Police -Parliament showdown, Madina MP finally hauled before court

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The police threat to go to every length to get the Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Francis Xavier Sosu, to answer for his alleged involvement of the blockade of a road and destruction of public property has not been an empty bluff, they have acted.

The MP has now been served with criminal summons to appear in court on Monday, November 8, to answer charges of obstruction of highway and causing destruction to public property.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kwasi Ofori, the acting Director General of the Public Affairs, has confirmed this.

The action taken by the police has irked the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumani Kingsford Bagbin. He says the police action is a violation of the constitution and disingenuous. He could not understand why the police should disregard his directive and arrest the Madina MP even before, the privileges committee begins hearing the contempt case filed against two senior police officers – Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Isaac Kojo Asante, the Greater Accra Regional Police Operations Commander and ACP, Eric Winful, the Adenta Police Divisional Commander.

James Agalga, the MP for Builsa North has accused the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dr George Akuffo Dampare of getting ahead of himself and overstepping the boundaries of his powers. Agalga, who was a former Deputy Minister of Interior in the John Dramani Mahama Administration, says, IGP Dampare is getting it wrong, and tells him that, he cannot go beyond the limits of the law.

The police wrote asking for the permission of the Speaker of Parliament, A.S.K. Bagbin, to interrogate Mr. Sosu, but this was declined.

The police, however, remained unswerving in their determination to get the Madina MP to assist their investigation into his alleged breach of the law.

ACP Kwasi Ofori said that they were going to use every legal means to ensure that the MP did not escape interrogation.

The Builsa North MP, who is the ranking member on the defense and interior committee of parliament, finds the position taken by the police as wrong.

Speaking to an Accra-based radio station, he said the police stand-off with parliament was a blunder, by IGP Dampare.

The police could not act above the law in so far as the service derived its existence from the constitution. He referred to article 117 of the constitution, which states “civil or criminal processes coming from the court or place out of parliament shall not be served or executed in relations to the Speaker or a member of the Clerk to parliament while he is on his way to attending at or returning from any proceedings of parliament” and said this must be respected.

If it was the collective view that the provision must go because the provision had outlived its usefulness, then so be it.

He said until that was done everyone including the President would have to go with it. Not everybody, shares this viewpoint.

A private legal practitioner, Kweku Painsil, says once the police inform a person about a reason for which they are effecting arrest, no one has the right to resist. The Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, himself a lawyer, has criticized the Speaker, saying, he has not gotten it right and that MPs are not above the law.

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