Ken Agyapong Escapes Contempt Charge

Parliament last Thursday gently rubbed member for Assin Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, on the back and asked to ‘Go and sin no more’ after he was found guilty of contempt of the House by the Privileges Committee.

Speaker of the House, Professor Aaron Michael Ocquaye, noted that the member though denied ever saying ‘Parliament was useless,’ conceded he did make remarks that were derogatory to the House and accordingly apologized when he appeared before the Committee and also at plenary.

In his ruling, the Speaker advised the House not to engage in any activity that would bring dishonour to the House and admonished Mr. Agyapong to go and sin no more and urged members to continue in the path that would always bring honour to the House.

Member for Asawase and minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak on June 6 complained to the House of disparaging comments by Mr. Agyapong on radio and repeatedly shared on social media to the effect that ‘Parliament is useless and cheap, and if the House was not useless it would not have Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as its majority leader.”

Hon. Muntaka indicated further that the comments were in contempt of Parliament under Standing Order 28 and prayed the House to refer the conduct of Mr. Agyapong to the Privileges Committee for investigation and report.

The matter was subsequently referred to the Committee, which investigated and presented its report to the House, which found the Assin Central MP guilty and proposed some sanctions.

The House, however, was compelled to suspend sitting when a vote to adopt the report appeared to be going for Aye votes, coming mostly from the minority side, which could have led to a reprimand or suspension of Mr. Agyapong.

When the House resumed, it adopted the report but the Speaker offered Mr. Agyapong opportunity to speak on the matter and the findings of the Committee after both sides of the House had made interventions on his behalf.

Mr. Agyapong apologized for the contemptuous remarks made against the House and argued he never said Parliament was useless.

He indicated that his remark that Parliament was cheap was made out of extreme anger and was taken out of context because the radio presenter hosting the show truncated his speech before he was able to explain himself better.

He eventually apologized to the House and members for his indiscretion and use of abusive language on the House to which Speaker Mike Ocquaye admonished him and go and sin no more.

Majority Leader Kyei-Menah Bonsu, in his submission informed the House that the Mr. Agyapong had called him and the wife on separate occasions and apologized.

He urged members of the House to adopt a reconciliatory stand on the matter and explained, “We float together or sink together”, and added it takes a man of courage to render such an apology.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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