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General News of Thursday, 25 June 2020

Source: My News GH

Use NABCO salary as sanctions for not wearing face mask – Martin Kpebu tells govt

A private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, wants the government to use Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) salary as sanctions for not wearing a face mask.

According to him, the government should lessen the sanctions it has set for persons who fail to comply with the directive for the compulsory wearing of face mask in public as the current sanction regime is too harsh and must be reconsidered.

“I will prefer we use the NABCO salary as the benchmark, NABCO employees earn about GH¢750 a month so you can look at that. If you say the minimum sentence for not wearing the nose mask is GH¢12,000, it means that a NABCO employee will work the whole year and still not be able to pay. We should look at income levels and bring it down,” he said.

Executive Instrument (E.I. 164), which signed by President Akufo-Addo on June 15, 2020, as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID -19, states, per Section 6 of Act 1012, that “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (GH¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (GH¢ 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.”

But according to Martin Kpebu, the amount should be reduced to a rate commensurate with Ghana’s economic status.

“It is rather draconian so we are calling on the president to look at the sanction regime too. If you compare, at least from the little internet search I have done, across the world you see some countries charge $200, elsewhere $50, $100, £1000 pounds in the UK and so on. Those are smaller sums of monies as compared to what Ghana has.”

Speaking on Eyewitness News monitored by MyNewsGh.com, noted the challenge of drivers being guilty of not wearing a mask even if they are alone in their cars under the relevant Executive Instrument.

“It is rather draconian so we are calling on the president to look at the sanction regime too. If you compare, at least from the little internet search I have done, across the world you see some countries charge $200, elsewhere $50, $100, £1000 pounds in the UK and so on. Those are smaller sums of monies as compared to what Ghana has,” he added.

Martin Kpebu also argued that given the level of sanctions some advanced countries are meting out to errant citizens with regards to flouting such COVID-19 directives, Ghana’s sanctions appear to be high-handed.

At a press briefing on Tuesday morning, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, argued that “if the sanctions are not deterring enough, we will not get the level of compulsion we are looking for.”

But on the issue of drivers alone in their cars being sanctioned for not wearing face masks, the government has assured that Ghana Police Service will issue new directives on the matter.

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