The Privileges Committee of Parliament over the weekend released it’s final report on the recommended sanctions for the Assin Central Legislator, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, regarding his contemptuous comments, where plenary were to decide on a possible sanction but the plenary couldn’t address the report before rising and had to defer the matter.
As the Privileges Committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker and Member for Bekwai, Hon. Joseph Osei-Owusu has recommended sanctions against him over his claims of the house being “Cheap” and “Useless”, Hon. Ken Agyapong is only let to his fate, as to what the plenary final verdict shall be.
The Committee arrived at the decision after finding Mr. Agyapong to have been in contempt of Parliament for his remarks of “Parliament is Cheap” and “Parliament is Useless” following interviews on Net2 TV and Adom TV.
Prior to arriving at the final decision, the Committee was divided as to whether to reprimand or suspend Mr. Agyapong.
The committee therefore deferred the two recommendations to the house for determination.
However, the house kept silent on the report before going on recess, as it was presented to the plenary.
It was therefore disclosed that the plenary will determine the appropriate sanction when the house resumes on September, 2018.
Background Of The Issue
At the thirteenth Sitting of the Seventh Parliament held on Wednesday June 3, 2018, Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarack drew the attention of the house to an alleged disparaging comments by the Assin Central MP, Mr. Kennedy Agyapong in the media to the effect that the house is “useless and cheap”.
Mr. Muntaka indicated that the alleged comments were in contempt of Parliament under Standing Oder 28 of the house.
In accordance with Standing Order 164(2), the complaint was referred to the Committee of Privileges for investigation and report.
Privileges Committee’s Report And Findings
According to the report, the committee held series of meetings and evidence was taken from Member of Parliament for Asawase, Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed-Mubarak.
The evidence submitted to the committee were in the form of audio-visual format from Net2 TV and Adom TV and excerpts of printed documents from owassfmonline.com and hypercitigh.com.
According to the evidence presented to the committee, the respondent, Kennedy Agyapong, used to phrases to explain Parliament as “useless” and “cheap”.
In the report, the respondent admitted that he uttered the words, “Parliament is cheap” but denied “Parliament is useless”. He explained that he made his utterance out of extreme anger.
According to the report, the committee was convinced that contrary to the denial by the respondent, he indeed made those disparaging comments that “Parliament is cheap” and “Parliament is useless”.
In the report, the committee determined that the comments by Kennedy Agyapong affront the dignity of Parliament and he is guilty of contempt of Parliament in terms of Article 122 of the Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.
The committee was in favour of either a reprimand or a suspension and after extensive deliberations, the committee put the two options to vote.
Out of a total membership of thirty-one, twenty members were present at the time of the voting. Ten members voted in favour of reprimand as a sanction and ten members voted in favour of suspension as a sanction.
In view of the split ballot, the committee recommended to the plenary to determine the appropriate sanction.
Statutory Basis For The Sanction
According to Section 36 (1) of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300), ” where a Member is found by Parliament to be guilty of contempt of Parliament, Parliament may suspend the member from the service of Parliament for a period not exceeding nine months, whether or not that the period extends beyond the end of the session.
Subsection 2 states that “where a Member is suspended from the service of Parliament, the Member;
(a) shall forthwith leave the precincts of Parliament and shall not enter them again while the suspension continues;
(b) shall forfeit the allowances to which the Member would otherwise be entitled as a Member in respect of the period of suspension.
Section 37 (1) also states that ” where a Member is found by Parliament to have been guilty of conduct which, whether or not it amounts to contempt of Parliament, is so grossly improper as to indicate that the Member is unfit to remain a Member, the Member may be expelled by Parliament.
Source: Roselyn Boateng/newslinegh.com