Former New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary Aspirant for Manhyia North Henry Nana Boakye clashed with the Editor-in-Chief of the Insight newspaper Kwesi Pratt on Tuesday's edition of Peace FM's 'Kokrokoo' programme.
The two panelists expressed varied opinions over the action by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) following an Accra Circuit Court ruling for the Ex-South African Policemen to be granted bail.
The BNI reportedly whisked away the three South African nationals despite the court ruling for them to be bailed.
Lead Counsel for the three men raged over the BNI action and threatened to proceed to court for the BNI to release them but before he could seek the court order, the three men have already been deported to South Africa.
Commenting on the issue on 'Kokrokoo', Kwesi Pratt expressed thoughts that the BNI diversion may have been necessary because reports are that they took the three men to the custody of the Immigration Service.
Deducing from the explanation given by the BNI as their basis for whisking the three men away despite the court ruling, Mr. Pratt said they were also marked to have flouted some immigration laws and so, what the BNI did was to transfer them to the custody of the immigration service.
Having ended his submissions, the former Parliamentary aspirant for Manhyia North slammed the seasoned journalist for addressing the issue in a parochial manner.
According to him, the BNI's action was a blatant disregard of rule of law and democracy.
He stated that the security agency didn't have regard for the court and so wondered why Kwesi Pratt, who championed the rule of law and the rights of individuals, would justify their action.
“What country are we? Are we in a lawless State? So as a senior journalist, I was expecting you [me; Kwasi Boakye] I was expecting you my Uncle to condemn that act because you have fought for rule of law and democracy.”
He described as "irresponsible" the reasons ascribed by the BNI for whisking away the Ex-South African nationals.
“I was expecting you, somebody who has fought for rule of law and democracy, corruption and malpractices; I was expecting you to [number one] to condemn that act. This is a flagrant abuse and disregard for the rule of law. And I was expecting you, senior man, to condemn it in no uncertain terms. Their reason was so irresponsible.”
In a quick riposte to the comments by Nana Boakye, Mr. Pratt denied making any justifications for the BNI.
“I won’t say that. I will never say that. You can’t tell me what to say. That’s your view. Why should that be my view . . . I’m not under any obligation to think like you. I began my journalism career as a court reporter. I haven’t been to the law school like you’re. I began as a court reporter. Several instances, I have witnessed the court releasing people not even on bail. They have been released.”
Mr. Pratt further stated that he has seen the court release people and they have been re-arrested for associated offences immediately after their discharge.
So, to him, what the BNI did was not exclusive to the national security apparatus.
He however added that the BNI is not above the country's laws and so, if any entity so deems the actions of security institution to be distasteful; they can file a contempt suit against the BNI.
“You can’t file contempt against BNI? You can’t file contempt against the immigration and so on? Who says they’re above the law? No institution in this country is above the law," he said.
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