It is “very depressing” that Attorney General Godfred Dame is defending the extrajudicial burning of galamsey excavators, private legal practitioner Tsatsu Tsikata has said.
Mr Dame told Accra-based Citi TV that “the principle we are operating with is that no right accrues to a person who is engaged in an illegality, and that is a principle recognised by the laws of Ghana”.
He also told Accra-based Joy News: “I find it – with all due respect – a little bit reprehensible, when people, instead of ensuring that government leaves no stone unturned in its efforts to bring to a halt this menace, are rather advocating the recognition of some non-existent rights of persons engaged in the act”.
However, during a discussion with students of the Faculty of Law of Central University College, Mr Tsikata took issue with the AG’s comments.
“That is nonsense”, he said, stressing: “That is nonsense because you don’t fight illegality with illegality”.
“The government, particularly, has to show respect for the law”, Mr Tsikata noted.
“You don’t presume people guilty before you’ve gone through any process”, he said.
“You go to an area and you have determined that they are doing galamsey and that these excavators were for galamsey. I mean, what process is that? What kind of legal process is that?” he wondered.
“And then you just burn them”.
“There is no provision in any law of this country that allows the government to do that”, he argued.
He said: “And, you know, for me, it is very depressing when an Attorney General is the one defending brazen illegality”.
“It’s depressing because it does not accord with anything that I have learned as a student of law, it does not accord with anything that I’ve taught as a teacher of law”, he said.
Mr Tsikata said: “Maybe, one of these days, I need to sit with the Attorney General and ask him just to clarify exactly how he thinks that the burning of excavators without any notice to the people, without any process that determines that burning them is a legally appropriate sanction” is the way to go.