2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament, the Hon. Alban Kingsford Sumani Bagbin has cautioned that Members of Parliament (MPs) are not above the laws of Ghana.
According to him, MPs enjoy certain privileges and special rights but that does not put them above the laws of the country.
Hon. Alban Bagbin gave the warning when his attention was drawn to information that a member of the House had been picked up by the police without following the proper procedures of informing the Speaker of the House.
He argued that since the information is scanty, the House cannot determine whether the member in question was invited or arrested by the police and therefore could not make direct pronouncement on it.
He, however, stressed that for the sake of guidance, Members of Parliament are subject to the laws of the country and are not above being arrested for alleged crimes committed.
The 2nd Deputy Speaker averred that a representative in Parliament is an embodiment of the people he represents but because of bad governance history has taught Ghanaians to iron out some special rights to protect these representatives.
“The special rights include these procedures. Since we are all subject to the laws of the land, while trying to get a member to respond to an allegation of criminal nature, there are procedures to be followed by the state institutions and officials.”
“And these procedures include first getting the information across to the right Hon. Speaker and making available all the evidence that is at the disposal of the state agency.”
“The Speaker would, through whatever evidence has been provided, decide whether there is a situation of a privilege of immunity or any special rights.”
Hon. Bagbin noted that if this happens, the Maze, which is the authority of the House would be applied and the member granted the liberty to go perform his or her duty.
According to him, the law is clear and is stated in the Constitution but warned that does not mean such procedures have to be followed before a suspected member could be invited or arrested adding, “Immediately after the invitation or arrest, the Speaker should be informed and that is the procedure.”
He argued that state institutions cannot be allowed to arrest and invite Members of Parliament in secrecy, “This is not permitted by the rules of the game,” he said.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanfirstname.lastname@example.org