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General News Fri, 29 Nov 2002

Abodakpi complains to Parliament

Dan Abodakpi, Member of Parliament for Keta on Thursday said the time has come to clarify the issue of Contempt of Parliament under the Article 122 of the Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House.

He said this has become necessary when a Justice of the Fast Track Court has indicated that the earlier decision to grant his request that his case be heard only on Mondays was being reversed. Abodakpi said this when he issued a Statement in Parliament on the "Complaint of Contempt of Parliament under Article 122 and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament".

The Member explained that he obliged with a summons and appeared at the Fast Track Court on 14 October 2002 and at the hearing, His Lordship Justice S.T. Farkye granted his request.

Abodakpi said however, at the last sitting of the Court on 25 Monday the Judge following the promptings of the Director of Public Prosecution gave an indication to vary the earlier decision on the attendance on Mondays only to either twice or thrice a week starting from next week.

He said he did not lodge a complaint earlier because the sittings of the Court on Mondays did not greatly obstruct or impede the performance of his duties as a Member of Parliament and that he could cope with.

Abodakpi said if however, the Judge decides as indicated, his attendance would be greatly obstructed or impeded to discharge his duties as a Member of Parliament since he would be prevented from attending Parliamentary sittings on those days.

He said the issue of contempt being raised was not to avoid any responsibility, but to seek clarification of the Law and was seeking for a referral to the privileges Committee under Standing Order 31.

Abodakpi said, "in the meantime, the Court should be informed to continue with the sittings on Mondays until the determination of the matter by the House. I am fully prepared submit myself for trail any day during the recess", he added.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Attorney General and Minister of Justice said the Director of Public Prosecutions has informed him that the matter would be dealt with only on Mondays and gave the assurance that there would not be any variations.

The Speaker, Peter Ala Adjetey thereafter, referred the matter to the Privileges Committee to determine Article 122 on its clear interpretations and asked the Committee to submit its report as soon as possible.

Source: GNA