The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has rekindled the debate on whether the police had the right to arrest the NDC MP for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu.
The Speaker said yesterday that the attempt by the police to arrest the MP was an “obstruction” and said the MP “had gone through all the processes of the public order act.”
Mr. Sosu, has been evading arrest since October 26, for his alleged involvement in a demonstration that led to road blockade and destruction of property in some parts of his constituency.
The police, unable to arrest the MP following the decision of the Speaker of Parliament not to release him, went to court to secure criminal summons to aid the process of arrest, and was subsequently charged with obstruction of public way, causing damage to other road users and unlawful damage.
The MP skipped the court date on Monday, November 8 after the Speaker wrote to the Kaneshie District Court in Accra that the MP was on official assignment outside the jurisdiction and is expected in court today.
Mr. Bagbin, addressing participants at the first-ever Speaker’s Breakfast Forum in Kumasi yesterday, said Members of Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity.
“These privileges and immunities are special rights conferred on the House collectively as a whole and on members and officers individually. It is to ensure that the Legislature is able to carry out its constitutional duties without let or hindrance from legitimate undemocratic or unlawful processes,” he said.
He resolved that, “I will ensure that what the constitution says about the privileges and immunities of MPs is respected by all; and I mean all.”
The Madina MP’s blatant refusal to honour police invitation following the violent scenes recorded during the demonstration he organised on October 25, to push for good roads in his constituency, sparked heated debate on whether or not a Member of Parliament who has committed an offence can be arrested by the police.
In one video, Sosu was captured instigating the youth to block roads and cause mayhem, and he later run to Parliament to claim that he was being harassed by the police and wanted the officers looking for him rather punished by the legislature.
The police said that during the demonstration which occurred between Ayi Mensah and Amrahia in the Madina Constituency on Monday, October 25, the youth he had organised, blocked roads and burned tyres, caused destruction to property and even prevented an ambulance carrying a pregnant woman from seeking medical attention at the Dodowa District Hospital.
It took the intervention of the police from the Adentan Division to restore normalcy.
In the ensuing heat, the police said the MP’s bodyguard who is also a policeman, drove dangerously through the crowd and put the lives of some senior officers at the scene in danger.
The policeman has since been interdicted by the Ghana Police Service.
Sosu after causing the chaos then run to Parliament to claim victim and rather caused the Speaker, Alban Bagbin, to invite two top policemen who were instrumental in pressing for his arrest, to the Privileges Committee.
On Sunday, October 31, the police determined to arrest the MP, reportedly swarmed a church in Madina where the MP was said to be preaching, but it was unclear if the law enforcers were there to effect the MP’s arrest.
Some of the NDC MPs thronged the Believers Church at Ritz Junction, Madina, to prevent the police from arresting the MP, and subsequently whisked him away in a vehicle.
ACP Kwesi Ofori later clarified in a statement that they were not there to arrest the MP but rather to gather intelligence, saying “any plain-clothed police personnel found on the premises of the church may have been there for intelligence purposes and not to effect an arrest.”
Bagbin On Police
In the ensuing heat, Mr. Bagbin described as “disingenuous and a blatant affront” to Parliament, the attempt by the Ghana Police Service to arrest the NDC MP.
According to him, for the police to ignore his letter received on Friday, October 29, 2021, detailing the reasons the MP could not be released to assist in investigations, is a “clear violation of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and gross disrespect” to him as Speaker and Parliament as an institution.
Mr. Bagbin expressed grave concern about the “recent attempts by the Police Service” to arrest the NDC MP, and said the manner and fashion of the said attempted arrest offend not just the latter, but the “very spirit that underpins our 1992 Constitution.”
By Ernest Kofi Adu