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Atta Akyea Arrest: Minority Cannot Do Foko - Stan Dogbe


Atta Akyea Arrest: Minority Cannot Do Foko - Stan Dogbe

Sections of the 1992 Constitution which grant Members of Parliament some level of immunity are

dysfunctional and only create a class society and must thus be scrapped, says an outspoken activist of the governing National Democratic Government (NDC).

Mr Felix Ofosu Kwakye says he cannot accept that a certain category of the society cannot be held to account for infractions on the law.

His comments come in the wake of the arrest of the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South under controversial circumstances and in a manner that was said to have breached his parliamentary immunity. He was speaking on the political talk show, Majority Caucus Thursday on MultiTV.

The 1992 Constitution provides in Article 117 that “Civil or criminal process coming from any court or place out of Parliament shall not be served on, or executed in relation to, the Speaker or a member or the clerk to Parliament while he is on his way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament.

118. (1) “Neither the Speaker, nor a member of, nor the Clerk to, Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament.”

It was the contention of the Minority in Parliament, a view supported by House Speaker Joyce Bamford Addo, that the arrest of Mr Atta Akyea was in contravention of the provisions of the constitution herein cited.

Mr Ofosu Kwakye however disagrees. He said “I have a fundamental difficulty with that law and it should be repealed at the earliest opportunity because it violates the principle of equality before the law and it flies in the face of fairness in our justice delivery system.”

The Oil and Gas Analyst “cannot understand why a Member of Parliament should be given that kind of immunity simply because he is going to work. Why? If a private citizen can be arrested on the way to his work, same should be [the case] for our Members of Parliament and any other person for that matter. I don’t think that we can build a society that is supposed to be equitable in this manner!”

“I cannot accept,” he said, “that that law is proper and should remain in our statute books.”

Turning his attention to the reaction of the Minority who accused the Attorney General Mr Martin Amidu of pursuing an agenda to embarrass the Abuakwa MP and vowed to resist any attempt to use the police – in flagrant violation of due process – to harass Minority MPs and members of the NPP, Mr Felix Kwakye, accused the NPP MPs of being derelict in their duties in the house and were rather paying attention to trivial matters. “I don’t think that this is a matter that warranted the kind of response that we got from them,” he added.

Presidential Aide, Stan Dogbe agreed.

He said the Minority were simply issuing empty threats when their Leader Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu stated that, “We hereby serve notice to the Attorney-General that the era of patapaa prosecution in the infamous public tribunal system, is behind us. The Attorney general has bared his fangs. He is purposed to give a political coloration to a case between Hon. Atta Akyea and Joseph Adom, we can only assure him that such being his resolve, we will also appropriately position ourselves to do legal battle with him.”

Presidential Aide Stan Dogbe however stated that, “Those threats from Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, James, they are empty threats. Look, hey, they cannot do foko. If the police and for that the Attorney General think that there is a case to be answered by any member of the New Patriotic Party, they will be so made to answer”!

He said the Minority Leader appears to just love listening to himself speak.

Mr Dogbe’s issues with this case were not limited to the Minority; he also had issues with the intervention of Speaker Bamford Addo who instructed the police through the Inspector-General of Police to release Mr Atta Akyea. She contended that the action of the police in arresting Mr Atta Akyea was an abuse of due process and a violation of the constitution. She said the police ought to have written to her to release the MP to the police, promising to protect members of the house from being unduly harassed, but Mr Dogbe is unhappy with the Speaker for this position.

“You see, when the Speaker also says that she will protect them at all times because the police must inform her first, for her to give the approval for the arrest, so is she saying that she gave approval for the police to prosecute Twumasi Appiah (NDC MP for Sene),”? he asked.

“Going by the Speaker’s argument and all the argument some MPs are making, what it means is that if a Member of Parliament in the course of proceedings in the House picks up the Speaker’s maze and hit the Speaker on the head – which is a criminal offence – and the Speaker falls either she dies or she falls unconscious – the MP is not on his way in or out, he is actually in the House – he cannot be arrested. In fact once the Speaker is unconscious or dead, another Speaker will have to come to give approval for that MP to be arrested,” averred.

He repudiated suggestions by host of the show, Mr James Agyenim-Boateng that his prognosis of the situation was absurd.

Source: multi TV




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