Regional

Madina MP files contempt charges against police officers involved in Monday’s protest

Member of Parliament for Madina Constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu has petitioned Speaker Alban Sumana Bagbin to cite ACP Isaac Kojo Asante, Regional Operations Commander and ACP Eric Winful, the Adenta/Abokobi Divisional Commander of Police for contempt of Parliament.

He wants the Speaker to take action with respect to Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Article 117 states: “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 was to, attending at, or returning from any proceedings of Parliament”.

Per Order 28 of the standing orders: “An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impeded a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be contempt of Parliament.”

His recent action stems from an attempted arrest against him by the aforementioned officers when he embarked on a protest that had been approved by the Police, with his constituents over bad roads on Monday, October 25.

According to the legislator, prior to the protest, he received news that some protestors had blocked roads and were burning tyres, thus the need to rush to the scene and deescalate the issue before matters got worse.

“Together with the Police, I spoke with the youth and they deescalated even before we began the demonstration and protest from Otinibi to Ayi-Mensah,” he stated.

But after restoring calm, the police he said tried to forcefully take him to the station for questioning without relaying the motive and also failed to acknowledge him as a siting Member of Parliament who had a parliamentary call to attend and could not be apprehended until the Speaker of Parliament is contacted.

“In fragrant breach of the laws of Ghana which relates to privileges of Members of Parliament, the officers mentioned herein, led the way and attempted to forcefully apprehend me in the presence of my constituents, an act which I verily believe amounts to contempt of Parliament.

“It took the intervention of the teeming youth to rescue me and lead me to my vehicle where I finally sped off from the scene,” he added.

This gross disrespect and manhandle for the Madina legislator amount to an act intended to impede and obstruct the legitimate discharge of his duties as a Member of Parliament and the said act is an affront to the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

“Mr. Speaker, I consider the said conduct as not only being unprofessional and against Police Service Instructions, but also an act which turns to undermine the authority and dignity of Parliament and a Member of Parliament,” he further argued.

Mr Sosu, therefore, in his petition submitted the matter before the House and prayed that Speaker Alban Bagbin uses his high office, to cite the said officers for contempt of Parliament.

Below is the petition filed to the office of the Speaker of Parliament.

REQUEST TO CITE ACP ISAAC KOJO ASANTE (REGIONAL OPERATIONS COMMANDER) AND ACP ERIC WINFUL (DIVISIONAL COMMANDER/ ADENTA-ABOKOBI DIVISION) FOR CONTEMPT OF PARLIAMENT UNDER ARTICE 117 OF THE 1992 CONSTITUTION AND ORDER 28 OF THE STANDING ORDERS OF PARLIAMENT

I respectfully write to invoke the powers of the Speaker of Parliament to cite ACP Isaac Kojo Asante, the Regional Operations Commander and ACP Eric Winful, the Adenta/Abokobi Divisional Commander of Police for contempt of Parliament.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, on 25th October, 2021, as part of my Parliamentary duties, I led the Chiefs, Elders, the youth and organized associations along the Ayi Mensah, Kweiman, Danfa, Adoteiman and Otinibi to protest and demonstrate against the deplorable roads in their community.

Mr. Speaker, the said demonstration was done in accordance with the Public Order Act and there were no destruction of public or private properties and we recorded no casualties.

When I picked Intel that the community wanted to take the law into their own hands and hit the road, I reached out to them as a responsive leader and engaged them in various Stakeholder and Townhall meetings which culminated in a Communique dated 27th September, 2021 which I have attached to this request for your perusal.

Mr. Speaker, by the Communiqué which was signed by the Chiefs, Assemblymen, and Opinion leaders, among others, various demands were made on government with the demand that if the Contractors who were awarded the road refuse to show up within 14 days, I together with the community would embark on demonstration.

Mr. Speaker, when the 14 days expired without any response, I issued a letter to the Ghana Police Service through the Divisional Commander at Adenta /Abokobi. This letter is dated 11th October, 2021 notifying the Police of our intended protest and demonstration on 18th October, 2021 in accordance with Section 1 of the Public Order Act and notified the Police of our intended Protest and Demonstration. The Police immediately requested that I meet with them at the Greater Accra Regional Office to discuss the modalities of the demonstration and protest which I obliged. At the end of our discussions, the Police issued a letter dated 14th October, 2021 requesting that we hold our protest on Monday, 25th October, 2021. In a letter dated 14th October from my office, I agreed with the police that the protest and demonstration be held on 25th October, 2021. Find attached all the relevant correspondence for your perusal

Rt. Hon. Speaker, on the morning of the protest, before I even got into the communities, the Youth who had mobilized themselves were blocking roads and burning tyres. Together with the Police, I spoke with the youth and they deescalated even before we began the demonstration and protest from Otinibi to Ayi-Mensah.

After addressing the demonstrators, the Police informed me that they needed to send me to the Regional Commander to answer a few questions. I informed them that I was on my way to Parliament to attend to other Parliamentary duties because I was a Deputy Ranking Member and was to attend Leaders meeting in preparation of resumption of siting on 26th October, 2021. They insisted that I needed to come with them and I informed them that if they want to put me under arrest they have to tell me of the reasons of the arrest and also as a siting member of Parliament, they would have to write to Right Hon. Speaker before they can execute any criminal orders on me.

In fragrant breach of the laws of Ghana which relates to privileges of Members of Parliament, the officers mentioned herein, led the way and attempted to forcefully apprehend me in the presence of my constituents, an act which I verily believe amounts to contempt of Parliament. It took the intervention of the teeming youth to recue me and lead me to my vehicle where I finally sped off from the scene.

Right Hon. Speaker, the sub-title of Article 117 is “IMMUNITY FROM SERVICE OF PROCESS AND ARREST”. The content provides as follows “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 was to, attending at, or returning from any proceedings of Parliament”. Mr. Speaker, I have always dealt with the Police in my official capacity as a Member of Parliament and indeed my letters to the Police clearly shows that. At the end of the protest, I was attending to Ranking Members and Deputy Ranking Members meeting in Parliament and I made this known to the Police Officers. Nonetheless, they went ahead and attempted to unlawfully arrest me when they had not even disclose to me the reason(s) for such arrest. Mr. Speaker, I consider the said conduct as not only being unprofessional and against Police Service Instructions, but also an act which turns to undermine the authority and dignity of Parliament and a Member of Parliament.

Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I wish to invoke Order 28, of the Standing Orders of Parliament, which provides as follows: “An Act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impeded a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be contempt of Parliament.

It is my respectful contention that the attempt by the two office to publicly arrest and manhandle me amount to an act intended to impede and obstruct to legitimate discharge of my duties as a Member of Parliament and the said act is an affront to the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, I am minded by Order 31 of the Standing Orders of Parliament which provides that “In all cases of proceedings where complaint is made of a breach of priviledge or contempt of Parliament, Mr. Speaker may direct that the matter be referred to Committee of Priviledges”. Given that your High Office has a discretion as to dealing with matters of contempt of Parliament when raised on the floor, I humbly wish to bring these matters by way of this petition to for your kind attention before it is raised on the floor of Parliament.

Right. Ho. Speaker, I respectfully pray that, you will use your High Office, to cite the said Officers for Contempt of Parliament.

Respectfully submitted for your attention and action, Sir.

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