The Privileges Committee of Parliament will today, August 5, begin a probe into a possible case of contempt brought against the outspoken Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong, who is alleged to have threatened violence on a journalist.
The probe was initiated by MP for Tamale North Alhassan Suhuyini who quoted portions of a letter written by the Multimedia Group, owners of Luv FM in Kumasi where the journalist works.
The National Media Commission and the Ghana Police Service have also been invited to look into the alleged threat against Erastus Asare Donkor.
The journalist had covered the Ejura disturbances in June which led to the death of two persons and caused injury to several others.
Moving the motion, Suhuyini cited Order 78 A which reads: “unless any order otherwise provided, notice shall be given of any motion which is proposed to make except the following: a motion relating to contempt of parliament”.
“Mr Speaker, I rise on this motion to pray you to exercise your powers under Order 27 which also reads ‘notwithstanding anything contained in these orders, Mr Speaker may refer any questions of privilege to the Committee of Privileges for examination, investigation, and report,” Suhuyini said.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, on the 15th of July 2021, referred the MP for Assin Central to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.
The committee, chaired by the First Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu, has been tasked to investigate and report on the conduct of Agyapong who also happens to be the chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament.
The Speaker of Parliament in admitting the request stressed that “It is important for me to emphasize here that the privilege and immunity of free speech apply in full force in plenary sessions and committee sessions, not when members are outside debating issues or on radio or television (TV).
“You do not have that right or privilege and immunity to just say anything because you are a Member of Parliament. Not at all. We are not above the law and it is for a good reason.”
The Committee is scheduled to meet at 5 pm with Suhuyini set to be the first witness to testify.
‘Controversial’ Kennedy Agyapong
There have been a number of controversies involving the Assin Central MP in recent months.
In June, Agyapong was nearly got jailed after insulting a lawyer in court.
However, the MP quickly apologised for his indiscretion after the trial judge of an Accra High Court, Justice Eric Baah, drew his attention to a possible contempt, saving him a jail sentence.
Agyapong had been in court with his lawyers regarding a GH₵25 million defamation suit filed by investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas against him.
However, the legislator got infuriated when Odie Krow, one of the lawyers for the investigative journalist, described him as “incompetent” when he asked him to identify video evidence that the MP had submitted before the law court.
The MP, who responded angrily, described the lawyer as “foolish”.