard of the Madina MP.
“The Police Service should also not be allowed to use threats of administrative sanctions to make ineffective, the Parliamentary Protection Unit by interdicting officers who are lawfully protecting their principals and whose only crime, if any, is to be assigned to protect a Member of Parliament. The Rt. Hon. Speaker believes that the action is taken by the Police to interdict the bodyguard of the Hon. Member of Parliament for Madina potentially affects the morale of all bodyguards of Members of Parliament and weaken the ability of the guards to provide the needed protection for Members and Parliament in general.”
“This, undoubtedly, will defeat the very purpose for which Members of Parliament are provided with bodyguards in the first place. The instructions to the Commander of the Parliamentary Protection Unit to replace the interdicted Police Officer with another officer for the Hon. Member is, to say the least, dangerous and unacceptable.”