A private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu has described as harsh the punishment for people who fail to wear nose mask in public.
He has therefore called on President Akufo-Addo to relook at the punishment for such persons.
A new Executive Instrument (E.I. 164) signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on June 15, 2020, as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID -19) has made it that people who fail to wear face masks in public would be committing an offence that carries a prison sentence of four to 10 years or a fine of GH¢12,000 to GH¢60,000, or both.
The E.I. was issued by the President pursuant to the powers granted him under the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012). Per E.I. 164, which was gazetted on Monday, June 15, and sighted by Graphic Online, the mandatory wearing of face masks shall be in force for three months and shall apply to all parts of Ghana.
Speaking on Accra-base Joy FM on Friday morning, June 19, 2020, Mr Kpebu said many Ghanaians earn very low incomes and therefore wondered why offenders should be charged that much.
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“Failure to wear a mask cannot attract a fine of GH¢4,000 in Ghana here. What are their income levels?” he asked, adding “Let’s do something about this; otherwise it just going to be a mockery and it will bring chaos.”
According to him, it appeared people around the President were not telling him what’s Ghanaians were complaining about “because this is a mockery.”
He was of the view that since many university graduates were paid GH¢750 a month, it would not be right to charge first time offenders more than GH¢750.
Mr Kpebu wondered where people would get money to buy food and other things after they had paid such fines.
He said there was the need to educate people more about the need to wear the nose mask, saying “there is the need for more education for everybody to understand the essence of nose mask wearing.”
He noted that the punishment was not workable and that prisons were already full and there was no need sending more people to the prisons.