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General News of Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Objections raised by Ken Agyapong’s lawyers at Privileges Committee sitting

Despite an earlier refusal by Member of Parliament of Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong to appear before Parliament’s Privilege Committee, he eventually showed up on Tuesday flanked by his lawyers; K.T. Hammond and Alex Afenyo Markin.

The controversial legislator had been summoned by the Parliamentary committee after he allegedly made disparaging remarks against the house.

But before the commencement of the session, counsels for Mr. Agyapong, Alex Afenyo Markin and K.T Hammond raised objections upon which they prayed the Chairman of the Privileges Committee to consider as infractions of the proceedings.

Making the submissions, Mr. Afenyo Markin indicated that some of the members of the committee had ‘injured’ the case before the house since prior to the sitting they had given a verdict while speaking with the press.

“A friend of the committee is also quoted with respect as having said a prima facie case has been established against the honourable Kennedy Agyapong.

"And I read, after a meeting a member of the Committee Mr Samson Ahi told journalists that the Committee had determined that there was merit in the complaint. Mr Speaker, when you bring a matter before a Committee for determination, you do not go outside the Committee's remit to broadcast to the world that you have found evidence prima facie to indict the respondent.

"Mr Speaker as we speak, there is no report properly laid before the house for the plenary to determine whether or not a prima facie case has been determined. Therefore, we contend that these members including the complainant having granted interview to the press have injured the reputation of the Honourable Kennedy Agyapong and have further prejudiced the outcome of the hearing which is before you today.



"We accordingly submit that considering all these the said members since they have not had reason to question the publication by Graphic (Daily Graphic newspaper), they should recuse themselves from the proceedings else the likelihood of bias becomes of grave concern to us. Because they have already predetermined what they think is meritorious and that they have already gotten the media to think in one way or the other against the respondent."

Again he argued that the right procedure was not followed when the case was first presented to Parliament. He postulated that after filing the motion, no Member of Parliament seconded the motion before honourable Inusah Fuseini supported it.

“…Mr. Speaker, procedure in a quasi-criminal matter the nature of which is before this house requires that not only are we supposed to emphasize substance but the required processes to initiate an action is relevant and is very critical”, he stated.

“… it is our rule that when a motion is moved, same must be carried; this motion was moved, we heard contributions. It was not even seconded and it is a matter of record, Mr. Speaker…”

Finally Mr. Afenyo Markin referred to a letter signed by three MPs on the committee from the Central Region namely Cynthia Morrison, Naana Eyiah Quansah and Nsowah-Djan Samuel who had all sought to be excused from the session, but the Chairman of the Committee; Joseph Osei Owusu, contended that the letter had not been formally tabled before the committee and therefore could not be considered.



However, after further deliberations, Joseph Osei Owusu announced that the letter had been sent in through the clerk although he overruled the other objections raised by the counsel for Kennedy Agyapong.

He subsequently informed the audience that the committee had to curtail the public hearing of the matter to move into a private sitting to take a decision on the letter.