The Kaneshie District Court has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Madina, Mr Francis-Xavier Sosu.
This was after the MP, who has 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 Oheneba Kufuor issued the bench warrant following a prayer by the prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Sylvester Asare, reports Graphic Online’s Justice Agbenorsi.
When the case was called Monday morning, (Nov 29, 2021), 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, counsel said his client was absent because he was part of the Parliamentary Committee working on the anti-LQBTQI+ bill and was engaged in Parliament.
The MP was represented by one Rahman in court on Monday,
The prosecutor prayed the court to issue a bench warrant adding: “He (MP) has a clear intention and has demonstrated that this court cannot procure his attendance and it amounts to disrespect to this court.
“I have been ambushed by this process and this even confirm by this application that he will not appear”, ASP Asare said.
Mr Adawudu stressed that the absence of his client was not deliberate as he (MP) had to attend to the business of Parliament.
The court, in upholding the prosecution’s prayer to issue the bench warrant said there was too much deception in the system.
The presiding judge issued the bench warrant and adjourned the case to January 12, 2022.
The MP joined some of his constituents at Ayi-Mensah, Danfa and Otinibi in a protest 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 and so 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, stated that 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 Police 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.
He was first expected to appear in court on Monday, November 8, this year but he 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 his he (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 the 10th of November 2021 indicated.
The case was subsequently adjourned to today.
The MP, filed a suit seeking to stay all criminal investigations and proceedings against him by the police over a recent 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, to protest and demonstrate, personal liberty, freedom of expression, and against unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution.