Parliament’s Privileges Committee hearing over inciting comments from Kennedy Agyapong against journalist Erastus Asare Donkor scheduled for Thursday, August 05, 2021, had to be cancelled because the Assin Central Member of Parliament (MP) could not be served.
The First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the 31-Member Committee Joseph Osei-Owusu at its maiden meeting announced that the MP has travelled outside the jurisdiction of the country and could not be communicated with.
The Committee, nonetheless, deliberated on the modalities and procedures to adopt at the investigation hearing, to establish whether he was indeed in contempt of Parliament as reported by setting the ground rules.
On Wednesday, July 14, the MP for Tamale North Alhasan Suhuyini Alhassan moved a motion for the Assin Central MP who doubles as the Chairman of the Defence and Interior Committee to be referred to the Privileges Committee over, what he called, hateful comments against the Multimedia Journalist.
He said the harmful attack on the reporter by the MP is a result of the former’s journalistic work in connection with the recent violence at Ejura in the Ashanti Region and his testimony before the Justice Koomson Committee probing the issues related to the disturbances.
According to the Tamale North legislator, the Multimedia Group, whose subsidiary, Luv FM, is Mr Asare Donkor’s employer, said Kennedy Agyapong on a television show on his Net 2 TV called for the reporter to be beaten after raining insults on him.
The former Radio Gold News Anchor furthered that the media organisation has filed a formal complaint against Ken Agyapong for threatening its journalist on his Net2 TV and contended that the act is not only harmful but a slur on the reputation of the august House.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker Alban Sumana Bagbin consequently referred to the complaint by Alhassan Suhuyini, who described as harmful, unfortunate and a dent on the reputation of the House, Kennedy Agyapong’s commentary against the Journalist to the Privileges Committee.
This, however, was not the first time he faced the Committee on grounds of misconduct or other similar offences.
The first time the MP was referred to the Privileges Committee was in 2018 when the Minority Chief Whip in Parliament Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, filed a motion accusing the Assin Central MP of making contemptuous public comments about Parliament.
In January 2019, Kennedy Agyapong was, for the second time, hauled before the Privileges Committee for allegedly inciting the public against Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the murdered journalist from Anas Aremeyaw’s Tiger Eye investigative team.
The then-Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, referred the MP to the Committee following a submission by Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak MP for Asawase when he said the MP has heard audio inciting the public to beat up the slain journalist.
When the Committee met on Thursday, August 05, 2021, controversy arose in respect of attendance at the meeting of the beleaguered Assin Central MP James Gyekye Quayson, also a member of the Committee, whose election to the House has been declared null and void by a Cape Coast High Court on Wednesday, July 28, 2021.
The Committee Chairman had ordered the MP to recuse himself from the Committee’s proceedings as a result of clouds surrounding his continuous membership of the House and the Committee as well.
However, the issue was amicably resolved on the legal opinion of the Deputy Director of Legislative Drafting and Legal Services Nana Tawiah Okyir who was invited to proffer his legal opinion for cool heads to prevail to allow James Quayson to participate in the proceedings.
The Chairman further ruled against the admissibility of a petition from a public interest organisation, Social Democracy and Development Dialogue Forum-Africa (SDDDF-Africa) which catalogued, what it terms, persistent unparliamentarily conducts of the Assin Central MP, on grounds of not meeting procedural rules relating to the submission of petitions.
He announced that a new date for the meeting of the Committee on the referral of the Assin Central MP will be fixed in October when the House, which rises on Friday, August 06, reconvenes for the Third Meeting.