Your immunity is not absolute – Speaker tells MPs

Alban Bagbin, speaker of 8th parliament

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has cautioned Members of Parliament that their immunity as contained in Articles 117 and 118 of the Constitution is not absolute.

He said the Constitution allows the courts to serve court processes on MPs who are not attending to the business of the House.

In a formal communication to MPs Wednesday, the former Nadowli Kaleo legislator disclosed that it has come to his attention that some MPs during recess, when they were not engaged in business of the House, evaded attempts by court officials to serve processes on them.

He said that should not be the case and is calling for mutual respect between the legislature and the judiciary. 

Mr Bagbin also expressed concern there have been incidents when court processes have been served on some MPs when they were engaged in the business of Parliament without recourse to the Speaker which should not be the case. 

He went on to lay out an 11-point guideline he said was developed in collaboration with the Judiciary to guide how parliamentarians can be brought before courts.

MPs cannot be served with processes when parliament is in session without recourse to the speaker.

But they cannot be served with court processes whilst within the precincts of parliament without recourse to the speaker.

They may however be served when parliament is on recess but not within the precincts of Parliament.

MPs are to direct service of court processes to the speaker if they are to being served when the house is on recess.

Where a member accepts service of a processes and has entered appearance, the member is said to have become a party and will thus not be covered by immunities provided under the constitution.