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30 June 2016

Spy Bill withdrawn from Parliament

Lawmakers meet during a session of Parliament in Accra, Ghana, June 16, 2006. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst)

Lawmakers meet during a session of Parliament in Accra, Ghana, June 16, 2006. (Photo by Jonathan E

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Government has taken back the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill (Spy Bill) from parliament.

The latest move ends current discussions on the bill in parliament until a refined bill is submitted, Class FM’s parliamentary correspondent, Ekow Annan, reported on Thursday June 30.

Deputy Minister for the Interior, James Agalga, indicated to the house that after careful consideration of concerns raised by stakeholders, it was concluded that the bill, in its present form, would not address what it was intended for, which was to allow National Security to monitor and intercept calls to fight crime.

A motion to that effect was accepted by the Speaker of parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho.

Government plans to re-submit the bill after broader consultations, in order to come up with a bill which will be accepted by all.

Critics have stated that the bill, had it been passed into law, would have empowered state security agencies to eavesdrop on phone conversations and intercept text messages of citizens.

Some individuals and groups in Ghana, including the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Imani Ghana, pressure group OccupyGhana, flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Nana Akufo-Addo, former President J.A Kufuor, former Attorney General Martin Amidu, as well as the Ghana Bar Association, kicked against the bill, fearing government will exploit it to spy on Ghanaians.

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