The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Mike Oquaye is urging the Accra High Court to respect the privileges of the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga.
In a letter addressed the Registrar of the Court, Prof. Oquaye said while no one is above the law, he expects the court to honour the privileges the constitution accords to Mahama Ayariga who is standing trial before the court.
There was a slight tussle on Tuesday over whether Mr. Ayariga should be compelled to go to court while parliament was sitting.
The judge in the case insisted that Ayariga reports to the court, the speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye ruled that the Bawku Central MP could only honour court invitations when he is not undertaking any parliamentary activity.
This he said was in accordance with the Constitution which states that MPs must not be obstructed from discharging their parliamentary duties.
Prof. Oquaye reminded the court of the need to uphold the dictates of the constitution while holding the MP to account.
“In my ruling, I underscored the need for the recognition of the usefulness and relevance of the constitutional privileges and immunity that are accorded the Speaker, Members of Parliament and Clerk to Parliament and indeed other members in other arms of government. The combined effect of the provisions on privileges and immunity is to ensure the smooth administration of the judicial legislative and executive governance of our Republic. I provided in my ruling that I trust that the Court will honour these time tested privileges and immunity and to judicially manage the case so as to ensure that ends of justice are met and yet equally that the work of Parliament as an Institution, and the representative function of the Member of Parliament for the people of Bawku Central will not be impeded,” the Speaker said.
Making reference to Article 117, 118 (1) and 122 of the constitution that grants MPs immunity from being served or summoned to court on their way to or from parliament.
The constitution also protects the Speaker and Clerk from being compelled to report to court to appear as witnesses in any matter.
Meanwhile, the Bawku Central Member of Parliament, Mahama Ayariga intends to go to the Supreme Court to seek an interpretation of the constitution of the privileges of MPs and whether he is obliged to honour a court invitation on a day of parliamentary sitting.
He has no challenge with honouring invitations to court to stand trial in the case brought against him by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu but he is only available to go to court on Monday or weekends when he has no parliamentary business to attend to.
I will always go but the days that they say No, come on Tuesday when parliament is sitting, I’ll raise a constitutional objection and then we will refer the matter to the supreme court and the court will rule. If the judge wants us to sit on Saturday or Sunday I will come,” he said in a Citi News interview