29 November 2012

Ghana: Sole Commissioner Talks Tough

As the Sole Commissioner took a firm seat yesterday, at the commencement of the Commission of Enquiry into payment of judgment debts in the country, he sounded a word of caution to institutions and persons who fail to comply with its subpoena as two state personalities absented themselves from the sitting, without reasonable explanation, thereby thwarting the work of the commission.

Justice Yaw Appau, an Appeal Court judge, who was appointed the sole commissioner by President John Mahama to enquire into judgments debts saga that overwhelmed the country in recent times, reminded the public of the commission's powers of arrest, when it came to his notice that the Controller and Accountant General and the Chief Director of the Ministry of Finance had failed to appear despite a subpoena being served on them.

As the commission's sitting ended earlier than anticipated, following the absence of the two personalities, the Sole Commissioner noted that he will not hesitate to unleash the powers on the commission on any person or institution that disobeys its orders without reasonable cause.

He, therefore, indicated that a new subpoena will be issued for those who failed to appear before the commission, to enable them make appearance on the next sitting slated for December 17, this year.

Additionally, Justice Appau noted that the commission under its powers, could enter the premises and offices of persons and institutions to search and take away document that would assist it do its work.

"The Commission is incapacitated for the day, for the failure of the officers to appear", Justice Appau lamented.

Meanwhile, in his opening address, the Sole Commissioner cautioned the public to desist from making prejudicial comments and criticisms of the commission's establishment since their comments are based on mistaken premises.

Justice Appau noted with disappointment questions raised about the constitutionality or otherwise of the establishment of the Commission, the motives behind its establishment and other matters, as none of the commentators and critics had made any effort at looking at the Constitutional Instrument (C.I) 79 from which it emanated.

"It is important for developing an enlightened democratic culture in our society to avoid such hasty, premature and prejudicial comments and criticisms", the Sole Commissioner stress, noting that the worst culprits are politicians, as well as lawyers, who are supposed to better know and understand the Constitution, which is the foundation of acts or omissions in the country.

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