…Over Raids On MPs Homes
When police officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) last Friday dawn raided the residence of the Yapei/Kusawugu lawmaker, John Jinapor, pulling drawers as they fished for incriminating evidence on alleged wrongful deal of AMERI Power built, operate and transfer contract, little did they know that they were in clear violation of laws governing Parliament, the second arm of government of the republic.
A police source said the team that carried out the raid commenced investigation shortly thereafter, adding that a preliminary report might be ready by early this week.
However, Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, is incensed about the development on the grounds that, the affected persons, though are liable to any form of investigation by the state, he is worried over the raid of homes of sitting Members of Parliament, regardless of laws on such arbitrary arrests.
According to the Speaker, the raid on the homes of Hon. John Abdulai Jinapore, MP for Yapei/Kusawgu and former Deputy Minister of Power, and Hon. Dr. Dominic Ayine, MP for Bolgatanga East and former Attorney General and Deputy Minister of Justice, early dawn last Friday, July 28, was not only unlawful but detrimental to our democratic process.
The Speaker made these comments when the Minority Chief Whip and MP for Asawase, Hon. Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, raised the issue on the floor of parliament last Friday.
He appealed to the Speaker to call the police to order for the lawless raids on homes of the former government officials and MPs as part of investigations into the controversial $510million Ameri power deal.
Making the appeal on the floor of Parliament, Hon. Mubarak said: “Mr. Speaker, I believe, not only members on our side, every Member of Parliament is a law-abiding citizen and they will not run away from any responsibility to assist the state to do anything.”
“But Mr Speaker, the worry is the nature and manner the police is raiding the residence of Members of Parliament at dawn when that citizen is not running, when the person has not been served with a notice that he has been charged. This is a very worrying situation,” he stated.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament about the raids on the homes of John Jinapor and Dr. Dominic Ayine, the Minority Chief Whip said officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, in search of documents covering the controversial $510million Ameri power deal, did so when the two MPs were on their way to parliament.
Nevertheless, Hon.Mubarak said, “We on this side can reassure not only the police but the whole state that every member on our side is more than willing and ready to assist in any investigation that the government or the state wants to do but let’s do it in a manner that does not create panic and frustration.
“The invitation of these members on Monday when this house is sitting is an affront to the dignity of this house and will impede the members’ ability to perform their functions in this house. It is with this that I want to humbly appeal to your good office to intervene and assure the police that we, and I believe every member of parliament, will be more than happy to assist in any form.”
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, backed the concerns of the Minority and said it was the security agencies to respect the laws and follow due process in investigating persons as they remain law-abiding citizens.
In response, the Speaker said: “It is also notable in several jurisdictions, the courts have made a very generous extension to matters relating to going to, being in, or coming from parliament and this honourable house will continue to be very mindful of any matter in this regard.”
“We will want to ascertain whether the legal process was followed. I will, soon after sitting, call the appropriate authority to my office and demand that honourable members are handled appropriately, coterminous with their office as honorable members.”
Prof. Oquaye said he would summon the appropriate authorities to his office to explain why such a lawless raid in homes of some Members of the Minority caucus by the police
Recounting the incident at his home, Mr. Jinapor said,”This morning just when I was leaving my house for parliamentary duties, five policemen, two of them fully armed with AK-47, raided my house in search of what they claim are documents related to the Ameri contract.
“I was restrained for about 2 hours in the process and prevented from going to Parliament,” Mr. Jinapor said.
He added, “They gave me a letter signed by Bright Oduro inviting me to come to the CID (Criminal Investigations Department) office at 1pm on Monday but Monday 1pm, I’m told the minister is presenting the mid-year budget to parliament.”
He told the Parliamentary Press Corps, “I’m not against investigations; sometimes investigations are good and I’m ready to cooperate with the police and any other agency in relation to this matter. I think that the truth will come out, but it should be done in a humane way.”
The raid comes three days after men from the CID confiscated laptops, phones and other electronic devices of the former Coordinator of the Emergency Power Programme at the Ministry of Energy, Francis Gyata, following a similar raid at his home in Accra.
That raid was on Tuesday, July 25, as part of ongoing investigations into the Ameri power deal.
The raid on Gyata’s home also followed a similar raid at the home of former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, on Monday, July 25, where four officers of the CID, led by an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), stormed the residence of the former minister to search his property in connection with investigations into the same deal.
Dr. Donkor is being accused of willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba