The Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Mr. William Ampem-Darko, has apologized “profusely” before the Privileges Committee of Parliament for verbally attacking K.T. Hammond, Member of Parliament (MP) for Adansi-Asokwa and other members of the Legislature.
Mr. Ampem-Darko was hauled to the Committee after a complaint on March 26 by MP for Atwima-Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, who submitted that the GBC Boss verbally assaulted Hon. K.T. Hammond and the generality of the Members using Akan language which translates as “stupid people who sit in Parliament and engage in stupid things”.He indicated that the issue came to his notice through the electronic media that there was a spiteful encounter between Hon. Hammond and Mr. Ampem-Darko within the precincts of Parliament immediately after the approval of the 2009 Annual Estimates of the Ministry of Information.
After two sittings and appearances of all witnesses, the Privileges Committee, in its report laid before Parliament yesterday, noted that Mr. Ampem-Darko was truly apologetic and was not in any way prepared to defend his conduct on the day of the incident.
Accordingly, the Committee accepted his apology and recommended that “he renders an extensive unqualified apology to Hon. K.T. Hammond and the entire House”. The Committee, the report indicated, was minded to take this position because of the timing of the apology and the demeanor of Mr. William Ampem-Darko when he appeared before it.
It is however not clear what the comments of the members would be on the matter when the time comes for the consideration of the report of the Privileges Committee.In his evidence before the Committee, Hon. Isaac Asiamah indicated that he raised the matter on the floor of the House to seek reliefs in order to protect the integrity and image of the House and its Members, emphasizing he took offence because Mr. Ampem-Darko in those pronouncements extended the verbal assaults to all MPs.
The GBC Boss who reportedly sounded “very apologetic” throughout his appearance before the Committee confirmed the evidence of Hon. Isaac Asiamah.
He indicated that on his sighting of Hon. K.T. Hammond leaving the precincts of the House on the day in question, he made an attempt to exchange pleasantries with him but the Hon. Member rather returned insults on him using the Akan expression “kwasia”, which means “fool”. Mr. Ampem-Darko indicated that as a human being, he was naturally provoked by Hon. K.T. Hammond’s utterances, lost his temper and made the utterances attributed to him for which he thereafter deeply regretted.
The GBC Boss, according to the Privileges Committees report, apologized profusely for his utterances and further requested the Committee to “kindly convey” his unqualified apology to Hon. K.T. Hammond and the entire Members of Parliament for his conduct.
Concluding in evidence, Hon. Hammond indicated that after his contribution to the debate on the floor of the House on March 24, 2009, the Minister of Information, Mrs. Zita Okaikoi requested to see him. He stated that it was when he was going to meet the Hon. Minister that he met the GBC Boss and the unfortunate incident ensued. Hon. K.T. Hammond however indicated that as the Director-General of a state-owned Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Ampem-Darko should have known better and not behaved the way he did. He also denied calling the Director-General a fool.
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