Emile Short C’ssion: Sensitive parts of probe should not be public – Lawyer
Sensitive parts of the Emile Short Commission’s probe should be in-camera to save Ghana’s security chiefs from appearing to be unprepared and uncoordinated, a legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong has suggested.
This is to preserve the confidence Ghanaians have in Ghana’s security architecture, he argued.
The lack of coordination from the testimonies by the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery; the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, and the Minister of state in charge of National Security, Bryan Acheampong were the main takeaways of some observers of the commission’s probe into the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election violence like security analyst Adam Bona, who spoke to Citi News earlier in the week.
“They probably didn’t coordinate with each other. They didn’t talk among themselves even before coming to talk to the commission. All along some of us had raised issues like that. It was clear it was an ‘each one for himself’ kind of attitude.”
Another analyst Festus Aboagye said: “One of the contradiction is one around the identity or the nature of the people who constituted the 60 men force that we saw on TV. ”
“We were told in one instance that there were 60 of them, 25 drawn from the police and 35 were national security operatives. This has been contradicted. Indeed even on Thursday, the IGP [at a press conference] contradicted that and on Friday the director general of operation was very categorical that there were no policemen or officers who were part of the masked men in black and that, as far as the police operations were concern he could only account for the police officers.”
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Oppong also acknowledged the incoherence from the three major security chiefs.
He noted that “after all, they are all under the same National Security Council so how would it happen that one event, [yet we have] seemingly different inconsistent reports?”
But Mr. Oppong argued that in-camera hearings would be important “in order that we do not also expose the national security system to too many acts of inconsistency… and lack of coordination.”
“At the same time, if we don’t take care, we would also erode the importance of these institutions in the minds of people,” the lawyer added in his comments on the first two days of the commission’s work.
“It is important that in the minds of the people, we retain the confidence already reposed in them and that is why there may be a time that perhaps, some of the proceedings may have to be done in-camera.”
“I think there should be a time where depending on the questions that may have to be asked of any of them, some of these proceedings should have to be in-camera…”
The lawyer is also concerned that the average Ghanaian may not be able to process the developments in a nuanced manner.
“That is a concern to me. We are not in a very sophisticated state. We run with what we hear and what we see. Occasionally we subject them to some critical analysis and so on but a substantial part of the population is not sophisticated,” he said.
Without elaborating, Mr. Oppong also questioned if the commission’s proceedings should be televised.
“The more pertinent question for me is whether it is even proper for the commission of inquiry’s proceedings to be on TV.”
According to him, sensitive information could now enter the public domain when it would have been struck out in the final report by the President over national security concerns.