Attorney-General sued over ‘new powers’ for president on coronavirus fight

The Attorney-General has been dragged to the High Court over the President’s newfound powers, that may allow him to track everyone’s calls and check financial details at will.

Why emergency powers to fight coronavirus?

The President obtained emergency powers after Parliament passed the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) as government battles the coronavirus outbreak after Ghana recorded its first case on March 12.

The President then placed restrictions on public gatherings as the virus spreads through physical contact.

Borders have since been closed while public workers have been largely asked to stay home.

The restrictions have limited the right to education as schools have been closed, the freedom of religion as services at churches and mosques have been suspended for the next four weeks.

Some cultural practices such as funeral and burials have been restricted as only 25 people are allowed to gather for a private burial.

There are also restrictions on freedom of association as conferences, workshops have been suspended while political activities and freedom of expression seen in the holding of rallies and demonstrations have also suffered limitations.

The largest impact of the restrictions is seen in the freedom of movement as Ghana is under a partial lockdown and its borders closed.

What are the emergency powers?

The Executive Instrument 63 derives its powers from Section 100 of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775).

It grants the President wide powers: He or his representatives can “make written requests and issue orders to operators or providers of electronic communication networks or services and require them to intercept communications, provide any user information or otherwise in aid of law enforcement or national security.”

A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof. Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua,  in an article, explained that the EI places, “an obligation on telecommunication companies to put the services of the network provider at the disposal of the state for mass dissemination of information to the public in the case of an emergency, including a public health emergency.”

“They are also obligated to make available all caller and called numbers, merchant codes, roaming files and location log files to the National Communications Authority,” he wrote.

Another legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini has observed the president may be joining the list of leaders using the coronavirus pandemic to become despots.

Why the government has been sued?

A Ghanaian legal practitioner, Francis Kwarteng Arthur, in an application to the High Court, said the President’s emergency powers was an abuse of his fundamental human right, specifically, his right to privacy.

President Nana Akufo-Addo on March 23, 2020, issued an Executive Instrument empowering the government to allow telcos to release certain personal information of their subscribers.

In an era of mobile money technology, it also includes financial details of subscribers.

Since the E.I 63 came into effect, Kelni GVG, a private company with a contract with the government to monitor call data has written to all telcos to make available personal information of subscribers including their mobile money transfer data.

The applicant, who said he uses MTN and Vodafone, said the 1992 constitution protected his personal information with the telcos from being given to third parties “without recourse to law or laid down procedure or without my express permission or consent.”

He said the President’s directives under EI 63 and its implementation violates and were likely to violate his fundamental human right to administrative justice, privacy, equality or non-discrimination.

Francis Arthur wants an order of perpetual injunction to restrain the president and the government from accessing his personal data and also restrain Vodafone and MTN from giving it up.

The applicant is represented by Justice Srem-Sai while a regulator, National Communications Authority and Kelni GVG have been joined in the suit.

  1. Anonymous says

    great. just because corona virus is here, does not mean that govt should turn into a virus that messes us up. Our Prez is good in so many ways, but c19 presents a test of his composure.

  2. Agya Asare says

    This is why the opposition will always have insulting adjectives to the president and the ruling government. Though it is bad today but might be good tomorrow for the opposition to track all stolen monies by NPP and their families and friends. All they need is every other law to stay in power. We’re fighting COVID-19 NPP stop this nonsense

  3. Boadi Boampong says

    From the scriptures in the book of Esther Mordecai never KNEW he was the one to be hang on the rope he set for Harman. let’s see what will happen from the womb of time.

    1. Anonymous says

      It was Haiman not mordecai
      The opposite is correct

    2. Anonymous says

      Pls it’s rather the other way round; Haman didn’t know he wud be the one to be hang on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai.
      You have a good point anyway.

  4. Anonymous says

    What at all does Akufo Addo need in this world? He’s so arrogant now.
    Foolish boy!

    1. Anonymous says

      Never insult an elderly person ok? Thanks

    2. Quame says

      Who’s that foolish boy …. he’s so old and can be your father ok …… how can you insult a responsible man like this if politics isn’t so cheap now Adays….. would you have been able to insult J.J ??? Learn some manners charle !!! I’m not against what you said but insulting the elderly is wrong ….. I’m sure you call yourself a Christian !!!

      1. King p says

        If he is old and doesn’t behave as such what else do you want us to do
        If Akufo Addo didn’t want anyone to insult him he shouldn’t have been into where he is. Every politician is a politician and can be insulted regardless of his age. Even Trump gets it everyday not to talk of this arrogant, tyrant, dictator like Akufo Addo

  5. Anonymous says


  6. Nyerere says

    This fanfaronade behavior of Nana Addo must stop now .What kind of dictatorial attitude is this ,Nana Addo is a shame to entire country . He is more than Idi Amin Dada of Uganda

  7. Owusudacosta1960@g.comKwaku says

    I wonder very much why in the name of politics some people have become so disrespectful and talk anyhow. Instead of contributing to an issue at stake they divert and rain insults to renowned personalities their fathers would bow down to. Brothers and sisters let the holy bible teach us.

  8. Kings says

    This kind of ancient Pharaoh’s enslavement tactics will be crashed in the red sea by the Almighty God. Nana Addo’s time is up. God will free His people.

  9. K O D U A H says

    That, it would or may be useful to National Security is a mega plus. You have nothing to fear if you don’t have human skeletons in your cupboard. Cheers!🍻🍻🍻

  10. Skul Boi says

    This government is digging its own grave. No one can paddle two canoes at the same time. The government must separate CV-19 fight from indulging in private person’s affairs.

    1. Anonymous says

      Correct. True talk

  11. Anonymous says

    The true colour of Akufo Addo is a Tyrant

  12. Joe says

    The true colour of Akufo Addo is a Tyrant

  13. Justice says

    Very soon he will ask for info about our domestic affairs

  14. Anonymous says

    This table he is shaking will soon turn him on it unless of course they stay in power forever. It will go against them 😂
    JM will also be able to hunt his corrupt ministers using this article

  15. Yussif says

    Akuffo Addo as an Attorney General facilitated the draft and expulsion of the criminal libel law. Now most people are not analizing the need for the executive powers. Did the president just got up one day and arrogated the powers to himself and are those powers limited to private data only? Why choose and pick just to make the govt look bad in the face of ordirinary people who can’t do proper analysis of issues?
    Is this legal? Just a waste of time and to try to make himself ( Lawyer Arthur) a ” little popular”. The case is dead on arrival.

  16. Anonymous says

    Just like the Israelis at the time of Moses… nothing can satisfy some peeps

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