Parliament to grill Ken Agyapong today

By Kweku Antwi Jnr

The Member of Parliament for Assin Central Constituency in the Central Region, Kennedy Agyapong, will appear before the Privileges Committee of Parliament today over his purported contemptuous utterances against Parliament and the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) lawmaker has been accused by the MP for Asawase Constituency in the Asahnti Region, Ahaji Mohammed Muntaka-Mubarak, of referring to Parliament as “a cheap and useless assembly”.

He alleged that Mr. Agyapong had stated in the audio and video that “if this House were not useless, they would not have the likes of Mr. Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu as its leader”.

The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu, at the sitting on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, referred Mr. Agyapong to the Privileges Committee, following a motion moved by the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka.

“Mr Speaker, I find this to be very offensive, unbecoming of a Member of Parliament (MP) and for the past weeks, he has been on rampaging insults”,he said.

Alhaji Muntaka said the 1992 Constitution gave everyone the right to offer his or her views on issues that were going on in the country.

It is worrying for some people, more so a Member of Parliament, to attack individuals and call them names, and to refer to the institution of Parliament as useless”, he said.

Alhaji Muntaka referred to Order 28 of the Standing Orders which clearly states “an act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duty or affront the dignity of Parliament or which tends to either directly or indirectly produce such a result be in contempt of Parliament”.

The MP for Abuakwa South Constituency in the Eastern Region, Samuel Atta Akyea, the MP for Tamale Central Constituency in the Northern Region, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, the MP for Wa West Constituency in the Upper West Region, Joseph Yieleh Chireh, and the Majority Chief Whip, Kwasi Ameyaw Cheremeh, who is also the MP for Sunyani East Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region, all supported the call for Mr. Agyapong to be referred to the Privileges Committee for interrogation.

Giving his ruling, Mr. Osei-Owusu said if, indeed, Mr. Agyapong had uttered those words that “this House is a foolish assembly of members”, the comments are clearly against Order 28 and Order 30 (B), which orders are a replication of the Constitutional Provision Article 122”.

“In that circumstance, I apply Order 31, “in all cases of proceedings, where a complaint is made of a breach of privilege, contempt of Parliament, the Speaker may direct that the matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges".

“In the circumstances, I direct that Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the Honourable Member for Assin Central, appear before the Privileges Committee for the committee to determine whether, indeed, he uttered those words which are attributed to him, and if so recommend the appropriate sanctions to the House”, he said.

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