Don’t arrest MPs at home - Speaker tells police

BY: Musah Yahaya Jafaru
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has urged the police to stop invading the residences of Members of Parliament (MPs) to effect arrest.

He said the police should rather route their invitations of MPs through him to avoid breaching the privileges and immunities of MPs.

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Prof. Oquaye made the call yesterday in reference to the reported invasion of the residences of the NDC MP for Asutifi South, Alhaji Collins Dauda.

According to reports, armed policemen yesterday dawn invaded the residences of Mr Dauda in his constituency and in Accra.

The police are said to have claimed they had orders from above.


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MPs' privileges

Prof. Oquaye said the privileges of MPs had been spelt out in the Constitution and they applied to members from both sides in all circumstances.

He said all those in charge of security agencies were well aware of the privileges of MPs.

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Nevertheless, he said, "we are also mindful of the fact that we are not above the law."

Prof. Oquaye said MPs should not be treated in a manner that would not be consistent with the dignity that an MP should be attended to.

"We will want to put on record that in future, the Speaker and leadership of the House should be informed of all such needs so that it could be done with the appropriate decency," he said.

Prof. Oquaye said there were occasions where he invited the police to his conference room and asked the security agencies to ask whatever questions they wanted so that Parliament would not be seen to be shielding any wrongdoing and at the same time, keeping to the honour that should be given to the institution.

"We want to reiterate that when any invitation is required, we will like it to be routed properly and the appropriate Honourable Member will attend to the appropriate invitation at the highest quarters, preferably the Commissioner of Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in charge of investigations because monkeys play by sizes.

"That person will come and report in good company of Parliamentary leadership and to the commissioner in charge of investigation at the Ghana Police Service. That will be seen to be cooperating with enough," he said.

Invasion of residences

Prof. Oquaye asked the security agencies to be mindful of the fact that the police should not invade the premises of a member or appear to be doing so in a manner that would raise unnecessary difficulties for MPs.

"We want to reiterate that MPs are not claiming to be above the law but that the privilege given to us by the Constitution that we have all agreed to be ruled by should at all material times be respected and protected," he said.

Prof. Oquaye said the moment the House rose, the relevant officials would accompany the relevant member to the office of the Director, CID and have whatever conversation was necessary in accordance with the parameters of the law.

Haruna Iddrisu

Speaking with journalists, the Minority Leader said the invasion of the residences of Mr Dauda was a sad development which raised fundamental questions on the civility of the handling of matters by the Ghana Police Service.

He called on the President, the Minister of the Interior and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to call the police to order.

"As the Leader of the Minority, one of the senior members was being intimidated and harassed,” he said, and asked that "the intimidation and harassment must stop".