Home Uncategorized Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi

Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi

Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi

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Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi
Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi

Speaker of Parliament cannot shield MPs from arrest – Kofi Abotsi

The Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), School of Law, Prof. Kofi Abotsi, has said the law only permits Members of Parliament (MPs) to evade arrest on their way to or out of parliament.

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He has thus rebuffed suggestions that the Police need exclusive permission from the Speaker of Parliament before any member of the house can be arrested.

These comments come following the varied interpretations surrounding the attempt by the police to apprehend the MP for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu, over alleged wrongdoing.

Speaking on The Point of View on Citi TV however, Prof. Abosti explained that the Police are under no obligation to inform the Speaker before any arrest, adding that the Speaker’s attempt to shield the MP is wrong.

“The capacity of police to arrest people essentially has no limit at all. The constitution has been clear; that limitation is only extended to the President. Below the president, all of us are subject to arrest by the police. The MPs enjoy a special period of immunity and that period of immunity extends to they being on their way to parliament or on their way out of parliament, so their parliamentary work is not obstructed.”

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has refused a Police request to release the Madina MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu, for interrogation, saying the MP will be engaged in legislative proceedings.

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This was after the Madina MP filed a formal complaint in Parliament accusing two police commanding officers of contempt of Parliament.

The Speaker then referred the complaint against the two police personnel to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.

Prof. Abosti insists that the Speaker’s approach to using Parliament’s standing orders to protect the MP flies in the face of the law.

“As the discussion goes on, I get the sense of confusion whether, the Speaker must grant his permission. That confusion arose from the standing orders of parliament, which is an internal working document. It doesn’t trump the constitution, so as a matter of operational courtesy, police can comply with that. But in terms of compliance, Members of Parliament cannot be shielded by the Speaker of Parliament”, he added.

Meanwhile, the MP for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor disagrees with this assertion.

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He suggests the Police should issue a summons to the Speaker if they are bent on arresting his colleague legislator.

“We cannot say MPs cannot be arrested. But if they are really minded in prosecuting the matter, then they should issue a summons. But if they want to proceed with their first procedure of inquiry into matters , they should come through the speaker”, he said on the same show.

 

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