The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has described as harsh the punishment to be meted out to persons who flout the COVID-19 safety protocols by refusing to wear face masks in public.
As part of measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID -19) and under the Executive Instrument (E.I. 164) in the Imposition of Restrictions Act 2020 (ACT 1012), it is an offence to refuse to wear a face mask in public.
The punishment is a prison sentence of four to 10 years or a fine of GH¢12,000 to GH¢60,000 or both.
The E.I. was issued by the President pursuant to the powers granted him under the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012). Per E.I. 164, the mandatory wearing of face masks shall be in force for three months and shall apply to all parts of Ghana.
The GBA in a statement dated June 30, 2020, signed and issued by its National President, Anthony Forson Jnr and National Secretary, Yaw Acheampong Boafo said “much as punishments ought to be meted out to persons who flout and contravene laws, the GBA is concerned with and finds the punishment imposed in respect of persons who breach Act 1012 and EI 164, harsh.
“The GBA suggested that the punishment should be mitigated, and proposed a fine of not less than ten penalty units and not more than one hundred and fifty penalty units.
For the term of imprisonment, the association suggested an imprisonment term of not less than one month and not more than two years.
Meanwhile, the association says it was crucial for all citizens and residents to abide by the provisions of all legislations and in particular those that have been enacted to ensure public safety and health in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.