By Bubu Klinogo
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has described as unconstitutional recent attempts by the Police to arrest the Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu in the manner they did.
A statement signed by the Deputy Clerk of Parliament, Eric Owusu Mensah, described the Police action as an affront not only to the MP but also Parliament as an institution.
The statement acknowledged that MPs are not above the law, adding that the Constitution spelt out the procedure to adopt in dealing with an MP in such a situation.
The statement described as gross disrespect to the Speaker, and an affront to the dignity of Parliament and the democracy of Ghana, the attempt by the Police to arrest Mr. Sosu in church, after the Speaker had communicated to the Police Service, that he was unable to release the MP because Parliament was in session and MPs’ are expected to play some vital national roles.
Also, it drew attention to the pending contempt of Parliament charge against two Senior Police officers by the MP, which the Speaker had referred to the Privileges Committee.
While acknowledging the readiness of Parliament to cooperate with the Police to carry out their mandate, the statement notes that the Police are not above the law and as such, must act within the law.
It adds that over the years, many MPs from both sides of the House were arrested and investigated and others arraigned before court, but such was done following the due process.
According to the statement, the Speaker’s certificate is required as a testament that an MP is not attending to or from Parliament before any process from a court or outside Parliament can be served on him.
Again, the statement touched on the interdiction of the Police bodyguard of the MP, Inspector Agbavor, and said the directive is an act of intimidation against the officer who was only performing the functions assigned to him.
It said the instruction given to the Commander of the Parliamentary Protection Unit of the Police to replace the bodyguard of the MP with a different officer is unacceptable and should not be allowed to hold. It said such intimidating administrative actions weakens the morale of the bodyguards in the performance of their duties.
The statement pledged the resolve of the Speaker to lead MPs to defend the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the Police in an earlier statement denied knowledge of going to affect any arrest of the MP at the Church premises.