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General News of Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Parliament cannot punish members over visa fraud - Martin Amidu

Anti-corruption campaigner and former Attorney General Martin Amidu is of the view that the current Parliament under the leadership of Prof. Mike Ocquaye cannot punish its three sitting MPs who have been caught in a visa fraud scandal.

The outspoken campaigner captured this in his latest statement on the matter which has generated an unending debate in the media and the public.

The Brutish High Commission in a confidential letter addressed to Parliament cited some three sitting MPs and one former legislator in the scandal.

The letter cited Richard Acheampong, MP for Bia East in the Western Region; Joseph Benhazin Dahah, MP for Asutifi North in the Brong Ahafo region; Johnson Kwaku Adu, MP for Ahafo Ano South West in the Ashanti Region and George Boakye, former MP for Asunafo South in the Brong Ahafo.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has hinted that it will strip off the diplomatic passports of the MPs cited in the scandal with the Speaker indicating his readiness to crack the whip on the offenders.

But Mr. Amidu in his statement said: “Consequently, I do not think that the 7th Parliament has any jurisdiction to exact any punishment from the one former (NDC) MP under the 5th Parliament and the three (NPP) MPs under the 6th Parliament for offences committed in previous Parliaments that have already been dissolved by law.

The three (NPP) MPs of the 6th Parliament now serving in the 7th Parliament were elected thereto and took the oath under a different mandate which begun on 7th January 2017.”

“The dissolution of those Parliaments did not affect whatever criminal offences involving fraud, dishonesty or moral turpitude the MPs might have been suspected of committing outside Parliament when they were MPs in the 5th and 6th Parliaments. Consequently, even though the British High Commission wrote to the Speaker of Parliament upon his inaugural undertaking, this matter should have been disposed of by the Speaker timeously, as he had no jurisdiction, by referring the High Commission’s letter to the Ghana Police Service for investigations in accordance with the laws of Ghana.”