Punitive laws needed to tackle vandalism — Speaker
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, has called for a revision of the country's laws to severely punish persons who destroy state facilities that affect the economy.
He said such crimes, which he described as economic crimes, did not attract a harsh sentencing regime since the consideration had been on the items stolen or destroyed but not the effect of the acts on the economy.
Prof. Oquaye made the call following the presentation of a statement on the recent damage of power transmission pylons belonging to the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) by some unknown persons.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Tarkwa-Nsuaem, Mr George Mireku Duker, read the statement last Friday, with some members from both sides of the House contributing and urged the security agencies to investigate and arrest the culprits.
The people hacked down one of the high voltage transmission pylons belonging to GRIDCo within the Tema enclave on Monday, March 25, 2019.
The pylon fell on an adjacent tower in the process.
According to GRIDCo, the damaged tower formed part of the transmission chain that transmitted power from Karpower, VRA and AKSA to the national grid.
The situation resulted in power interruptions to parts of Greater Accra, including Dansoman, Kasoa, Swan Lake and parts of the Western and Ashanti regions.
Prof. Oquaye said unless the laws were reviewed for perpetrators of economic crimes to be made to face the full rigours of the law, MPs would continue to make statements upon statements on such issues without any concrete results.
He, therefore, tasked legislators to consider reviewing the laws to deal with the perpetrators of economic crimes more decisively.
Prof. Oquaye said it was about time Parliament constituted a committee to consider such a legislation to deter people from committing such crimes.
"Offences that underpin our economy, that affect us all will be dealt with in a special manner. We should have a law that bites you no matter your affiliation.
In his statement, Mr Duker said the intention to cause pandemonium in the country was a cause for worry as the same incidents had been happening in other jurisdictions.
For instance, he said, on March 8, 2019, the people of Venezuela were shocked to the marrow, when saboteurs waged an “Electrical War” to cut out power supply.
Again, he said, on November 22, 2015, the Russian government announced a state of emergency in the disputed Crimean Peninsula after power to the region was suddenly cut in an apparent act of sabotage.
"Ghana could be a target if local perpetrators form a cartel with some of these groups.
Taking what transpired within the Tema enclave, the saboteurs destroyed bolts and nuts of the pylon at its base, while a substance believed to be corrosive, allegedly used for the damage, was also seen at the scene.
This unfortunate development must be condemned by all well-meaning Ghanaians irrespective of our party affiliation because it was an attack on the integrity of this nation", he said.
Mr Duker urged security agencies to intensify their investigation into the matter "in order to bring perpetrators of this criminal action to book."
He asked people, especially those living in and around Tema, Dawhenya, Aflenya, Kpone, Ashaiman and Prampram to volunteer information on suspected individuals to the police to aid investigations.
Mr Duker said GRIDCo had estimated to spend $100,000 to replace the two pylons that were destroyed as a result of the havoc.
Contributing to the statement, the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said there was the need for the security agencies to intensify investigations to arrest the perpetrators.
He reminded the public of their responsibility to discourage the perpetration of "such havoc to the nation."
The Deputy Minority Whip, Mr Ahmed Ibrahim, also added his voice to the call for the security agencies to investigate the matter to bring clarity as to the nature and motive of the perpetrators.