Madina MP Sosu introduces bill for compensation for the wrongfully arrested

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu has tabled a draft bill before the Speaker of Parliament that seeks to provide a compensation package for persons who are unlawfully arrested, detained, or incarcerated.

The legal proposal by the MP, if passed, is expected to give effect to clauses (5) and (7) of Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution.

The above provisions in the constitution provide that, a person who is unlawfully arrested, restricted or detained by any other person, be entitled to compensation from that other person.

In addition, where a person who has served the whole or a part of his sentence is acquitted on appeal by a court, other than the Supreme Court, the court may certify to the Supreme Court that the person acquitted be paid compensation.

Nonetheless, the human rights lawyer has bemoaned that there are no clear provisions that cater for people who have been wrongfully arrested, detained and or convicted when they seek redress for the wrongs done by the state.

This is contrary to provisions made where penalty units are prescribed by law for specified amounts to be paid as fines for crime (s) committed.

Expressing his concern on the floor of the house, Sosu said that, “[T]he kind of compensation given to them is thus left at the discretion of the court/judge, which sometimes is not satisfactory as compared to the kind of wrong suffered by the person due to the wrongful act committed by actors of the state agencies.”

He further stated that there have been numerous individuals who have been victims of wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, unlawful detention and wrongful conviction.

However, these persons have been unable to access any compensation due to a lack of very clear rules on the type of compensation they could be entitled to because of the wrong done to them.

“It is against this background that I am proposing [through] the Private Member’s Bill to give effect to clauses (5) and (7) of Article 14 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana,” he said in a memo to the Speaker.

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With this proposal, the Madina MP is seeking that the constitutional act provides a formula for calculating compensation units on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

It should also provide the circumstances under which a particular compensation must apply against the already defined areas of compensation.

There is a proposal in the draft bill that requires that the police, military, court, and any other persons involved in the justice delivery system who may be complicit in the violation, be surcharged.

The act, together with other miscellaneous clauses, provide for the sources of the compensation, which will be the consolidated fund.

The lawyer believes that the compensation Act, when implemented would, “Greatly cure the mischief of abuses by security service persons and the general injustice meted to Ghanaians who are alleged to have come in conflict with the law.”

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