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General News of Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Source: XYZ

Prof. Kwaku Asare mocks Parliament; questions basis for MPs to defend Ken Agyapong

A US based Ghanaian law professor has ridiculed Parliament over how it is handling the contempt case brought against the Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong.

Professor Kwaku Asare, who is known for his critical Facebook posts on issues of national discourse, is faulting Parliament for allowing colleague MPs to serve as legal counsel for a Member of Parliament cited for contempt.

His comments come after the Privileges Committee suspended proceedings on contempt charges brought against the maverick Assin Central MP over the derogatory remarks against Parliament.

MP for Efutu, Alex Afenyo Markins and Adansi Asokwa MP, K.T Hammond were lawyers for Kennedy Agyapong at the committee.

However, the abrupt end to the hearing of the case and the decision of the Chairman, Joseph Osei Owusu, to suspend proceedings indefinitely after receiving notice three NPP MPs from the Central region had recused themselves from the Privileges Committee has drew mixed public reactions.

Some critics also raised eyebrows over how the letter signed by Cynthia Morrison, MP for Agona West; Naana Eyiah, MP for Gomoa Central and Samuel Nsowa-Djan, MP for Upper Denkyira West was eventually presented and the U-turn by the Chairman who had initially overruled reliefs sought by lawyers for the Assin Central MP.

But Professor Asare who believes the whole process was “contemptuous” took to Facebook to criticize the hearing.

He wrote…” There is nothing more contemptuous than MPs bringing contempt charges against an MP, who is defended by lawyers who are MPs, in proceedings presided over by an MP in a Parliament where MPs resolve the issue by the usual motion to adjourn.”



Disagreement

But a private legal practitioner, Nana Obiri Boahen who may have been provoked by the law professor’s comments holds a strong opinion against the statement.

He told XYZ News’s Kofi Oppong Asamoah that Professor Asare’s argument is flawed because both Members of Parliament who represented Mr Kennedy Agyapong at the hearing are “known practicing lawyers” and can defend a colleague.

Nana Obiri Boahene who is also the deputy General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) explained that the two “were defending him (Kennedy) as lawyers…They are MPs who are practicing lawyers so if an MP is a lawyer and Kennedy has a problem and he engages the services of an MP who is a practicing lawyer, what stops him from going to court?”

He added that there is a presumption that the accused MP is “innocent” and there is “no burden” on Mr Agyapong “to establish himself” hence his choice of lawyers to represent him at the Privileges committee cannot be faulted in any way.