Former Deputy Attorney General, Dominic Ayine
Former Deputy Attorney General, Dr Dominic Ayine

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East says the Police had the right to arrest Madina MP, Francis Xavier-Sosu during a Sunday service in his constituency.

According to Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, MPs can be arrested on Sundays during a church service, even if the service is being held in their respective constituency.

“The constitution itself doesn’t define what constitutes ‘proceedings of parliament’. I would think that it refers to any formal meetings or activities that the Members of Parliament engage in their official capacities as Members of Parliament.

 “Where you are engaged in an activity that is more of a private nature, I do not think that would be covered by the word, proceedings”.

He stated that what constitutes proceedings of Parliament has always been problematic.

Notwithstanding the ambiguous definition of ‘Proceedings of Parliament, he said an MP being in church with his/her constituents should not fall within the meaning of that term.

“We would be stretching the meaning of ‘proceedings’ too elastically”, he told host Kojo Yankson and Winston Amoah on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Thursday.

Although Members of Parliament do enjoy some privileges and immunity, Dr Ayine said that they can be arrested in their homes when the need arises.

“I was in the house. In July of 2017, a warrant was served on me. And they searched my house. And because I understood the law, I didn’t claim any immunity from search, I didn’t claim any immunity from arrest. The work of parliament should not be unduly interfered with by external forces”.

Dr Ayine further stated that Mr Xavier-Sosu justifying his refusal to be arrested by the police in church by saying he was on parliamentary duty is plausible.

“We all do that. In my constituency, I go to churches to thank them for praying for me during the election or supporting me during the election. Or when there is a church harvest, I attend the harvest in my capacity as a Member of Parliament”.

He said that Parliament has been fleshing out the Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities portion of the House’s standing orders.

This he said has become necessary to avoid any confusion that may arise concerning the limitations of Parliamentary Privileges and Immunities and to clearly define what constitutes a breach of privileges.