Following an attempt by the Ghana Police Service to arrest Member of Parliament for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda, the Speaker of Parliament, Rev. Prof. Mike Oquaye, has cautioned that security agencies should be mindful of their mode of arrest, and should stop invading the premises of MPs, capable of raising unnecessary difficulties in the activities of Parliament.
In his ruling on the floor of Parliament, Prof. Oquaye stated that the immunity and privileges given to Members of Parliament by the Constitution must be respected and protected.
He indicated that the police searched the house of Mr. Dauda in a manner that, Members of Parliament felt such action was not in consonance with the parliamentary privileges.
The Speaker also established that the leadership of Parliament should be informed officially if any member of the House is invited by the police, and must be done in a decent manner.
Speaking to the issue on the floor of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye again added that appropriate invitation should be given to MPs by the highest quarters, preferably the Commissioner of CID in charge of investigation, if a member is invited by the police.
He however reiterated that members of the House are not above the law but should be treated in manner that protect their dignity.
Minority’s contention on the attempted Arrest
The Minority Leader and Member for Tamale South, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu, in a press briefing at the chamber block of Parliament, established that the approach of the police service to besiege the house of Hon. Dauda with armed police men in uniform is intimidating and unacceptable.
In his statement, Hon. Haruna lamented that the minority demands civility and that, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. David Asante-Apeatu and the Interior Minister, Mr. Ambrose Dery must be called to order by the President.
In his submission, he established that the minority is capable of responding to the threat of intimidations and harassments from the police.
We are in this country when the NPP vigilantes brutalised the court and chased away the Peace Council. We want the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo to know that Ghana is not a banana republic”. He asserted.
He further explained that the country is governed by the Rule of Law, recognising that no citizen, including Members of Parliament are not above the laws of the country or above matters, relating to criminal investigations.
“Our immunities and privileges are constitutionally guaranteed and the bizarre development of an attempt to arrest Hon. Dauda raises fundamental questions on the civility of how matters are handled by the police service in this country”. He concluded.
Privileges and Immunities of Parliament in the 1992 Constitution
Parliamentary privileges and immunities are special rights enjoyed by the Speaker, Members and Officers of Parliament. This is particularly essential since it aids the free running of the House and the office of Parliament.
Article 115 of the 1992 Constitution states that “there shall be freedom of speech, debate and proceedings in Parliament and that freedom shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament”.
Article 116 in Clause (1) also stipulates “subject to the provisions of this article, but without prejudice to the general effect of article 115 of this Constitution, civil or criminal proceedings shall not be instituted against a member of Parliament in any court or place out of Parliament for any matter or thing brought by him in or before Parliament by petition, bill, motion or otherwise”.
In Article 117, “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 way to, attending at or returning from, any proceedings of Parliament”.
Article 118 Clause (1) again states that ”neither the Speaker, nor a member of, nor the Clerk to, Parliament shall be compelled, while attending Parliament to appear as a witness in any court or place out of Parliament”.
Alhaji Collins Dauda’s attempt of arrest
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. David Asante-Apeatu ordered the arrest of Member Parliament for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at dawn.
He was accused of masterminding the recent attack by some unknown thugs at Sankore in the Brong Ahafo Region.
About eight armed police officers raided the home of Assutifi South MP in his constituency at around 4:00 am.