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08.02.2006 Politics

Parliament should protect its dignity and powers - Deputy Attorney-General


Accra, Feb 08, GNA - Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, a Deputy Attorney-General, on Wednesday appealed to Parliament, as an institution, to seriously and jealously guard and protect its powers and dignity before they are eroded.

He said there were attempts to create inroads, which are subtle and veiled, that could affect the work of Parliament.

The Deputy Minister who was delivering a statement in reaction to a suit lodged by Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, Deputy Minority Leader against the Speaker and the Attorney-General over the passing of the Representation of Peoples' (Amendment) Bill.

He said it was not only unconstitutional but also unethical for a bailiff to serve a writ of summons on the Speaker through the Clerk in the precincts of Parliament.

Mr Owusu-Ansah said it is clear in the constitution that no criminal or civil proceedings shall be brought against the Speaker, a Member of Parliament or the Clerk of Parliament on any issue in the exercise of his official duties.

He said all the relief sought by Mr Doe Adjaho were meant to stall proceedings of Parliament on the Bill.

Mr Owusu-Ansah said no one has power, authority and dominion on Parliament in the exercise its legislative powers in accordance with its own procedures.

"Indeed the Supreme Court has power to declare unconstitutional legislation we pass here but on one in Ghana has power to direct us how we should conduct our business in the House."

"It is my view that what affects the Speaker in the discharge of his constitutional duties in the House affects all of us on both sides of the divide."

Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, NDC-Lawra/Nandom said Mr Doe Adjaho's suit, in his view, is still open to debate in Parliament though he does not expect that the processes of the House should be abused. The Speaker, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi Hughes referred the issue to the Privileges Committee for investigation and report.