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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BNI’s Image Dented as it continues to loose case after case in court

Security analyst Dr. Emmanuel Kwesi Aning says it is about time the BNI re-examined the rate at which it is losing cases in court. He said the development was not good for the image of the agency as it could demoralise the citizenry and lead to a loss of confidence in the Bureau.

Dr. Aning’s comments come in the wake of two defeats suffered by the national investigative body at the High Court in one week.

In the first case, the court on August 11, 2009 ruled that the BNI had no right to seize the travel passport of former Foreign Minister, Akwasi Osei Adjei. It consequently ordered the BNI to immediately return the passport to Mr Osei Adjei, declaring that the seizure was unconstitutional and violated the right to freedom of movement of the former Foreign Minister.

A week later, the Human Rights Court presided over by Justice Peter Dery declared that it was wrong, illegal and unconstitutional for the Bureau to interrogate the NPP’s Greater Accra Regional Chairman, Sammy Crabbe, without his lawyers. The court, on August 18, 2009 held that the BNI breached provisions of the constitution and violated the right of Mr Crabbe. The NPP guru had sued the bureau for interrogating him without his counsel.

In view of these rulings, Dr Aning said it was in the interest of the BNI itself to respect the rule of law in the execution of its mandate so as not to undermine its own integrity. He said the rulings had implications for other intelligence agencies and was a clear demonstration that the security agencies cannot treat citizens as they wished.

Contributing to the discussion, legal practitioner, Prof Ken Attafuah, said the culture of policing generally in Ghana was disreppectful of fundamental human rights.

Referring to the BNI vs. Sammy Crabbe case, he said it was basic standard procedure that a person cannot be interrogated in the absence of his counsel.

“People see civil liberties as impediments to effective policing,” he noted, arguing it was important for citizens to realise that they owe it a duty to themselves and to society to insist on respect for civil liberties.

Source: myjoyonline

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