National Assembly (Powers And Privileges)

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ARRANGEMENT

OF SECTIONS

SECTION



1. Short title

2. Interpretation

3. Immunity from legal

proceedings

4. Freedom from arrest

5. Exercise of process

6. Entry to Assembly

7. Regulation of

admission to Assembly

8. Order of withdrawal

from Assembly

9. Power to order

attendance of witnesses

10. Attendance to be

notified by summons

11. Power to issue

warrant to compel attendance

12. Witnesses may be

examined on oath

13. Objection to

answer question or produce papers

14. Privileges of

witnesses

15. Evidence of

proceedings in Assembly or committee not to be given without leave

16. Determination of

questions relating to evidence and production of documents before the Assembly

or committee

17. Proceedings to be

deemed judicial proceedings for certain purposes

18. Offences relating

to admittance to the Assembly

19. Other offences

20. Acceptance of

bribes by Members

21. Penalty for false

answers

22. Journals printed

by the Government Printer to be admitted as evidence

23. Penalty for

printing false copy of law, journal, etc.

24. Protection of

persons responsible for publications authorized by the Assembly

25. Publication of

proceedings without malice

26. Exclusion of

jurisdiction of courts

27. Powers of officers

28. Power of arrest

29. Speaker may order

words out of order not to be published

30. Authority for

prosecutions

31. Rules



Proc. 24, 1961,

HMC Order 1, 1963,

L.N. 84, 1966,

Act 8, 1980,

Act 14, 2005,

S.I. 38, 2007,

S.I. 61, 2007






[Date of

Commencement: 21st April, 1961]

[Ch0205s1]1. Short title

This

Act may be cited as the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.

[Ch0205s2]2. Interpretation

In

this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

"Assembly"

means the National Assembly;

"Clerk"

means the Clerk of the National Assembly;

"committee"

means any standing, sessional, select or other committee of the Assembly;

"journals"

means the minutes of the Assembly or the official record of the votes and

proceedings thereof;

"Member"

means any Member of the Assembly;

"officer

of the Assembly" means the Clerk, the Sergeant-at-Arms or any other

officer or person acting within the precincts of the Assembly, other than when

serving a summons under the provisions of section 10(3) under the orders of the

Speaker and includes any member of the Botswana Police Force on duty within the

precincts of the Assembly;

"precincts

of the Assembly" means the chamber and offices of the Assembly and any

galleries and places provided for the use or accommodation of strangers,

members of the public and representatives of the press, and includes, while the

Assembly is sitting, and subject to any exceptions made by direction of the

Speaker, the entire building in which the chamber of the Assembly is situated,

and any forecourt, yard, garden, enclosure or open space adjoining or

appertaining to such building and used or provided for the purposes of the

Assembly;

"Speaker"

means the Speaker of the National Assembly and includes any other Member of the

Assembly presiding for the time being in the Assembly;

"Standing

Orders" means the Standing Orders of the Assembly for the time being

in force;

"stranger"

means any person other than a Member or an officer of the Assembly.

[Ch0205s3]3. Immunity from legal proceedings

No

civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any Member for words

spoken before, or written in a report to, the Assembly or to a committee, or by

reason of any matter or thing so brought by him by petition, Bill, motion or

otherwise.

[Ch0205s4]4. Freedom from arrest

No

Member shall be liable to arrest-

(a) for any civil debt whilst going to,

attending at or returning from a meeting of the Assembly or any committee; or

(b) within the precincts of the Assembly while

the Assembly or a committee is sitting, for any criminal offence without the

consent of the Speaker.

[Ch0205s5]5. Exercise of process

No

process issued by any court in the exercise of its jurisdiction shall be served

or executed within the precincts of the Assembly while the Assembly is sitting

or through the Speaker, the Clerk or any officer of the Assembly.

[Ch0205s6]6. Entry to Assembly

No

stranger shall be entitled, as of right, to enter or to remain within the

precincts of the Assembly.

[Ch0205s7]7. Regulation of admission to Assembly

(1)

The Speaker is hereby authorized to issue such orders as he may in his

discretion deem necessary for the regulation of the admittance of strangers to

the precincts of the Assembly.

(2)

Copies of orders made under this section shall be duly authenticated by the

Clerk and exhibited in a conspicuous position in the precincts of the Assembly;

and such copies when so authenticated and exhibited shall be deemed to be

sufficient notice to all persons affected thereby.

[Ch0205s8]8. Order of withdrawal from Assembly

The

Speaker may at any time order any stranger to withdraw from the precincts of

the Assembly.

[Ch0205s9]9. Power to order attendance of witnesses

The

Assembly or any committee may, subject to the provisions of sections 14 and 16,

order any person to attend before the Assembly or before such committee and to

give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document in the

possession or under the control of such person.

[Ch0205s10]10. Attendance to be notified by summons

(1)

Any order to attend to give evidence or to produce documents before the

Assembly or a committee shall be notified to the person required to attend or

to produce the documents by a summons, in such form as may be prescribed, under

the hand of the Clerk issued by the direction of the Speaker or, in the case of

a committee, by the chairman and so described on the face of such summons.

Every such summons, if purporting to bear the signature of the Clerk, shall be

deemed prima facie to be lawful and to be issued by the direction of the

Speaker or the chairman as the case may be.

(2)

In every summons under subsection (1) there shall be stated the time when and

the place where the person summoned is required to attend and the particular

documents which he is required to produce and the summons shall be served on

the person mentioned therein either by delivering to him a copy thereof or by

leaving a copy thereof at his usual or last-known place of abode in Botswana,

with some adult person; and there shall be paid or tendered to the person so

summoned, if he does not reside within six kilometres of the place of

attendance specified in the summons, such sum for his expenses as may be

prescribed by Standing Orders.

(3) A

summons under this section may be served by an officer of the Assembly or by a

member of the Botswana Police Force.

[Ch0205s11]11. Power to issue warrant to compel attendance

(1)

If a person to whom a summons under section 10 is directed does not attend

before the Assembly or the committee at the time and place mentioned therein,

the Speaker may, upon being satisfied that the summons was duly served or that

the person to whom the summons is directed wilfully avoids service, direct the

Clerk to issue a warrant, in such form as may be prescribed, to apprehend him

and bring him, at a time and place to be stated in the warrant, before the

Assembly or committee.

(2) A

warrant issued under this section shall be executed by a member of the Botswana

Police Force.

(3)

The Speaker, on directing the issue of a warrant under this section, may, if he

thinks fit, by ordering an appropriate endorsement on the warrant, direct that

the person named in the warrant be released after arrest on his entering into

such recognizance before a court for his appearance before the Assembly or

committee as may be required in the endorsement.

(4)

Every warrant issued under the provisions of this section and every endorsement

upon such warrant shall, if purporting to bear the signature of the Clerk, be

deemed prima facie to be lawful and to be issued or made under the

direction or order of the Speaker.

[Ch0205s12]12. Witnesses may be examined on oath

The

Assembly or any committee empowered to order the attendance of witnesses may

require that any facts, matters and things relating to the subject of inquiry

before the Assembly or such committee be verified or otherwise ascertained by

the oral examination of witnesses, and may cause any such witnesses to be

examined upon oath, which the Clerk or the chairman of the committee or other

person specially appointed for that purpose by the Assembly or by such

committee is hereby authorized to administer.

[Ch0205s13]13. Objection to answer question or produce

papers

(1)

Subject to the provisions of section 14, where any person ordered to attend to

give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document before the

Assembly refuses to answer any question that may be put to him or to produce

any such paper, book, record or document on the ground that the same is of a

private nature and does not affect the subject of inquiry, the Speaker may

excuse the answering of such question or the production of such paper, book,

record or document, or may order the answering or production thereof.

(2)

Subject to the provisions of section 14, where any person ordered to attend or

to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document before any

committee refuses to answer any question that may be put to him or to produce

any such paper, book, record or document on the ground that the same is of a

private nature and does not affect the subject of inquiry the chairman of the

committee may report such refusal to the Speaker with the reasons therefor; and

the Speaker may thereupon excuse the answering of such question or the

production of such paper, book, record or document or may order the answering

or production thereof.

[Ch0205s14]14. Privileges of witnesses

(1)

Every person summoned to attend to give evidence or to produce any paper, book,

record or document before the Assembly or a committee thereof shall be

entitled, in respect of such evidence or the disclosure of any communication or

the production of any such paper, book, record or document to the same right or

privilege as before a court of law.

(2)

Except with the consent of the President, no person in the employment of the

Government shall-

(a) produce before the Assembly or a committee

any paper, book, record or document; or

(b) give evidence before the Assembly or a

committee,

relating to correspondence concerning any naval, military or air force

matter; nor shall secondary evidence be received by or produced before the

Assembly or a committee of the contents of any such paper, book, record or

document.

(3)

Except when in the opinion of the President it would be contrary to the public

interest and the President so directs, no person in the employment of the

Government shall refuse-

(a) to produce before the Assembly or a

committee any paper, book, record or document; or

(b) to give evidence before the Assembly or a

committee,

relating to the correspondence of any department of Government or to any

matter affecting the public service; secondary evidence shall not be received

by or produced before the Assembly or a committee of the contents of any such

paper, book, record or document which the President has directed shall not be

produced.

(4)

An answer by a person to a question put by the Assembly or a committee shall

not be admissible in evidence against him in any civil or criminal proceedings

except in the case of criminal proceedings for an offence against this Act or

for perjury, subornation of perjury or defeating or obstructing the course of

justice.

[Ch0205s15]15. Evidence of proceedings in Assembly or

committee not to be given without leave

(1)

Save as provided in this Act, no Member or officer of the Assembly and no

person employed to take minutes of evidence before the Assembly or any

committee shall give evidence elsewhere in respect of the contents of such

minutes of evidence or of the contents of any document laid before the Assembly

or such committee, as the case may be, or in respect of any proceedings or

examination held before the Assembly or such committee, as the case may be,

without first obtaining the special leave of the Assembly.

(2)

The special leave referred to in subsection (1) may be given during a recess or

adjournment by the Speaker, or, during any dissolution of the Assembly, by the

President.

[Ch0205s16]16. Determination of questions relating to

evidence and production of documents before the Assembly or committee

Where

at any time any question arises in the Assembly or in a committee in regard to-

(a) the right or power of the Assembly or a

committee to hear, admit or receive oral evidence;

(b) the right or power of the Assembly or a

committee to peruse or examine any paper, book, record or document or to

summon, direct or call upon any person to produce any paper, book, record or

document before the Assembly or committee; or

(c) the right or privilege of any person

(including a Member of the Assembly or committee) to refuse to produce any

paper, book, record or document or to lay any paper, book, record or document

before the Assembly or committee,

S.I. 61/2007,

s.2. that question shall, subject to the preceding provisions

of this Act, and except in so far as express provision is made in those

provisions for the determination of that question, be determined in accordance

with the usage and practice of the House of Commons of the United

Kingdom.

[Ch0205s17]17. Proceedings to be deemed judicial

proceedings for certain purposes

When

a person gives evidence or produces a paper, book, record or document before

the Assembly or a committee in pursuance of this Act, the proceedings shall be

deemed to be judicial proceedings for the purposes of a prosecution for

perjury, subornation of perjury or defeating or obstructing the course of

justice.

[Ch0205s18]18. Offences relating to admittance to the

Assembly

Any

person who-

(a) being a stranger, enters or attempts to

enter the precincts of the Assembly in contravention of any order of the

Speaker;

(b) being a stranger, fails or refuses to

withdraw from the precincts of the Assembly when ordered to withdraw therefrom

by the Speaker; or

(c) being a stranger contravenes, any order

made under the provisions of this Act by the Speaker regulating the admittance

of strangers to the precincts of the Assembly,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P50, or

to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.

[Ch0205s19]19. Other offences

Any

person who-

(a) disobeys any order made by the Assembly or

a committee for attendance or for production of papers, books, documents or

records, unless such attendance or production be excused as hereinbefore

provided;

(b) refuses to be examined before, or to answer

any lawful and relevant question put by the Assembly or a committee, unless

such refusal be excused as hereinbefore provided;

(c) offers to any Member or officer of the

Assembly any bribe, in order to influence him in his conduct as such Member or

officer, or offers to any Member or officer of the Assembly any fee, compensation,

gift or reward for or in respect of the promotion of or opposition to any Bill

or matter submitted to or intended to be submitted to the Assembly or any

committee;

(d) assaults, obstructs, molests or insults any

Member coming to, being within, or going from the precincts of the Assembly, or

endeavours to compel any Member by force, insult or menace to declare himself

in favour of or against any proposition or matter pending in or expected to be

brought before the Assembly or any committee;

(e) assaults, molests, insults, resists or

obstructs any officer of the Assembly while in the execution of his duty or

while proceeding to or from the Assembly knowing or having reasonable grounds

for believing him to be such an officer;

(f) creates or joins in any disturbance which

interrupts or is likely to interrupt the proceedings of the Assembly or any

committee while the Assembly or such committee is sitting;

(g) presents to the Assembly or a committee any

false, untrue, fabricated or falsified document with intent to deceive the

Assembly or such committee;

(h) utters or publishes any false or scandalous

slander or libel on the Assembly or upon any Member in his capacity as such;

(i) attempts, directly or indirectly, by

fraud, or by threats or intimidation of any kind, to influence a Member in his

vote, opinion, judgment or action, upon any question arising in the Assembly or

in a committee, or to induce him to absent himself from the Assembly or any

committee;

(j) threatens, assaults or insults a Member or

an officer of the Assembly on account of his conduct as such Member or officer;

(k) gives false evidence (in the case of

witnesses not examined on oath), or is guilty of prevarication or other

misconduct as a witness before the Assembly or a committee;

(l) destroys documents which have been ordered

to be produced before the Assembly or a committee;

(m) endeavours, directly or indirectly, to deter

or hinder any person from appearing or giving evidence before the Assembly or a

committee;

(n) tampers with a witness in regard to

evidence to be given by him before the Assembly or a committee;

(o) threatens or in any way punishes, damnifies

or injures or attempts to punish, damnify or injure any person having given

evidence before the Assembly or a committee, or on account of the evidence

which he has given before the Assembly or a committee; or

(p) publishes any evidence taken by, or

document presented to, a committee where such evidence has been taken within

closed doors, or where its publication has been expressly prohibited by the

Assembly or the committee,

shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P400, or

to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

[Ch0205s20]20. Acceptance of bribes by Members

Any

Member who accepts or agrees to accept or obtains or attempts to obtain for

himself or for any other person any bribe, fee, compensation, reward or benefit

of any kind for speaking, voting or acting as such Member or for refraining

from so speaking, voting or acting or on account of his having so spoken, voted

or acted or having so refrained shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a

fine not exceeding P400, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

[Ch0205s21]21. Penalty for false answers

A

person who, whether he has or has not sworn or made an affirmation, wilfully

makes a false answer before the Assembly or a committee to a question material

to the subject of inquiry which may be put to him during the course of an

examination after he has been cautioned of his liability to punishment under

this section, shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding

P600, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

[Ch0205s22]22. Journals printed by the Government Printer

to be admitted as evidence

S.I. 61/2007, s.3. Upon

any inquiry touching the privileges, immunities and powers of the Assembly or

of any Member, a copy of the Journals of the House of Commons of the United

Kingdom printed or purporting to be printed by the order of the Printer of the

Commons House, shall be admitted as prima facie evidence of such

journals in all courts and places without any proof being given that such copy

was so printed.

[Ch0205s23]23. Penalty for printing false copy of law,

journal, etc.

Any

person who prints or causes to be printed a copy of any law or a copy of any

report, paper, minutes or votes and proceedings of the Assembly as purporting

to have been printed by the Government Printer or by order or under the

authority of the Assembly or by order or under the authority of the Speaker,

and the same is not so printed, or tenders in evidence any such copy as

purporting to be so printed, knowing that the same was not so printed, shall be

guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding P400, or to

imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

[Ch0205s24]24. Protection of persons responsible for

publications authorized by the Assembly

Any

person, being a defendant in any civil or criminal proceedings instituted for

or on account of or in respect of the publication by such person or by his

servant or agent, by order or under the authority of the Assembly, of any

reports, papers, minutes, votes and proceedings, may, on giving to the

plaintiff or prosecutor, as the case may be, 24 hours' written notice of his

intention, bring before the court in which such civil or criminal proceedings

are being held a certificate under the hand of the Speaker stating that the

reports, papers, minutes, votes and proceedings in respect whereof such civil

or criminal proceedings have been instituted were published by such person or

by his servant or agent by order or under the authority of the Assembly

together with an affidavit verifying such certificate, and such court shall

thereupon immediately stay such civil or criminal proceedings and the same and

every process issued therein shall be deemed to be finally determined.

[Ch0205s25]25. Publication of proceedings without malice

In

any civil proceedings instituted for publishing any report or summary of or any

extract from or abstract of any report, paper, minutes, votes and proceedings

of the Assembly, if the court is satisfied that such report, summary, extract

or abstract was published in good faith and without malice, judgment shall be

entered for the defendant.

[Ch0205s26]26. Exclusion of jurisdiction of courts

Neither

the Speaker nor any officer of the Assembly shall be subject to the

jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on

or vested in the Speaker or such officer by or under this Act.

[Ch0205s27]27. Powers of officers

Every

officer of the Assembly shall in the exercise of the powers conferred and the

duties imposed on him by this Act have all the powers and enjoy all the

privileges of a member of the Botswana Police Force under the provisions of the

criminal law.

[Ch0205s28]28. Power of arrest

An

officer of the Assembly may arrest without warrant-

(a) any person who commits any offence contrary

to section 18 or 19 in his presence; or

(b) any person within the precincts of the

Assembly whom he reasonably suspects of having committed, or being about to

commit, an offence contrary to either of the said sections.

[Ch0205s29]29. Speaker may order words out of order not to

be published

(1)

Where the Speaker, under the provisions of the Standing Orders of the Assembly,

rules any words used by a Member to be out of order, the Speaker may, in his

absolute discretion, order that such words, or any words out of which they

arose or arising out of them, shall not be published in any manner.

(2)

Any person who publishes any words which are the subject of an order made under

the provisions of subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a

fine not exceeding P400, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

[Ch0205s30]30. Authority for prosecutions

14 of 2005, s. 2. No

prosecution for an offence under this Act shall be instituted except with the

written authority of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

[Ch0205s31]31. Rules

The

President may, by statutory instrument, make rules prescribing anything which,

under the provisions of this Act, may be or is to be prescribed.