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08.03.2005 Crime & Punishment

Nominee says life sentence enough for armed robbers

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Accra, March 8, GNA - Mr Joe Ghartey, Deputy Minister-Designate, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General's (A-G), on Tuesday said no one including the State should kill anyone in pursuit of justice since it was only God who had the prerogative to take human life.

The nominee told the Appointments Committee that he did not believe in the death penalty for any type of crime including armed robbery because of the sanctity of life.

On the need for the separation of the A-G's Office from that of the Ministry of Justice to ensure the independence of the A-G's office so that the office was not used to prosecute political enemies, the nominee said the Constitution had guaranteed checks and balances.

He said selective justice and persecution of political opponents by an A-G should not be the basis for the separation of the A-G's office from the Minister of Justice because the courts were there to deliver fair judgements.

On the need to amend the law on causing financial loss to the State, the nominee said it was not necessary since one could only be convicted if the ingredients of wilfulness, malice and fraud were established against the offender.

Mr Ghartey said he would assist in ensuring that delays in prosecuting cases and issues surrounding missing dockets were minimised. On his views about what should be done with petitions brought before the Appointments Committee, the nominee said it would be all right if the Committee brought petitioners before the Committee to be cross-examined.

Dr Charles Brempong-Yeboah, Deputy Minister-Designate, Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment, when he took his turn, said there was the need to bring in private participation to lead in the management of water delivery because of the many challenges facing the sector. He said the World Bank had offered a grant of 103 million dollars to assist in the private sector participation in water supply programme. On youth unemployment, the nominee said in 2001, the Government registered close to a million people and so far, some 350,000 people had been trained in various skills with some receiving micro financing to help them to establish businesses.

He expressed regret that some of those trained had gone back to the streets, where they were picked from, to sell dog chains and urged Ghanaians to discourage street hawking by boycotting products from street hawkers.

On why the NPP Government had so far not delivered on its promises of providing affordable housing to the people, Dr Brempong-Yeboah said there were problems with getting financiers to help in investing in the sector, coupled with the problems of land acquisition among other things.

Madam Anna Nyamekye, Deputy Minister-Designate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, told the Committee that the Ministry was focusing on processing and storage to ensure that post-harvest losses were minimised.

On the issue of providing subsidies for farmers, she said it was a delicate issue and it was for this reasons that farmers were being encouraged to get assistance from the banks.

She, however, said the Ministry was assisting selected farmers with loans on a pilot basis to see how best they would manage such loans. In answer to the question on how the local poultry sector could be assisted to become competitive in the light of challenges posed by imported poultry, Madam Nyamekye said although some sort of taxes were imposed on imported poultry, there were still problems to be tackled. She said there was the need to improve upon the local poultry sector to make those in there to compete favourably.

On the recent outbreaks of the African swine disease, the nominee said what the Ministry did was to call on farmers to bring out animals affected by disease for destruction at a fee so that they would not hide the diseased animals to aggravate the situation. 8 March 05

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