Radio presenter, Blakk Raster, is to face the wrath of Parliament for alleging that 80 per cent of Members of Parliament use Indian hemp, popularly known as “wee”.
Blakk Rasta, whose real name is Abubakar Ahmed, is the second person, after Prof Alex Dodoo, former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana, to be referred to the Privileges Committee of Parliament this week, for allegedly making contemptuous statements against the House.
The management of Hitz fm, the platform on which the radio presenter is alleged to have made the comments, and publishers of the Daily Searchlight newspaper which carried a story on it, are similarly to face the committee.
Referring the matter to the committee, the Speaker, Mr Edward Adjaho, urged the members to consider Articles 122 and 123 of the Constitution as well as Order 30 (2) of the Standing Orders of the House.
Article 122 of the Constitution states: “An act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes a member or officer of Parliament in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce that result is contempt of Parliament”.
Article 123 states: “Where an act or omission which constitutes contempt of Parliament is an offence under the criminal law, the exercise by Parliament of the power to punish for contempt shall not be a bar to the institution of proceedings under the criminal law.”
By the provisions of the above Articles, Blakk Rasta might face prosecution if his comment was found to be an offence under the criminal laws of the country.
Mr. Adjaho urged the committee to meet the culprits, taking into consideration the provisions in the Constitution and the Standing Orders, and gave it two weeks to present its report to the House for a decision to be taken.
The Member of Parliament of Afigya Sekyere East, David Hennric Yeboah, who raised the issue on the floor of Parliament, said the comments by the radio presenter had denigrated the institution of Parliament.
The Majority Leader, Mr. Alban Bagbin, said people, out of ignorance of the law, addressed the institution of Parliament any how because, unlike the Judiciary, the House had been slow in punishing people for contempt.
“It is important that we start applying the rules. We need to start looking deeper at the laws or else we will slip into anarchy,” he said, and added that the House would apply the laws without fear or favour.
“I know that more than 90 per cent of members here do not even smoke. I have never smoked cigarette before. This matter is not only contemptuous, but also criminal,” he said.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul, said it was important for people to be educated on what constituted contempt of Parliament so that they would not fall foul of the law.
He said the Standing Orders spelt out 15 offences which constituted contempt of Parliament and supported the call for the radio presenter to be hauled before the Committee.
The Committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Ebo Barton-Oduro, is expected to summon the radio presenter as well as the other culprits to appear before it in a meeting unlikely to be opened to the public.
By Yaw Kyei