Former Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini, has disagreed with the Speaker’s proposal to introduce legislation to strengthen the House’s contempt powers.

The Speaker, Alban Bagbin, had disclosed that consultations have begun for the passage of new legislation that will give meaning to the constitutional provision of Contempt of Parliament which will spell out detailed sanctions for those found culpable.

The Speaker’s action is motivated by the decision of the Police to arrest Madina MP, Francis-Xavier Sosu for his involvement in a demonstration over poor road network in his constituency that went riotous.

According to Alban Bagbin, actions, such as what was displayed by the Police, are in contempt of Parliament but there were no clear sanctions to mete out to offenders.

“We will be having a meeting with the other stakeholders to discuss this. We will be guided by judicial opinion and we as Parliament will have to legislate on the nature, scope, and sanctions involved when we talk about contempt of Parliament. These things will be worked out in detail, not just the skeletal provisions in the constitution,” the Speaker said whilst addressing participants at a breakfast meeting in Kumasi on Monday.

But Inusah Fuseini, commenting on the decision, said the Speaker must leave the interpretation of the constitutional provisions regarding contempt of Parliament to the courts.

“He should leave it that way and then you encourage Members of Parliament to test the limit of contempt of Parliament in court. The law is a living organism. The court will always stretch the limit if they are minded to do so on the contempt of Parliament provision,” he told Evans Mensah on Joy FM‘s Top Story on Monday.

He stressed that, “in lawmaking, particularly constitutional law development, some provisions are left in such a vague manner for the jurisprudence to allow for those provisions to be developed by the law court.”

Inusah Fuseini warned that the Speaker’s decision, if successful, will rather limit Parliament’s contempt powers.



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