The Privileges Committee chaired by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Joseph Osei Owusu, has recommended to the plenary to reprimand or suspend the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong for the rest of “this Session”.
The Committee arrived at this decision after finding Mr. Agyapong to have been in contempt of Parliament for the remarks he made that “Parliament is cheap” and “Parliament is useless”.
Prior to arriving at this final decision, the Committee was split into two as to which sanction to recommend to the plenary to for consideration.
“The Committee noted the apology rendered by the Member and therefore did not consider expulsion as a sanction to be imposed. The Committee was however in favour of either a reprimand or a suspension. After extensive deliberations, the Committee put the two options to a vote. Out of a total membership of thirty-one (31), twenty (20) Members were present at the time of the voting. Ten (10) Members voted in favour of reprimand as a sanction and ten (10) Members voted in favour of suspension as a sanction. In view of the split ballot, the Committee recommends to the House to determine which of the two sanctions to be imposed on the Hon. Ken Ohene Agyapong”, the report of the Privileges Committee on the breach of privilege and contemptuous comments allegedly made by Hon. Member for Assin Central constituency, Mr. Ken Ohene Agyapong, in part read.
Section 35 of the Parliament Act, 1965 (Act 300) provides that “Where a Member of Parliament is found by Parliament to be guilty of contempt of Parliament; Parliament may direct that the Member be reprimanded in the Member’s place by the Speaker”.
Section 36(1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Act also provide that:
“Where a Member is found by Parliament to be guilty to be guilty of contempt of Parliament, Parliament may suspend the Member from the service of Parliament for a period not exceeding nine months, whether or not that period extends beyond the end of the Session.
Where a Member is suspended from the service of Parliament, the Member (a) shall forthwith leave the precincts of Parliament and shall not enter them again while the suspension continues; (b) shall forfeit the allowances to which the Member would otherwise be entitled as a Member in respect of the period of suspension”.
Section 37 (1), (2) (a) and (b) of the Act also provide that:
“Where a Member is found by Parliament to have been guilty of conduct which, whether or not it amounts to contempt of Parliament, is so grossly improper as to indicate that the Member is unfit to remain a Member, the Member may be expelled by Parliament.
A resolution for the expulsion of a Member under subsection (1) shall be of no effect unless (a) at least seven days’ notice that it was to be moved was given in the manner required by Standing Orders for the giving of notices of motions, and (b) it is supported by the votes of at least two-thirds of the total number of Members”.
In the view of the Committee, they found Hon. Agyapong to have been in contempt of Parliament after carefully watching the video evidence submitted to it by the Complainant in the person of the Minority Chief Whip, Hon. Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka.
“The Committee was convinced that contrary to the denial by Hon. Agyapong, he indeed made those disparaging comments that “Parliament ay3 fo” meaning “Parliament is cheap” and “Parliament foo” meaning “Useless Parliament”, the report in part noted.
It added “The Committee determined that the comments by the Hon. Member affront the dignity of Parliament and he is therefore guilty of contempt of Parliament in terms of Article 122 of the Constitution and Order 28 of the Standing Orders of Parliament
BELOW IS A COPY OF THE RECOMMENDATION LETTER