Ken Agyapong probe: Majority appoints three new members
The leadership of the Majority has nominated three Members of Parliament (MPs) to replace their colleagues who recused themselves from participating in the investigation of the alleged contemptuous remarks made by the MP for Assin Central, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, against Parliament and the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu.
The new members are the MP for Adentan, Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa; MP for Jaman South, Mr Yaw Afful, and MP for Ablekuma North, Mrs Nana Akua Owusu Afriyie.
At the first public hearing of the Privileges Committee on July 3, 2018, three members of the committee submitted a letter recusing themselves from the investigation, which compelled the committee to suspend hearing at the preliminary stage.
The three members are the MP for Agona West, Ms Cynthia Mamle Morrison; MP for Gomoa, Naana Eyiah, and MP for Upper Denkyira West, Mr Samuel Nsowah-Djan.
"As you may be well aware, the respondent/contemnor is the Caucus Chairman for Central Region and all of us have a close relationship with him. We are unable, therefore, to discharge our duties without bias," the letter read.
The Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, who is a witness in the case, had already appeared before the committee and presented an audio and video in which Mr Agyapong purportedly referred to the House as a cheap and useless assembly.
He said 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 Majority Leader, who presented the names of the three members, said the move was in consonance with Standing Order 164(4) of Parliament, which allowed a member of the committee to disqualify themselves from participating in any investigation of the conduct of a member, officer or employee of the House on the grounds they cannot render an impartial and unbiased decision.
He said although the three members had the right to recuse themselves, they ought to have informed the leadership of the Majority.
The Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, said the committee should have had prior notice of what the three members wanted to do before the hearing.
He added that he wondered if the submission of the letter, the committee could not have continued with the hearing while was being ascertained.
Mr Iddrisu urged members to take the business of the Privileges Committee much more seriously and let the principle of equality before the law apply.
"Today because you have a referral of a member of your own. If a member of the public appears before the committee, they should be entitled to the same courtesies and respects.
"I think we should allow your committee to work effectively. The principle of equality before the law, as a principle of natural justice, means that the Standing Orders and our rules and laws of Ghana should be no respecter of any person," he said.