Politics

Speaker Refers Kennedy Ohene Agyapong to Parliament’s Privileges Committee

Parliament has hauled the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central Hon. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, before the Privileges Committee for allegedly threatening the life of a Multimedia Group journalist, Erastus Asare Donkor.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin, referred him to the Committee following a submission by the National Democratic Congress MP for Tamale North Alhassan Suhuyini that Kennedy Agyapong has called for serious beatings of the journalist and added that he would have ensured he is beaten mercilessly if he, Kennedy Agyapong, were the President.

Alhassan Suhuyini extrapolated that the comments of Kennedy Agyapong, which were at variance with the requirements in the Code of Conduct of Parliament, were an affront to the dignity of Parliament.

The former Radio Gold broadcast journalist-turned-lawmaker submitted that Multimedia Group Limited has filed a formal complaint at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) against the Assin Central MP for allegedly threatening the life of its journalist.

According to the media conglomerate, Kennedy Agyapong made the life-threatening comments because of the journalistic work Asare Donkor undertook during the Ejura shooting incident which resulted in the death of two persons and the injury of four others and his subsequent appearance before the committee investigating the incident.

The media organization in a letter addressed to the Deputy Regional Police Commander of the Ashanti Region complained that Kennedy Agyapong, on a live TV programme aired on his Net 2 TV, called for serious beatings of the journalist and adding that he would have ensured he is beaten mercilessly if he were the President.

The Multimedia Group protested that the MP launched the scathing attacks and threats on the journalist’s life because of the journalistic work that he undertook during the recent shootings and killing incident at Ejura, and his appearance before the Kingsley Koomson Committee investigating the incident.

Demonstrating the seriousness of the alleged threats on the life of its journalist, Multimedia recalled the death of Ahmed Hussein-Suale of Tiger Eye PI whose life was also threatened in a similar fashion by the lawmaker.

It therefore, lodged the complaint requesting the CID to launch an investigation into the matter as well as provide security protection for its journalist stressing that Kennedy Agyapong’s similar threat against Ahmed Suale, who at the time had undertaken some journalistic works later ended in his brutal and horrible murder.

The media conglomerate consequently filed the formal complaint of threat by Honorable Agyapong against the life of Erastus Asare Donkor and requested that the complaint is investigated and Erastus Asare Donkor given the required protection.

This, according to the Multimedia Group, is because of the status of the Kennedy Ohene Agyapong as an Honourable Member of Parliament, the national security implications of the comments and the lessons from the recent history of similar comments.
The Rt. Honourable Speaker Alban Bagbin in his referral to the Privileges Committee of the Assin North legislator specified that MPs are not only held in high esteem but also enjoyed some privileges provided for in the Constitution, which required of them to guard their utterances.

Subsequently, he warned, MPs are not above the law and the immunity granted them applies only at the Plenary and in Committees but not extended to vituperations on television or media or outside the confines of the floor of Parliament simply because they are lawmakers.

He directed that it was necessary for the Committee to be made to investigate the matter for the whole House to decide his fate and punish him accordingly if found guilty of breach of privilege of Parliament.

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