The General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, has been given some tutorials based on some utterances he made concerning the setting up of a Presidential Commission of Enquiry to investigate the violence that erupted during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election last week.
Minister of Information, Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has educated the NDC chief scribe on the law which empowered President Nana Akufo-Addo to establish the Commission.
According to the spokesman of the Akufo-Addo government, Mr Asiedu Nketia (popularly called General Mosquito) is “grossly misinformed” on the law regarding the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry.
Government, on Wednesday, announced the setting up of a three-member Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Mr Justice Emile Short, former Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to investigate and establish the facts leading to the events and associated violence during the Ayawaso West Wuogon by-election.
But the NDC stalwart, moments after the announcement of the Commission, said on Accra-based Okay FM that the action by the president was just “a smokescreen” and an “illegality.”
“I am surprised and even confused because there is a procedure for setting up a Commission of Inquiry which has not been followed and so I want to believe that it is a smokescreen which the government is using to protect its own appointees and other party apparatchiks,” he asserted.
He cited Article 278:1 of the 1992 Constitution to back his claim.
“Our constitution is very clear . . . that the president by a constitutional instrument establish a Commission of Inquiry into any matter of public interest . . . but I have not heard of any constitutional instrument being laid before parliament; for it to mature . . . and then somebody from the presidency announces that the president has established a commission . .. It is a wrong move and I think that should not prevent the police from arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators who are known. It cannot be a Commission of Inquiry according to our laws . . . it is false; it is a smoke screen,” Asiedu Nketia argued.
But in a sharp riposte on the same platform, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah opined that the NDC chief scribe was ill-informed on the subject matter.
“…there are those that are of the nature of rules and regulations and those are the ones that you lay in Parliament to mature after 21 days and the ruling was done by Justice Darteh Baah; those are the ones that you refer to Parliament after 21 days. If you have one that is in the nature of Executive Instrument; you do not require that and indeed if you check from the previous Commissions of Inquiry, you can check and validate whether it was laid in Parliament for 21 days before it assumed legality. So the law does not support that argument,” the Information Minister pointed out.
“…you can check from the best lawyers in our country and they will tell you that this is not a Constitutional Instrument that requires that it be laid before Parliament for 21 days; that is not correct,” he stressed.