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24.02.2006 General News

Privileges Committee is a ‘Kangaroo’ C'ttee -Adjaho

By Daily Graphic
Privileges Committee is a ‘Kangaroo’ C'ttee -Adjaho
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The Member of Parliament for Ave-Avenor, Edward Doe Adjaho describes Parliament's Privileges Committee 'Kangaroo' Committee and storms out at a hearing scheduled by the committee.

Mr Adjaho was visibly angered by the refusal of chairman of the committee Freddie Blay to allow him (Adjaho's) counsel Tony Lithur asked to be heard before the registrar of the Fast Track High Court, because he had a tight schedule.

This lead to a heated argument between Adjaho's counsel and Mr Freddie Blay, on Wednesday when the latter appeared before the committee to answer questions on a letter he is alleged to have written to the Speaker of Parliament, Ebenezer Sekyi-Hughes, threatening to initiate proceedings against the Speaker for contempt of court.

The insistence by Mr Lithur that he should be heard before the Registrar of the Fast Track High Court, Mr Emmanuel Botchwey Boadi, because of his tight schedule, and the continued refusal by Mr Blay eventually led Mr Blay to threaten to use security men to drive Mr Lithur out of the room.

It all began when Mr Blay entered the hall to begin proceedings and found Mr Lithur seated in the chair reserved for witnesses, with Mr Adjaho by his side.

He pleaded with Mr Lithur to vacate the seat and wait for his turn, since the committee had decided to hear Mr Boadi first.

But Mr Lithur said he had a tight schedule and, therefore, would like to be heard before the other witness, but Mr Blay refused and wondered why Mr Lithur had sat in the seat in the first place.

That led to a verbal tussle between the two, with Mr Blay and some other members of the committee accusing Mr Lithur of showing disrespect to the committee, which has the powers of a High Court.

In the midst of the heated argument, Mr Blay said he would ask the security men present to drag Mr Lithur out of the seat and from the room.

At that juncture, Mr Adjaho asked to speak but he was disallowed by Mr Blay, who, at that point, appeared angered by Mr Lithur's insistence.

After Mr Adjaho and his counsel had finally left the room, Mr Boadi, who took the seat, told the committee that at about 8.45a.m. on January 31,2006, counsel for Mr Adjaho filed a writ against the Speaker of Parliament, restraining him from allowing further proceedings in Parliament regarding the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill (ROPAB).

He said he sent a letter to the Speaker and a clerk of Parliament on the writ filed by Mr Adjaho.

At that juncture, he was asked by Mr Blay whether he was aware of Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution which states that a Member of Parliament could not be served a writ on his way to Parliament, while he was in Parliament or on his way from Parliament, to which Mr Boadi replied in the affirmative, adding that he did not serve the Speaker personally but did so through a clerk of Parliament so it was appropriate.

Mr Boadi said that the regulations of the High Court gave him the mandate to serve a member of an organisation through the organization and, therefore, he had not erred in doing that.

His attention was drawn by members of the committee to the fact that the Constitution did not give him the right to serve the Speaker with summons to court and that the Constitution took precedence over the regulations of the High Court.

When Mr Lithur returned to the room, he was accompanied by Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, the Member of Parliament for Lawra Nandom, who said he was the counsel for Mr Lithur and told the committee that since other witnesses had appeared before the committee earlier, it was important that a summary of the statements they had made before the committee be made available to his client.

To that, Mr Blay obliged and adjourned proceedings to Friday.