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12.10.2004 General News

"I hope NRC Report would assist put governance in Ghana on a high

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pedestal"-President Kufuor

Accra, Oct.12, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday observed that the Report submitted by the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) would assist to put the nation on a high pedestal in terms of quality in governance.

"We believe the results of your work will help put our nation on a high pedestal in terms of the quality of governance. People privileged to assume position of high office will become conscious of their position and when put under the microscope will make them serve the people better."

President Kufuor made the observation when he received copies of the NRC Report at the Castle, Osu.

The Report in five volumes included the Executive Summary, Summaries on Petitions and Findings, Reforms necessary to make Ghana a better place to live in, Records of Findings of Institutions and Records of Proceedings on a CD ROM.

The Commission, which ended its 18-month public and in-camera hearings in Accra on Tuesday, July 13, was expected to submit its report to the Government within three months.

It started hearings on Tuesday, January 14 last year, received 4,311 petitions, and listed 2,129 for hearing.

The Commission also heard 79 respondents, who testified in respect of human rights violations charges made against them.

Some admitted the allegations made against them and apologised and asked for forgiveness.

President Kufuor said the exercise by the Commission the first of its kind in Ghana would for a very long time establish a firm line between the past that entertained some rather very regrettable part of the nation's teething problems.

He said it would also mark a very long future of democracy based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, fellow feeling and confidence in the nation's body politic.

President Kufuor said deliberations at the Commission was not easy because not all the people, who appeared before them co-operated with them, unfair comments were heaped on their integrity as a whole and on some members of the Commission but they were unperturbed.

"In spite of all these adverse actions to derail your work, we appreciate the determination with which you worked and within a short period of time accomplish an assignment that should have taken much longer time.

"With the sort of people and the quality of ability you did the work to the best of your ability to come out with a Report that will stand the test of time", he said.

President Kufuor said the Government would peruse the Report before it could come out with any decision.

He said although the Government might not accept all the recommendations made in the Report, as much as possible it would endeavour to agree with the recommendation for reparations.

President Kufuor said the Commission was not a prosecuting or a persecuting body, it was to find the truth, heal wounds and reconcile the people.

He said, even though, people could not forget the trauma and hardships they went through; appeals could be made to them to forgive if the offenders showed remorse and where such remorse was well placed, the victims would readily accept to forgive.

"Those who will show impunity, Government will not run after them to pursue further but allow them to live with their own conscience and history."

President Kufuor appealed to victims of such offenders to exercise patience and restraint because destiny had its own way to attract justice on the painful past as Ghanaians looked forward with the hope to live under good governance.

Mr Justice Kweku Etru Amua-Sekyi, a Retired Supreme Court Judge and Chairman of the Commission, in presenting the Report said it had recommended reparation for about 3,000 petitioners for their trials and the tribulations they endured during the periods of dictatorship in Ghana.

He said the Commission also examined some institutions and the roles they played in such dictatorship.

"We are honoured and proud for the opportunity to serve our nation in such a worthy cause", he said.

The nine-member Commission was established to seek and promote national reconciliation among Ghanaians.

It was to establish accurate, complete and historical record of violations and abuses of human rights inflicted on persons by public institutions and holders of public office or persons purporting to have acted on behalf of the State during periods of unconstitutional governments.

The periods were from February 24, 1966 to August 21, 1969; January 13, 1972 to September 23 1979; and December 31, 1981 to January 6 1993. The Commission was to make recommendations to President Kufuor for redress of wrongs committed within the specified periods.

Notwithstanding, the periods specified, the Commission was on an application by any person, to pursue the object set out in respect of any other period between March 6, 1957 and January 6, 1993.

Other members of the Commission were: Bishop Charles Palmer-Buckle, Catholic Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese, Maulvi Wahab Adam, Ameer and Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Ghana, Professor Abena Dolphyne, Former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon and Professor (Mrs) Henerietta Mensa-Bonsu of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon.

The rest were: Dr Sylvia Boye, former Registrar of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mr Christian Appiah Agyei, former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), General Emmanuel A. Erskine, former Commander of UNIFIL and Uborr Dalafu Labal II, Paramount Chief of Sangule.

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