There are credible indications that the Attorney-General (A-G) and Minister of Justice, Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, will appeal against the October 29, 2009 High Court ruling ordering three security operatives to appear before it in OPEN COURT.
The court had declined to grant a request for the matter to be heard IN CAMERA to PROTECT THE IDENTITIES of the operatives. The three, Yaw Donkor, Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and two others – Ms. Josephine Dandawiri and Mr Stephen Abrokwa – were due to appear before the Human Rights Division of the High Court to answer contempt charges brought against them. The charges had been brought against the three by a former Minister in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng.
A source close to the A-G’s Department hinted that the basis of the appeal will be under certain sections of the Security and Intelligence Act, (Act 526) of 1996. He explained that Section 21 of Act 526 sets out the procedure to be followed by any person aggrieved as a result of the performance of duty by an intelligence agency like the BNI whilst Section 22 mandates the Chief Justice to set up a tribunal to hear any such matter.
Section 21(1) of the act states that “a person who is aggrieved by an omission of an intelligence agency may submit a written or oral complaint to the director of that intelligence agency,” section 21(2) states further that “The director shall examine the complaint and take appropriate action within a period not exceeding thirty days from the days from the date of receipt of the complaints.”
However, section 21(3) states that “A person who has made a complaint to the director under this section may, where action is not taken on the complaints within the period specified, or that person is dissatisfied with the action taken by the director, submit a written complaint to the Chief Justice who shall refer the complaint to the tribunal provided for under section 22.”
Section 22 states: “The Chief Justice shall on receipt of the complaint, appoint within a period of sixty days, a tribunal of three persons to examine and determine the issues in the complaint.
The Tribunal shall consist of a justice of the High Court, a retired Justice of the High Court or a lawyer who qualifies to be appointed a justice of the High Court and two other persons one of whom is a person with considerable knowledge of the area of the subject matter of the complaint and operations of intelligence activities in general.”
The tribunal, the Act says, “may exclude from its proceeding persons, other than parties to the proceeding and their lawyers, where it considers necessary in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or the protection of the private lives of the persons concerned in the proceedings.”
The raison d’etre for this elaborate procedure and in camera hearing appears to be clearly captured in Clause 22 of the Memorandum to the law which states “Clause 22 enables the Chief Justice to appoint a tribunal within a time frame to examine and determine the complaint.
This is to avoid delicate security complaints being adjudicated in an open court.” The appeal is expected to be filed this week.
Source: The Daily Dispatch
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