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General News of Monday, 4 April 2016


BNI's impunity must not be tolerated – Lawyer

A private legal practitioner, Nana Adjei Awuah, says the relevance of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in Ghana’s security system must be reassessed.

He believes the BNI has consistently failed to conduct itself in accordance with democratic principles and the rule of law.

Nana Awuah was commenting on the arrest and detention of his client on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Monday.

The BNI, acting on the orders of National Security Advisor, Alhaji Baba Kamara, and Friday arrested the Managing Director of quarry company, Marbles & Granites.

Dr. Edmund Ayo Ani was picked up by the police and later by the BNI for allegedly orchestrating the taking of photographs of Mahindra vehicles being branded in NDC colours.

His building shares wall with a facility belonging to Baba Kamara where the vehicles were being branded.

He was accused of circulating false claims that the vehicles were originally procured for use by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) but were diverted to the governing party - an accusation his lawyer flatly rejected.

Nana Awuah insisted that the arrest of Dr. Ani by BNI was unlawful and smacks of the impunity the BNI has become notorious for.

He said, “I think we need to revisit the security agencies and evaluate each of their contribution to our democracy to ascertain whether or not the BNI as an institution is still relevant in the scheme of things.

“Analysis of security agencies around the world in terms of those that are like the BNI - the MI6 to the British, the CIA to the American and other places, I think that the fact that these nations have got MI6 and CIA does not mean Ghana needs a BNI.”

Nana Baffuor Awuah questioned the transparency of the operations of the BNI, saying it does the bidding of political parties and other influential private citizens.

“Even their mode of recruitment is not transparent, and, therefore, the politicians just in certain instances sneak people into the police service and the military succeed in sneaking people into the BNI to do their bidding.”

Citing the arrest of his client last Friday, Baffuor Awuah said there is the need to consider whether or not the “BNI is of any value. People in authority have been using the BNI to intimidate people who they have got small quarrels with.”

He said what the National Security advisor, Baba Kamara did by causing the arrest of his client was unlawful, unconstitutional, and illegal and the highest point of impunity.

The lawyer who refrained from giving details of the circumstances under which his client was arrested, said, “We thought that having transitioned since 1992 to a democratic rule, there would have been a cessation to this impunity and no state institution like the BNI will be used for this impunity.”

He said his client Dr. Edmund Ayo Ani is not interested in Ghanaian politics and that even if he was, as long as Baba Kamara’s property was not a security zone, the arrest was unlawful.

“It is the highest form of impunity and it should not be encouraged under any circumstances,” he stressed.