A private legal practitioner, John Ndebugri says the setting up of a commission to investigate the violence that characterised last Thursday’s by-election at the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency, is imprudent.
He sees the move by government as a waste of time, especially when the persons who perpetrated the acts are known, can be easily identified and dealt with without having to use a commission of enquiry.
“Those who committed the act are known, they should be apprehended, taken through the due process of investigation and charged before a court of competent jurisdiction and prosecuted.
“So, I don’t see the point in a commission of enquiry. It is a way of virtually sweeping matters under the carpet,” Mr Ndebugri said on Joy FM’s Top Story, Wednesday.
His comments come after government announced the setting up of a commission to investigate the violence that has left the Minority in Parliament incensed.
The three-member commission is chaired by former Commissioner for the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Francis Emile Short. The other members are law professor, Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu and former Inspector-General of Police, Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong.
Private legal practitioner and former Dean of the GIMPA Law School, Dr. Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has also been appointed as Secretary to the Commission, according to a statement issued and signed Wednesday, by Director of Communications for the Presidency, Eugene Arhin.
The commission is expected to:
(a) to make a full, faithful and impartial inquiry into the circumstances of, and establish the facts leading to, the events and associated violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon By-Election on the 31st day of January 2019;
(b) to identify any person responsible for or who has been involved in the events, associated violence and injuries;
(c) to inquire into any matter which the Commission considers incidental or reasonably related to the causes of the events and the associated violence and injuries; and
(d) to submit within one month its report to the President giving reasons for its findings and recommendations, including appropriate sanctions, if any.
But Mr Ndebugri said the work of the commission will have no effect.
These masked men are alleged to have assaulted voters and Ningo-Prampram MP Sam George
Making reference to past experiences where reports from commissions of such nature end up gathering dust, Ndebugri hoped for a “swifter decision to be taken on the issue.”
“Some persons have publicly said that they are the ones who deployed them, so those persons must be made to produce the people they deployed.
“And we have various footages, they can be identified and they should be dealt with in the normal course of business. I don’t see how a commission of enquiry fits into this matter,” he stressed.
In the former Zebila MP’s view the perpetrators of the acts, which he believes is criminal, should be dealt with ruthlessly because “they committed simple criminal acts.”
He added, ”people have committed a crime so they should be apprehended, granted bail, investigations will go through and they will be charged and prosecuted. That is the end of it.”
He is convinced that the commission of enquiry is a nonstarter and their findings will lead to nothing.
However, the President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) Anthony Forson, on the other hand, is elated by the news.
Mr Forson said the Association is content that the president listened to the many voices that condemned the violence and called for action to be taken to get to the bottom of it.
“In fact, even though there is excitement about the prompt action of the president, everybody is still smarting from the pain that having sustained our democracy until this point, we should see such an incident.
Even though it is an incident that happened outside the polling station, it ought not to have happened in the first place. So we all still must feel the pain of those who were hurt and the pain of the blight on our democratic credentials across the world.”
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