Committee meets with CSOs on Witness Protection Bill

Accra – The Parliamentary Select Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs has held a technical meeting, in Accra, with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to discuss the Witness Protection Bill, 2017.

The proposed law, now at the Committee stage, is to give legal backing to the establishment of a Witness Protection Agency and a Witness Protection Programme for Ghana.

The Bill will provide the framework for the protection of persons who would testify in cases of corruption and serious crime, but also may be intimidated or threatened.

Among the CSOs which participated in the meeting were the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Ghana Anti- Corruption Coalition, SEND Ghana and the Parliamentary News (PN) Africa.

The meeting was orgainised with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Offinso South constituency, in an interview said it was necessary for the proposed law to be worked on to empower and protect witnesses with the coming into force of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

He pointed the need to ensure the safety of witnesses who may proffer information to agencies set up to check corruption in public office and other offences.

At the meeting, Mr Edmund Foley, Head of Department of Public Law, of the Law Faculty of the Law Faculty of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, drew the attention of the Committee to issues such as Appointment of Officers of the Agency, Definition of Witnesses, the Agency would be sited and Victim Compensation Fund.

Mr Sammy Obeng, an official of the PN Africa said there was the need to track the Bill as it went through the processes before it became law and appealed to the Media to publicise the legislation, for which the House would soon engage to work seriously on.

Source: Ghana News Agency