Majority Leader: ‘Inconsistent’ interpretation of immunity clauses worrying

The Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has observed that the irregular application of portions of the constitution, with regards to immunity of parliamentarians, is making the hearing of the criminal case against Mahama Ayariga, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, complicated.

He blamed the current turn of events on the inconsistent use of the said provision in the past, saying, “The courts have not been very helpful in being consistent and uniformed in their application of constitutional provision relating to Articles 117, 118 and 122, some of them will want to revert to Article 117, which is on equality of all citizens before the law and there shouldn’t be any discrimination.”

His comments follow a High Court’s order to Mr Ayariga to ensure he is available in court anytime his criminal case was heard.

According to the court, the immunity enjoyed by parliamentarians in Article 118 (2) was for only when they are to appear as witnesses and not as accused persons, citing same Article which stated MPs could not be compelled to appear before a court while attending to business of parliament.

Following the ruling, parliament seemed to be divided because the Speaker, Professor Mike Oquaye wanted the court to try Mr Ayariga in a manner that does not conflict with his schedule as sitting member of the House.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu indicated that “I thought there are best practices, one will want to see what happens in other jurisdictions, I thought it should inform us about best way forward, unfortunately, the Minority leader has stated they are going to Supreme Court and I cannot obstruct them.

“There’s the need for concerted effort among relevant stakeholders to ensure they adopt workable approach to deal with inconsistencies, I will want us to get common platform and talk as collective.

“This is not an Ayariga matter, it is a matter for parliament and the nation because parliament is people’s representative, we should come together to chart common way forward, if we have common course, we should be fighting from common platform.” -citinewsroom.com

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