A former Clerk of Parliament, Samuel Ntim Darkwa, says Parliamentary immunity cannot be interpreted as a license for legislators to commit crime.
He was commenting on the current impasse between the Police and Parliament regarding the attempted arrest of Madina Member of Parliament (MP), Francis Xavier-Sosu.
The MP has been slapped with charges, including destroying public property following what the police say is his refusal to honour their invitation.
On October 25, the MP led a street protest in his constituency of Madina to press home a demand for bad roads to be fixed.
He has since been a subject of police investigations for some acts that the police say amount to crimes during the protest.
Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin, in a letter to the police and a statement, condemned the attempted arrest of the MP by the police.
He also indicated he could not release the MP to assist with investigations since Parliament is in session.
The basis of the Speaker’s view is Article 117 and 118 of Ghana’s constitution.
Commenting on the development, the former Clerk said the immunity is not meant to encourage the commission of crime.
Mr Darkwa insisted MPs found to be committing crimes can be arrested and that the Speaker ought to be informed after such an arrest.
He explains the whole idea of immunity is to prevent the Executive from using arrests to reduce parliamentary numbers during crucial votes.
“Immunities and privileges for MPs are not license to commit crimes. On the contrary, they are supposed to prevent crimes to ensure peace. And, therefore, if a Member of Parliament is caught committing crime, I think that he can be restrained,” he said.