Speaker of parliament, the Hon. Aaron Michael Oquaye, has urged the police service to in future, route invitations to Members of Parliament, through the leadership and Speaker of the House.
The member in question, he said, would then attend to the appropriate invitation at the highest quarters preferable the Commissioner of Police CID in charge investigation.
The Speaker noted that this has become necessary in order to ensure such needs are attended to with the appropriate decency.
Professor Mike Ocquaye made the call when his attention was drawn to a dawn raid of the residences of the MP for Asutifi South, the Hon. Collins Dauda, both in Accra and in his constituency.
The Speaker noted the House is mindful of the fact that members are not above the law and stressed that what Parliament is essentially asking for is for members not to be taken by surprise or treated in a manner not consistent with the dignity an MP should be attended to.
“The essence of our Parliamentary privilege and for that matter our query in such circumstances arise occasionally and our stance would continue to be the same with regards to emphasizing our privileges, which is universal and attendant to the work given to Parliament,” he stated.
He argued that a country underpinned by the rule of law recognizes that no citizen, including Members of Parliament are above the law of the country or matters of criminal investigation.
The speaker, however, pointed out that the immunities and privileges of Members of the Parliament are guaranteed by the Constitution of the republic.
He stated that there have been occasions when he actually invited the police to his conference room and even on some occasions allowed to carry out their questioning in the presence of leadership.
He said, “We want to reiterate that when any invitation is required we would like it to be routed properly so that that we may not be seen to be shielding any wrong doing and at the same time keeping true the honour that should be given to the institution of Parliament.”
“So if you want a Member of Parliament, my barest minimum is that the person would come and report, and in good company of parliamentary leadership, to the Commissioner in Charge of Investigation at the Ghana police. This should be seen to be cooperating enough.”
He cautioned the security agencies to be mindful that the police should not in future invade the premises of any member or appear to be doing so in a manner that would raise unnecessary difficulties.
MPs, he pointed out, are not claiming to be above the law but that the privileges offered by the constitution should at all material times be respected and protected.
In a related development the Minority leader, the Hon. Haruna Iddrissu, called on the President, the Minister of Interior and the IGP to be mindful of the fact that the country is governed by law.
Ghana, he said, is not a banana republic and urged the intimidation and harassment of his members to stop.
According to him, the House expects the IGP and the Interior Minister to know what is legally and constitutionally appropriate and stressed that though members are not claiming to be above the law, to besiege the home of an MP with thuggery and intimidation is unacceptable.
“We are law abiding and we will continue to be but the police cannot go in search of thugs in the member’s residence and justify it,” he said.
“We were in this country when NPP vigilantes bastardized the courts and chased away members of the Peace Council.”
“The police should not be in want looking for, investigating and bringing them to order but a sitting MP.”
He warned that the Minority MPs are not cowards and would not be cowed by such intimidation and harassment but would demand civility and courtesy.
By Osumanu Al-Hassanemail@example.com