The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Mr Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, is now a wanted man, after the Kaneshie District Court had issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
That was after the MP, who has provisionally been charged for unlawfully blocking a public road and the destruction of public property, failed to appear in court for the third time.
The court presided over by Mr Isaac Oheneba-Kuffour, issued the bench warrant yesterday following an application by the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Sylvester Asare.
When the case was called, counsel for the legislator, Mr Victor Adawudu, notified the court of a motion on notice challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
Again, he said, his client was absent because he was part of the Parliamentary Committee currently engaged in a public hearing on the Anti-LGBTQI+ Bill.
Mr Adawudu stressed that the absence of his client was not deliberate, as he (the MP) had to attend to the business of Parliament.
In response, the prosecutor argued that the continuous absence of the MP was a clear indication that he (MP) was not ready to stand trial.
“He has a clear intention and has demonstrated that this court cannot procure his attendance and it amounts to disrespect to this court,” ASP Asare said.
The court, in upholding the prosecution’s prayer to issue the bench warrant, said it looked like there were too many untruths being churned out in relation to the case.
The magistrate issued the bench warrant and adjourned the case to January 12, 2022.
The MP joined his constituents in Ayi-Mensah, Danfa and Otinibi in a demonstration over poor roads on Monday, October 25, 2021.
During the protest, some of the protestors allegedly blocked roads, burnt tyres and destroyed some public property.
Following the demonstration, the police have been unsuccessful in their attempts to arrest Mr Sosu, with Parliament upholding its privileges and requesting proper procedures for MPs who must face criminal prosecution.
It is the case of the police that Mr Sosu had questions to answer in respect of the criminal act the protestors engaged in, for which they tried to invite the MP to assist with investigations.
However, the MP had been on the defence that he followed due process in organising the protest and, therefore, there was no basis for his arrest.
After the first attempt to arrest him, Mr Sosu filed a formal complaint in Parliament, accusing the Greater Accra Regional Operations Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mr Isaac Kojo Asante, and the Adentan Divisional Commander, ACP Mr Eric Winful, of contempt of Parliament.
The Speaker of Parliament has, since, referred the complaint against the two police officers to the Privileges Committee of Parliament.
Sosu was first expected to appear in court on Monday, November 8, this year but was absent.
The prosecution notified the court that the police had received a letter from the Speaker of Parliament indicating that Lawyer Sosu was out of the country on parliamentary duties, a situation which compelled the court to adjourn the case.
On November 16, this year, the MP again failed to appear before the court.
His counsel informed the court that the MP was still out of the country and was expected to return the following week.
The judge, in his response, indicated that he had received a letter on his file signed by the Deputy Clerk to Parliament, Eric Owusu Mensah, which read: “Please refer to your letter No. KDC/202/22 and dated 9th November, 2021 which attached a Hearing Notice on the above matter for service on the Honourable Member for Madina Constituency, Hon. Francis-Xavier Sosu.”
The letter further read: “I have been directed by the Rt Hon. Speaker to bring to the attention of the Hon. Court that the Hon. Member is attending at the proceedings of the 3rd Meeting of the 1st Session of the 8th Parliament which commenced on Tuesday, 26th October, 2021 and is also currently representing Parliament and the country in a conference in the United States of America.”
“Pursuant to Article 117 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic, I am unable to bring the service to the attention of the Member of Parliament as requested,” the letter, dated 10th November, 2021 indicated.
The case was subsequently adjourned to yesterday (Nov 29).
Meanwhile, the MP has also filed a suit seeking to stay all criminal investigations and proceedings against him by the police over the demonstration in his constituency.
In the suit against the Inspector General of Police, Mr Sosu is also seeking an order enforcing his fundamental human rights, including his rights to freedom of movement, protest and demonstrate, personal liberty, freedom of expression, and against unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution.
Source: Justice Agbenorsi|graphic.com.gh