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General News Tue, 2 Nov 2021

Members of Parliament cannot be shielded by the Speaker of Parliament – Kofi Abotsi insists

• Francis Xavier-Sosu has been evading police arrest for about a week now

• The police and parliament have been engaged in matters of law over the involvement of the MP in a demonstration last week

• The police insist they will arrest the MP should he continue to evade


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

Also, the law professor stated that not even the Speaker of Parliament can shield any MP from being arrested, coming on the back of suggestions that the police would need exclusive permission from the head of the House to be able to get MPs arrested, citinewsroom.com has reported.

“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 said.

He continued to explain that the police are under no obligation to inform the Speaker of Parliament before effecting an arrest, stressing that it is wrong for the Speaker to shield any MP from arrest.

“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,” he added.

Francis Xavier-Sosu, the MP for Madina, has, in the last week, been evading arrest from the police after he was invited by the latter to assist it in investigations following a demonstration in the Madina constituency that he led.

Last Sunday, the MP again escaped an attempted arrest by some plain-cloth policemen at his church due to the timely intervention of the Minority Chief Whip in Parliament, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka.

The police, following that incident, denied that they had dispatched men to the scene, stating in a statement that any such persons could have only been there to gather intelligence.

Alban Bagbin, who is the Speaker of Parliament, has also refused a police request to release the Madina MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu, for interrogation.

In the meantime, the MP for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor, has suggested that 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.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com
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