The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has assured the nation of the Legislature’s commitment to ensuring that individual’s rights to privacy are not abused, when the Interception of Postal Packet and Telecommunications Messages Bill, 2015 is passed.
The Bill, popularly known among Ghanaians as the ‘Spy Bill’ which is currently before Parliament for consideration and approval, has generated debate among the people as to whether the law would invade the privacy of Ghanaians.
The House has, accordingly, placed a publication in the media inviting memorandum from the public by way of contributions to the Bill.
However, the Speaker in his closing remarks to the august House to mark the end of the First Meeting of Parliament, this year, which was read on his behalf by the First Deputy,. Ebo Barton-Odro, urged the public not to harbour any fear since the legislature would work in an open manner to protect their interests, while safeguarding national security.
“As Speaker of Parliament, I am fully aware of the provisions in Article 18 of the 1992 Constitution and other enactments, which guarantee the protection of a person’s right to privacy, including non-interference in his correspondence, or communications, except in accordance with the law as may be necessary in a free, fair democratic society for public safety and economic wellbeing of the country, as well as for the prevention of disorder and crime”.
He said: “What is useful in considering this Bill is for this august House to navigate the fine contours on the populace’s constitutional legislative needs, to establish a delicate balance between the individual’s rights to privacy vis-a-vis the rights of the public to live in safe and secure environment devoid of fear or crime.”
He added, “I would like to reiterate my commitment and that of the leadership of this House, by assuring all Ghanaians that in addition to pre-legislative steps that have already been taken, this House will carry out its task of scrutinizing the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill, 2015, in an open and transparent manner, so that all stakeholders and members of the public will be given an opportunity within our rules, to raise issues of concern and make input to the work of the House so that we can have a satisfactory and wholesome legislation on the prevention and suppression of crime in the national interest.”
The ‘Spy Bill’ is seeking to enact legislation for the purpose of fighting crime, suppressing organized crime, including money laundering, terrorism and narcotic trafficking, as well as identity theft.