Member of Parliament for Builsa North and Minority Spokesperson on Defence and Interior, Mr. James Agalga, has called for the passage of the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill (Spy Bill), to ensure voice tracking of criminals through telephone conversation.
His call comes on the back of the recent kidnapping situation in some parts of the Western and Volta regions.
Speaking to ghanajustice.com in an interview in Parliament, Mr. Agalga pointed out that one of the ways the Ghana Police Service can effectively deal with criminal activities in the country is the ability to lawfully intercept telecommunications of suspected criminals.
Mr. Agalga indicated that the Western Region kidnappers were in constant communication with the victims via mobile phone according to the Ghana Police Service police.
The Builsa North MP who doubles as the Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Interior added that if the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill was passed, there would have been a lawful interception of communication of the kidnappers, to indicate their locations.
“The Spy Bill as it is called, when passed, will grant access to security agencies to listen in on private conversations of Ghanaians with the intention of safeguarding the security of the State and fighting crime”, he explained.
The Spy Bill and the journey so far
The Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill (Spy Bill) was laid in Parliament on February 3, 2016.
Due to several objections raised by some MPs and a section of the public including the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), the Bill was withdrawn from the House on July, 2016 and a newly drafted one was relaid.
It was subsequently referred to the Committee on Defence and Interior of Parliament for Consideration and report to the Plenary.
However, the Spy Bill was never passed before the dissolution of the sixth Parliament and efforts in passing it have since remained a mirage.
The Bill is to allow the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of police service, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), among other security agencies in the country, to listen to the private conversations of citizens for the purposes of fighting crime.