The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has described the sanctions associated with flouting of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as harsh and called for its review.
In a statement signed and issued by National President and Secretary, Anthony Forson Jnr and Yaw Acheampong Boafo respectively in Accra yesterday, the GBA said that, although people who defy laws must be penalised, the punishments for those who breach Act 1012 and Executive Instrument (EI) 164, are rather punitive.
“The bar would propose a fine of not less than 10 penalty units and not more than 150 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of not less than one month and not more than two years,” it stated.
The proposed sanctions, according to the association, would be enough to deter people to disobey restrictions imposed by the virtue of the law.
“Much as punishments ought to be meted out to persons who flout and contravene laws, the GBA is concerned with, and finds the punishment imposed in respect of persons who breach Act 1012 and EI 164, harsh,” it stated.
The Act provides, a person who fails to comply with a restriction imposed under the EI 164 be made to pay not more than GH₵12,000 and not less than GH₵6,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.
In the view of the GBA, the sanctions may culminate in the imposition of custodial sentences, and could soon result in prisons in the country being choked.
“The GBA is apprehensive that the prisons which are presently congested, may shortly be teeming with convicts who are unable to pay fines imposed by courts under Section 6 and paragraph 4(2) aforementioned,” the statement noted.
However, the association has also admonished all citizens to adhere strictly to safety protocols and also cooperate in the fight against the COVID-19.
BY: FRANCIS NTOW