3 Bow Out; As Privileges C’ttee Suspends Public Hearing Indefinitely
Chairman of the Privileges Committee, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, yesterday, was compelled to indefinitely suspend the public hearing on an alleged contemptuous utterances by the Member for Assin Central Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, following an objection raised by the Counsels for the Assin Central Legislator.
At a public hearing on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Counsels for the Assin Central lawmaker, Hon. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin and Hon. K. T. Hammond drew the Committee’s attention to a letter signed by three Members of the Committee who had willingly expressed their intent to disqualify themselves from the ongoing investigations into Hon. Kennedy Agyapong alleged utterances against the legislature.
Pursuant to Order 164(4) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, the three who backed out, Hon. Cynthia Morrison, MP for Agona West, Hon. Naana Eyiah, MP for Gomoa Central and Hon. Samuel Nsowa-Djan, MP for Upper Denkyira West, had argued that the “Respondent Contemnor is the Caucus Chairman for Central Region and all of them have a close relationship with him, therefore, they are unable to discharge their duties without bias”.
According to Order 164(4) of the Standing Orders of Parliament, “A Member of the Committee may disqualify himself from participating in any investigations of the conduct of a Member, officer or employee of the House upon a declaration in writing that he cannot render an impartial and unbiased decision in the case which he seeks to disqualify himself.
If the Committee approves and accepts such disqualification, the Chairman shall so notify the Speaker who shall request the Leader of the same political party as the disqualifying Member to designate a Member from his party to act as a Member of the Committee in any proceedings relating to such investigation”.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu, after listening to the argument advanced by the Counsel for the Assin Central lawmaker, granted their request and suspended the public hearing indefinitely, whiles the committee continued in a closed door section.
The Chairman had earlier quashed aside same objection together with two others on grounds that the Committee had not received a copy of the said letter signed by the three MPs.
However, upon the insistence of the Counsel of Kennedy Agyapong, that his refusal would amount to injustice on their client per the principles of natural justice and having served the Committee with a copy of the said letter, the Chairman was left with no option than to grant the request by the three MPs.
Hon. Kennedy Agyapong was summoned to appear before the Privileges Committee for allegedly describing Parliament as “cheap” and “useless” without which it wouldn’t have elected Hon. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as its leader.
This follows a complaint that was filed by the Minority Chief Whip and MP for Asewase, Hon. Muntaka Mubarak to the Speaker, drawing his attention to the alleged comments passed by the Assin Central lawmaker.