The Founder and Managing Practitioner of Opoku Agyei and Company, Julius Opoku Agyei says the misconduct of Members of Parliament-elect on the dawn of January 7 does not amount to a breach of Ghana’s Public Election law.

In his view, the Members of Parliament (MP) who were involved in the riotous behaviour in the Chamber cannot be charged with committing an offence under the Public Election law as the process of selecting a Speaker does not fall under the Public Election.

“They voted under their standing orders. If we look at the constitution again and then we look at the Electoral Commission law, it tells you that every public election shall be conducted by the Electoral Commission.

“Was this election conducted and supervised by the Electoral Commission? No,” he stated.

His comment comes on the back of calls from the general public for MPs who were seen kicking down ballot boxes, destroying polling booths, snatching ballot sheets etc during the election of the Speaker to be sanctioned to serve as a deterrent to their followers.

Although it may not be possible to sanction them under the laws of public elections, Mr. Opoku Agyei disclosed that the MPs can be punished under Parliament’s standing orders or if the offences were taken in general term.

However, some MPs have indicated that at the time of the incident they had not been sworn in, as such they cannot be held to account under Parliament’s standing orders.

“I’ve also heard the argument being made by some people that at the time of the election of the Speaker, they had not yet been sworn in, so they were not – properly speaking – Members of Parliament.

“But we know that strangers can also be held in contempt of Parliament. So even if it is true that they were not Members of Parliament at the time, they were in the Chamber of Parliament, undertaking parliamentary duties.

“Because it is their first duty to elect the Speaker before they are sworn in and so if they say they’re strangers and they misbehave so they cannot be punished as members, then they can be punished as strangers.”

That notwithstanding, Mr Opoku Adjei revealed that “Under the general laws they can be charged with disorderly or riotous conduct which is not necessarily an election-related offence,”.

Also, MPs who kicked down the polling booths could be charged with destruction of public property while those who had snatched ballot papers could be charged with theft under the country’s general laws.