“State agencies should be mindful of the immunity granted to MPs” – Prof. Oquaye


The Speaker of the Seventh Parliament, Professor Mike Oquaye, has said that State agencies and other prosecutorial bodies should be mindful of the immunity granted to Members of Parliament by the 1992 Constitution.


He pointed out that the 1992 Constitution is clear on how Members of Parliament can be served with Writs of Summons to appear in any court of competent jurisdiction on both criminal and civil proceedings.

Professor Oquaye noted that the 1992 Constitution contemplates that the exercise of political authorities should function in a manner that secures liberty of the three co-equal branches of government in the discharge of their duties independently.

His ruling at the Plenary comes at the back of a motion filed by the Bawku Central MP, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, on an invitation by the Special Prosecutor to appear before the Accra High Court on some criminal charges made against him.

Quoting Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution, the Speaker of Parliament reiterated that the Member of Parliament should not be treated in a manner that obstructs his duties in Parliament.

Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution states that “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”.

“Anything that will obstruct the sitting MP in the discharge of his duties is not acceptable by the Constitution. Notably, the Constitution allows the State to try a sitting MP. In the case of Mr. Dan Abodakpi, the court hearings were done on Mondays. This allowed the trial to go on, to satisfy the constitutional provision”, the Speaker of Parliament stated.

He however cautioned that no one is above the law, and that proper arrangement should be made to try Mr. Ayariga at a time that will not obstruct him in the discharge of his duties.

Before the ruling of the Speaker of Parliament, the House suspended sitting for an hour for a determination to be made on the issue raised by Mr. Ayariga.

Consequently, both the Minority and Majority leaders asked the Speaker to make a determination on the matter.

Source: GhanaJustice/S.Ayisi


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