The Dean of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Law School, Professor Kofi Abotsi has said the Police are not under any obligation to inform or seek permission from the Speaker of Parliament before arresting any Member of Parliament.
In his view, a lawmaker can only evade an arrest if he is on his way from or to Parliament.
In a tweet, he said “The police are not duty-bound to inform or seek the permission of the speaker before effecting an arrest of an MP. The authority of the police to arrest extends to everyone except the President.
“An MP can only evade an arrest if he is on his way from or to Parliament.”
This comes after the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin had earlier referred a complaint made by Madina MP Francis Xavier Sosu against the Police to the Privileges Committee.
This was after Sosu officially lodged a complaint against the Accra regional police operations commander Isaac Kojo Asante on Wednesday October 27 to the Speaker for attempting to arrest him in line of his parliamentary duty.
The Speaker in his ruling said “The committee will investigate the complaint and will submit a report to the house for the whole consideration of the matter.”
He added “I receive complaints. I receive information about police service personnel pursuing Members of Parliament on both sides of the house, and I have on a number of occasions intervened to talk to the authorities and to draw their attention to the law.”
“Members of Parliament have some special rights because of the peculiar nature of the position, functions, and duties of the Member of Parliament.”
Sosu was seeking the police chief and others to be hauled before the privileges committee for contempt of parliament.
“The Police officers under the command of the said ACP Isaac Kojo Asante m, the regional operations commander and Eric Wilful the Divisional Commander of Adenta Aokobi led their boys to manhandle me and virtually held, me , humiliated me right in the presence of my constituents with whom we were demanding for better roads.”
He escaped police arrest on Monday, October 25 as he finished addressing protesters at Ayi Mensah.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP had led some of his constituents to embark on a demonstration against deplorable roads in his constituency.
The demonstration started peacefully at Danfa around 6:00am but later saw demonstrators burning tyres and mounting roadblocks on the Ayi Mensah-Danfa Road.
TV3’s reporter Joseph Armstrong Gold-Alor said this action by the residents led to reinforcement from the police, whose Formed Police Unit (FPU) rushed to the scene with combat vehicles.
After he addressed the demonstrators, reiterating the power of the people over people in power, the MP came under attack from the police, who attempted to pick him up.
There was commotion as a result of the attempted arrest.
The demonstrating residents, however, resisted the police and vowed to fight back if their representative in Parliament is arrested.
The police then arrested one of the opinion leaders. He is said to be a chief of the area.