The conduct of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) lately has taken Ghana back as far as the country’s human rights record is concerned, Nana Akomea, Director of Communication of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has said.
His comment follows BNI’s arrest and detention of Ghanaian-Lebanese author Fadi Daboussi for two days for asking in one of his publications if President John Mahama had HIV/AIDS and for also making reference to a publication alleging Mr Mahama had impregnated a daughter of Ashanti monarch Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
Speaking on Multi TV’s Newsfile programme on Saturday, October 1, Mr Akomea said: “This country seems to be going back as far as human rights and the libertarian profile of our constitution is concerned. The liberal constitutional regime that we are engaged in now, this country seems to be going back in the last couple of years. The BNI itself has been a major factor in this development. In the last couple of years, the whole country has been alarmed at the way BNI had picked people, Ghanaians, up and the way they have been treated.
“Many times the BNI breaches the laws of Ghana, even if those detentions were to have any merit, the BNI breaks the law; keeping people beyond the 48 hours and so on. In the case of Fadi, he [had] been detained by the BNI because he had written something about the President that the BNI believed was questionable.… [But] there has been a period in this country where a sitting president was accused of having impregnated some foreign woman and having had twins, and you had the NDC political party going on organising press conferences on this matter about the sitting president having impregnated some foreign woman and having had twins.”
“These kinds of accusations and writings have happened in this country [but] people were not detained by the BNI. You can call people in and question them to see if there is any basis to the writings. …There was a time in this country when a sitting president of this country was accused of having transferred the gold reserves of this country into a private offshore account. That had several criminal implications [but] nobody was detained by the BNI because they made those accusations. If Mr Daboussi had written something that the BNI found that it didn’t have any merit, call him. Do you need to detain citizens of this country because they have written something that you don’t agree with?”
Also speaking on the same programme, George Loh, Member of Parliament for North Dayi constituency, disagreed with Mr Akomea, saying, National Security operatives all around the world have operational guidelines that they depend on to act against threats to their countries.
He said: “I am amazed at how sometimes we descend on our National Security in this country as though they are not a product of this country. All over the world, national securities have their own operational guidelines and they depend on what they think is serious or disingenuous to this country [to] act.”
“Nana Akomea has given us a repertoire of what he doesn’t like about what has happened, but clearly he hasn’t said anywhere that the National Security apparatus or the BNI has erred. I have done my investigations, they (the BNI) didn’t keep him (Fadi) beyond the statuary 48 hours. They allowed him to have access to a lawyer. He himself has come out to say he wasn’t ill-treated.”
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