Parliament Summons Journalist Before Privileges Committee
5/9/2012 11:05:07 PM -
The Speaker of Parliament, Mrs Joyce Bamford-Addo,Thursday referred a freelance journalist, Mr Justice Annan, to the Privileges Committee of the House for an alleged verbal assault on the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Abirem, Ms Esther Obeng-Dappah, at the Coffee Shop of Parliament yesterday.
The Speaker’s action followed a complaint made on the floor of the House by the Minority Chief Whip, Mr Frederick Opare-Ansah, who told the House that Mr Annan in the process insulted him and other MPs as well.
Soon after the Speaker had made the referral, the Chairman of the Committee and First Deputy Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, announced that the committee would meet on Friday, March 23, 2012 to deliberate on the matter.
Mr Opare-Ansah told the House that Ms Obeng-Dappah was accosted by Mr Annan for an interview and in the process started insulting her.
He added that the former Marshall of Parliament even requested the arrest of Mr Annan for entering the Server Room of Parliament.
“Madam Speaker, if Mr Annan can walk to the Coffee Shop of the MPs and insult them, then we are not safe.
MPs who contributed to the debate said the issue was a “clarion call for the security of the MPs and the House to be enhanced”.
They said besides referring the issue to the Privileges Committee, there was the need for measures to be put in place to ensure that people who were not supposed to enter the House were prevented from doing so.
In his contribution, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, told the House that a member of the committee and MP for Atwima-Mponua, Mr Isaac Asiamah, was nearly assaulted by someone who accused him of daring to question the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning when he appeared before the committee.
Referring the issue to the committee, Mrs Bamford-Addo wondered why Mr Annan, who was said to be out of control, was not arrested by the Parliament security.
“He should have been arrested. In future if someone acts in such a threatening manner, he should be arrested before a complaint is even made on the floor of Parliament,” she said.
Mrs Bamford-Addo also charged the committee to look into other issues that could ensure the security of MPs.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Press Corps has dissociated itself from the alleged action of Mr Annan.
In a press release, the corps explained that even though Mr Annan used to be a member of the corps, he was currently not a member.
“We, therefore, do not have control over his actions and inaction within the premises of Parliament as far as his duties as a journalist are concerned,” it said.