Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has cautioned MPs to be mindful of their utterances outside the floor of Parliament.
He says the immunity MPs enjoy when they speak on the floor does not extend to the media, or to the marketplace.
The Speaker, on Wednesday, referred Assin Central MP Kennedy Agyapong to the Privileges Committee for threatening to beat Luv FM’s Erastus Asare Donkor.
The directive issued the Speaker on Wednesday will enable the House to decide if the actions of Mr. Agyapong breach the orders of Parliament and if so, recommend appropriate sanctions.
“This is my first time hearing this matter. As it is now, I am compelled to refer to the Privileges Committee. It is a matter the Privileges Committee will have to go into and report to the House and it is for the House to decide whether the honorable Member is contentious of the House,” the Speaker said.
The committee is expected to investigate whether the MP acted in contempt of Parliament and brought the name of the House into disrepute.
Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin questioned whether there was prima facia evidence for the referral.
“All I am saying is that, if care is not taken, we may end up sacrificing the rule of procedure which will amount to we creating a new path that if we are supposed to go back to it… will be a problem,” he explained on the floor.
But Speaker Alban Bagbin wants MPs to conduct themselves appropriately.
Speaking on the floor, he indicated that, “the privilege and immunity of free speech apply in full force in plenary session and committee sessions. Not when members are outside debating issues or on radio or TV.”
“That immunity doesn’t extend to you in the banking square or anywhere. Just saying anything because you think you are a member of Parliament. It doesn’t apply at all,” he fumed.
Mr. Bagbin further advised the committee to be circumspect in addressing the issues judiciously to save the integrity of the House.
Mr. Agyapong, on Friday, July 9, was reported to have verbally abused and threatened to attack Mr Asare Donkor, “for the journalistic work that the latter undertook during the recent shootings and killing incident at Ejura” on Net 2 TV, a television station owned the MP.
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