The Parliament of Ghana has passed the Witness Protection Bill into Law.
The Bill which is to set a framework for the protection of individuals who serve as witnesses in the fight against crime and corruption was read for the third time and passed by Parliament on Tuesday, June 26, 2018.
The law establishes a Witness Protection Agency for the administering of a witness protection programme. The implementation of the programme is expected to protect witnesses, experts and their relatives against potential retaliation or intimidation as a result of their cooperation with law enforcement agencies.
The testimony of witnesses in criminal investigations is often critical to the work of intelligence agencies, the police and other agencies tasked with maintenance of law and order, and safeguarding the security and safety of the nation.
The evidence of witnesses is commonly required to prevent or prosecute crimes such as human trafficking, illicit arms dealing and money laundering.
Until the passage of the current law Ghana didn’t have a law that guaranteed the safety and protection of a witness, who is such an important factor in the fight against crime and graft in the society.
Though there was a Whistleblowers Act, 2006 (Act 720), it didn’t address matters relating to witness protection in the broader context.
The Whistleblowers law, among other things only deals with mechanisms by which people may expose corrupt practices in the public services but did not provide the needed protection for witnesses and their close relatives.
The passage of the Bill would fulfill one of the country’s key obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), of which Ghana is a party.
Per Article 32 of the UNCAC, Ghana is required to take appropriate measures to afford full protection to witnesses, experts and victims who may face possible threat of intimidation or physical harm.
Source: Clement Akoloh || africanewsradio.com