July 11, 2012

A former deputy Attorney General, Kwame Osei-Prempeh, has said scrapping of Article 117 which gives Members of Parliament (MPs) some level of immunity from arrest will be a threat to Ghana’s budding democracy.

According to him, such move will present “a dictatorial executive” enough room to frustrate lawmakers in the country.

Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana 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.”

However, the government has accepted a recommendation by the Constitution Review Commission to expunge that article from the statute books in a white paper issued some few weeks ago on the CRC’s report.

This has infuriated some MPs who hold the view that scrapping their immunity will undermine their work.

Speaking in an interview with Citi News, Hon Osei-Prempeh, who is the MP for Nsuta-Kwarmang Beposo, said article 117 is enough to make MPs go about their work without any hindrance.

“As at now MPs are being served through the Speaker and I do not believe that there is any Member of Parliament who believes that he is above the law. Those who put up the proposal should tell us the mischief that they believe the proposal should cure; and in curing that mischief, they are going to create a greater mischief,” the former deputy A-G said.

He added: “I believe the current process is enough otherwise we may jeopardise our work us legislators. We need MPs to work.”

The legislator’s comments follow a similar call by the NDC Member of Parliament for Sege, Alfred Abayateye, who is calling for equal treatment in the Constitution Review Commission’s proposal for the scrapping of the immunity clause covering members of the Legislature.

Mr. Abayateye stated that the CRC’s move smacks of selective treatment which must not be upheld.

Source: Citifmonline.com