A ranking member on Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Inusah Fuseini, has said the President arrogated to himself legislative functions in the new Executive Instrument that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory.
According to Mr Fuseini, E.I. 164 breaches the law because a section of the Instrument assumes the law-making function of Parliament.
“The President has no right to penalise. That is the long-standing principle of law,” he told Accra-based Citi FM.
The E.I. was signed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on June 15, 2020, to make it mandatory for every Ghanaian to wear face masks in public.
Penalty for the not wearing a face mask could land an offender a jail term or they may be compelled to pay a fine.
“A person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence 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,” a section of the law reads.
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Section 4 (1) of the E.I. 164 states that the police have the authority to make random checks to “ensure enforcement compliance”.
But Mr Inusah Fuseini, who is the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, thinks the penalties prescribed in the E.I. are misplaced.
“You remember the first time the President brought the Imposition of Restrictions Bill, the President sought to arrogate himself the power to determine [certain restrictions] for persons under the Bill. That was resisted by Parliament. That was why we created a function called offences and penalty and so it is the sole preserve of Parliament to penalise and not that of the President. That is a long-standing principle of law,” he reiterated.