Publish Brobbey report on creation of new regions - Akufo-Addo

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has instructed the Ministry of Information to take steps to publish the 398-page report of the Justice Brobbey Commission that enquired into the creation of six new regions in Ghana in 2018.

The publication of the report, even though not mandatory per the 1992 Constitution, was to help enhance good governance and transparency in the public space, according to President Akufo-Addo.

The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who made this known at a press briefing in Accra yesterday, said the process of creating the new regions was initiated in accordance with Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution, which does not provide for the publication of the report of the Commission of Enquiry.

He said the provision in Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution should not be "confused with Article 278 on commissions which require a mandatory publication of the report of commissions".

He said that notwithstanding, President Akufo-Addo had instructed that "in accordance with his firm views on transparency, the report should be published in full”.

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Minority

The Minority in Parliament had urged the government to publish the report, arguing that would help clarify the commission’s recommendations regarding names for the proposed six regions and those entitled to vote in the referendum.

“There should be nothing secret about a report of this nature and we demand full disclosure in the public interest. It must be opened up to the entire nation to enable us to gain an insight into the thinking of the commission and the constitutionality of its recommendations and to determine whether the Constitutional Instrument laid in Parliament truly reflects the recommendations of the commission," the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, had said at a press conference in November 2018.

Supreme Court

On Wednesday, November 28, 2018, the Supreme Court rejected a suit challenging the constitutionality of the process initiated by President Akufo-Addo on receipt of petitions for the creation of the six new regions.

In a unanimous decision, a seven-member panel of the court upheld the Attorney General’s argument that Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution was “clear, precise and unambiguous’’ and, therefore, did not require any constitutional interpretation by the court.

Directive

Addressing the press yesterday, Mr Oppong Nkrumah read an instruction note President Akufo-Addo had issued to the Ministry of Information, which stated: “...that the dictates of good governance and transparency in the public space of a functioning democracy should lead me to authorise, prior to the planned referenda by the Electoral Commission on December 27, 2018, the publication of the Report of the Commission of Enquiry into the Creation of New Regions”.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said in the coming week, the Ministry of Information, in accordance with the President’s instructions, would publish the report in full on the government’s online portal www.ghana.gov.gh, as well as on government’s social media handles.

He said the report would also be made available at the Ghana Publishing Company for the hard copy purchase.

Copies of the report would also be made available to Parliament and subsequently disseminated across key stakeholder groups nationwide, he added.

Creation of new regions

On August 15, 2017, the Council of State advised President Akufo-Addo to appoint a Commission of Enquiry to look into the need to create six regions and make recommendations on all the factors involved in the creation of the new regions.

The Justice S. A. Brobbey Commission, which was established pursuant to Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution and Constitutional Instrument (CI) 105, commenced work on November 21, 2017.

On June 27, 2018, it presented its report to President Akufo-Addo and recommended the creation of six new administrative regions, namely, Oti, Ahafo, Bono East, Western North, Savannah and North East.

The commission recommended to the President that the referendum be limited to the proposed new regions.

Consequently, the EC has set December 27, 2018 for the referendum.

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