Chiefs cannot arrogate power to themselves to punish crime – Lawyer

The power to banish persons from their place of habitation has not been prescribed in the country’s constitution,a private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Anyenini has said.

According to him, chiefs in Ghana cannot arrogate to themselves the power to create a crime and punish for same.

He was speaking on Joy FM’s Ghana Connect Friday evening to a recent warning issued by the Chief of Tamale, Dakpema, who angrily called for the banishment of some young women involved in a leaked sex tape in Tamale.

He noted “It is not a power that exists in a constitutional democracy like ours. It does not exist.”

Going further, Mr. Anyenini said “even if it is a crime, that is within the purview of the Attorney General under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution to determine what happens and that power we know is delegated or vested in other officers like the police.”

“I am sorry, what they are talking about is unavailable to them.”

The chief had said that the women’s shameful act could corrupt the youth of the area, hence the decision to banish them to serve as a deterrent to others.

Photos and videos of the women, in explicit sexual positions with a young man, Khamil, went viral in the Northern regional capital recently, causing several of them (women) who were involved to flee the Tamale Metropolis to avoid disgrace.

The ladies were said to be working with reputable organizations in the region.

Mr. Anyenini continued that the constitution clearly states that nothing is a crime unless provision has been made for that in the law and the punishment thereof.

In plain legal terms, Mr. Anyenini pointed out that tradition and religion are subservient and subject to the laws of the country.

“Unless to the extent that a particular custom or tradition is recognized and endorsed by the laws of this country or such a religious belief is so endorsed. Even your moral codes are all subservient and subject to the laws of this country,” he mentioned.

Samson Anyenini
Circulating photos a crime
Meanwhile, Mr. Anyenini said circulating the pornographic photos and videos was in itself a crime under the law.

“Those who are in possession of the photographs and are circulating them; they are in the first, committing a crime. According to our criminal law, in section 280 and 281 thereof, circulating obscene material is a misdemeanor and it is punishable by law,” he explained.

The Tamale police are investigating a theft case following allegations by Khamil – the boy who video-taped the ladies – that his hard disc on which the photos were stored had been stolen.

According to Khamil, the photos and videos were meant for his “private viewing”.

But Mr. Anyenini said instead of concentrating on finding the one who stole the hard disc, they “should be interested in the circulation of this obscene pornographic material which the law clearly outlaws”.

He was of the view that trying to crack the stolen hard disc case could prove impossible.

Mr. Anyenini added that the exposed obscene photos and videos provided “a ground for successful grant of divorce” for husbands of the ladies involved.

“I am sorry that’s adultery”, he stressed.
“The guy who is involved in the case, [Khamil] I am sorry I think he cannot avail himself of the protection of the law”, Mr. Anyenini noted.

Click on attached audio below to listen to the entire programme.

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