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Enough Of The Commitees

Sun, 1 Nov 2009 Source: The Catalyst

Upon assumption of office, the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), in line with its manifesto promises, embarked on a mission to scrutinize some acts of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for Ghanaians to know the facts behind the scenes.

The Ghana@50 Commission, among others, was set up to delve into the way the NPP handled state funds entrusted to them. What was a legitimate course to find out the truth, has now become a modus operandi of the NDC whenever a problem crops up. Hardly a day passes without the formation of a new committee or commission to look into one thing or the other. Committee to probe Vodafone deal, Committee for Ghana Water Company and Aqua Vitens Rand Ltd (AVRL) and the list continues. When fire engulfed the Ministry of Foreign building, Ghanaians were surprised to hear of the formation of another committee to investigate the cause of the inferno.

Much as there is nothing wrong with the formation of such committees, it appears the government is undermining the importance of some state institutions mandated to carry out some specific duties in the country. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Police Service and the Fire Service are statutory institutions with the requisite skills and experience to handle various aspects of national investigations. It is therefore surprising that these institutions have been by-passed in the investigation processes such committees are carrying out.

For instance, in the case of the Foreign Affairs building fire, the Fire Service can carry out their inquiry on the cause of the fire whilst the Police Service deals with the criminal aspect of it, that is, if there is any suspicion of foul play.

It is by making these institutions work that they gain the requisite experience to handle bigger cases; they would also get the opportunity of identifying their weaknesses in the course of their work for the necessary remedies to be applied. Forming of committees or commissions for any problem that comes up would not help these statutory institutions. They could be made to consult professionals in certain fields if they lack the knowledge, but to sideline them for committees and commissions at the least occurrence of an incident is an indictment on them and a vote of ‘no confidence.’

Let us empower the CHRAJs, SFOs, the Police Service and the likes to carry out their mandate with the authority they are constitutionally given. Enough of the Committees and Commissions!!!

Columnist: The Catalyst