General News of Friday, 25 May 2018
Private legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini has dismissed claims by some Members of Parliament (MP) that the police breached parliamentary privileges when they invited their colleague to assist in fraud investigations.
The MPs said the Speaker’s permission has not been sought by the Criminal Investigations Department who want Lawra MP Anthony Karbo to report to the headquarters.
The MPs referred to Order 21 of the Standing Orders and Article 117 of the 1992 constitution to buttress their claim.
The Article states “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”.
Speaking to the controversy on the floor of Parliament, Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin explained, the police need to write to the Speaker, submitting evidence to back their request for permission.
The Speaker would evaluate the evidence and decide whether or not to release the MP to the CID.
But Samson Lardy has debunked this procedure as “a self-serving protocol” which is non-existent in law. He explained on Joy FM’s Top Story Thursday, the law refers to court processes, not police invitations.
He was emphatic, the police are under no obligation to get permission from the Speaker of Parliament even in court cases or criminal matters.
The privilege, he explained, means an MP has the right to refuse a suit or legal notice. The MP is justified in refusing the court service on the basis that he is on his way to parliament or is coming from parliament, Samson Anyenini said.
The legal practitioner said in many cases, he has had to serve a legal notice on MPs simply by securing a court order to serve them via email or any of the MP’s social media accounts.
Since the news broke Thursday morning, the police have clarified they have not invited Anthony Karbo who is also a deputy Roads minister. But they have activated the process to invite him, a process the lawyer has condemned.
Anthony Karbo is expected to report to the CID headquarters in Accra next week.