Benjamin Mensah, GNA
Accra, Nov.9, GNA - A three-member team of investigators was last March dispatched to South Sudan to investigate a matter in which personnel of the Ghana Police have been alleged to engage in sexual misconduct while on mission in South Sudan.
Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister for the Interior, told Parliament in Accra that the outcome of the matter, currently under investigation, would in due time be made available.
His answer was in response to questions by Mr Kwame Governs Agbodza, MP for Adaklu; and Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, on the alleged misconduct by the personnel of the Service.
Mr Agbodza wanted to know from the Minister the circumstances leading to the recall of the Ghana Police Unit on United Nations Missions in South Sudan on sexual misconduct allegation.
Mr Ablakwa asked the Minister whether a statement from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, dated February 24, 2018 alleging that police from Ghana and part of a Formed Police Unit had engaged in sexual exploitation and that had come to the Ministry’s attention and if so, what responsive measures were being taken by the Ministry.
Responding, Mr Dery, who is also the MP for Nandom, said on 23rd February, 2018, the Ghana Police Service received a report of sexual exploitation and abuse against some personnel of the Ghana Formed Police Unit (FPU) 1 Detachment at Wau Protection of Civilian (POC) Camp, South Sudan from the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations.
The Minister said in line with UN practice in such cases, the Detachment of the 46 personnel was immediately withdrawn to Juba, anal the Office of the Internal Oversight Service (OISOS), a UN independent body was commissioned to investigate the allegations.
It was in line with the Ghana Police Service’s commitment in fighting sexual exploitation and abuse related cases in the field mission that the three- member team of investigators were dispatched last March to investigate the matter.
Also, in line with the UN Zero adherence policy to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, the detachment of 46 personnel was repatriated on administrative grounds to Ghana on May 30, 2018.
Mr Dery informed the House that urgent steps were being taken by the Ministry and the Office of the Attorney General to amend the Ghana Police Service Regulations 2017 to include Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, which were not explicitly captured under the current regulations.
To a question by Mr James Agalga, MP for Builsa North and former Deputy Minister for the Interior, whether there were plans to implement the Arms Trade Treaty, which was acceded to and ratified by Parliament in 2015, Mr Dery said the treaty came into force on 22nd March 2018.
However, the implementation of the Treaty required that Ghana put in place certain measures, which included designation of a Competent National Authority, a National Focal Point, a National Control List, and strategies to prevent and address the diversion of conventional arms and to authorised end users, among others
Also, the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty has to be domesticated, under which Ghana would specifically have to adopt a legislation, develop rules and administrative measures for implementation.
“Although there are some laws on arms and ammunition, we need to review our legislation to the UN standard,” Mr Dery said, and added that the Ministry is working on a Cabinet Memo on the matter for submission to Cabinet for approval.
Still on the Interior Ministry, Mr Dery announced that the Ghana Police Service would consider deploying a District Commander to the Builsa South District when adequate facilities were available for the Police to use as a Police District Headquarters.
The announcement came at the back of a question from Dr Clement Apaak, MP for Builsa South, who wanted to know from the Minister when a District Police Commander would be posted to Builsa South to head the Builsa South Divisional Police Headquarters, and what was being done to improve law and order in Builsa South.
The Minister said the District has only one police station at Fumbisi, the District capital.
Apart from the police station, he said there was no office accommodation at any of the communities within the Builsa South District ostensibly for Police to use as a Police District or Divisional Headquarters.
“Mr Speaker, security in general within the Builsa South District is calm apart from petty crime such as stealing of livestock.
“No robbery has been recorded in the District this year,” the Minister said.