President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

A communication from the President to Parliament said the Interior Ministry would, with immediate effect, take up oversight responsibility for all intelligence agencies in the country.

President John Dramani Mahama
President John Dramani Mahama

The communication, read by the Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho, on the floor on Thursday, said: “In accordance with section 17 of the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act 1996, I hereby assign ministerial responsibilities for the intelligence agencies to the Minister of the Interior with immediate effect.”

The directive, however, did not go down well with some members of Parliament.

Mr Kwasi Ameyaw Kyeremeh, MP for Sunyani East, said the directive could compromise the independence of the agencies.

“It has the potential to create confusion in the system. If you look at the Security and Intelligence Act, the President has the power to name a minister to be in-charge of intelligence and security, so if the President is assigning the responsibility to the Minister of Interior, it means that the National Security Co-ordinator is answerable to the Minister of Interior,” he said.

Mr Kyeremeh said the directive was likely to muddy existing security protocols.

He said he could interpret the new directive to mean that when any of the intelligence agencies prepared their budget estimates, the Interior Ministry must know and make an input.

“But for security budget, when the intelligence agencies are implementing it, they will be reporting to the President,” he said.

He asked that a better explanation was given on the directive to prevent any form of confusion.

“Previously they were all reporting to different ministries but now they all have to report to the Interior Ministry. This will create some confusion,” he said.

He also questioned the motive behind the directive arguing that its closeness to the November 7 election raises eyebrows; “I hope it is not because of the upcoming elections that these changes have been made,” he said.

The directive would imply that the National Security Agency, the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) and the Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) will now report to the Minister of the Interior.

Until the directive, EOCO was under the Attorney General’s Department and the FIC was under the Ministry of Finance.

By Benjamin Mensah

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