17 June 2016

Intelligence agencies directive lacks clarity – Kwesi Anning

Dr. Kwesi Aning (1), Head of Research, Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping CentreSecurity analyst, Kwesi Anning says a Presidential order that places all intelligence agencies under the Interior Ministry lacks clarity.

Dr Anning says without an express understanding, the directive could create many competing oversight authorities for intelligence in the country.

“Does Military intelligence now report to the [Interior] Minister? And does the research department of the Foreign Affairs Ministry also report to the Interior Minister? Are we also not creating too many competing oversight authorities?” he quizzed on Newsnight on Thursday.

President John Mahama gave an order on Thursday for intelligence agencies to be realigned under the Interior Ministry.

A communication from the President to Parliament said Mr. Prosper Bani’s Ministry will, with immediate effect, take up oversight responsibility for all intelligence agencies in the country.

The Presidential directive, issued on Thursday, was addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho.

“I hereby assign ministerial responsibility for the intelligence agencies [to] the Minister of Interior with immediate effect,” the Speaker read out the order on the floor of the House Thursday.

However, Dr Anning says although Act 526 of the Constitution gives the Presidency the authority to appoint a minister for these agencies, it is important not to create confusion among the heads of the agencies.

“If you remember when the terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso and La Cote d’Ivoire happened, a unit was created at the Presidency under the control of Baba Kamara playing a supervisory role in which all the intelligence and security agencies will pool together their information,” Dr Anning said.

“So how does that unit at the Presidency, supervising the actions of the intelligence and security agencies and now the role of the Interior Ministry work together. Who supervises who? So I think the Presidency will need to get back to us to provide information and clarity so that there is no misunderstandings and competition for power and influence,” he added.

The directive implies that National Security Agency, the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) and the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) will now report to Mr Bani.

Until the directive, EOCO was under the Attorney General’s Department and the FIC, under the Ministry of Finance.

Member of Parliament for Sunyani East, Kwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh, has also warned the directive could compromise the independence of the agencies.

But Mr Anning wants the civil society, Parliament and other stakeholders to interrogate the directive and keep the Interior Minister on his toes so that the agencies don’t become politicised.

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