The Honourable Lady Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina T. Wood has assured that the Judicial Service will support government’s initiative to enforce provisions of the Law that makes retail business a preserve of Ghanaians.
“We are studying the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act (ACT 865) and will soon dedicate a court to prosecute non-Ghanaians found to engage in retail trade in our markets as well as Ghanaians who may be violating the provisions of the law by conniving with such foreigners”, she said.
The Chief Justice made this disclosure when she met Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry and some Members of the Task Force at her office yesterday, on Monday.
She advised that to ensure speedy trial of offenders, the Ministry of Trade and Industry should put in place a team of prosecutors who will be trained to gather evidence and to also make them abreast of the law. Such specialization would ensure smooth prosecution of offences detailed under the Act in the courts.
Chief Justice Wood pledged the preparedness of the Judicial Service to assist in the training of such prosecutors to enable them to achieve the objectives of the law.
“I can assure you that such mandated Courts will sit on Saturdays if possible to handle and try offenders,” she disclosed.
Dr. Ekwow Spio-Gabrah remarked that Government amended the GIPC Law to protect the retail business, but this is brazenly being flouted.
It has been observed that some non-Ghanaians have taken over the retail business and are depriving Ghanaians of their livelihood in contravention of the GIPC Act. In some cases such operations are carried out with the consent of Ghanaians who front for non-Ghanaians in the market centres.
Following various calls from GUTA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry set up a Task Force to check this act which culminated in a sensitization of non-Ghanaians to the law to ensure that they desist from such practices as they infringe the Laws of Ghana.
Dr. Spio-Garbrah indicated that the exercise will succeed if the Judiciary is also delivering effective justice by applying the Rule of Law to protect the interest of Ghanaians.
He assured the Hon. Chief Justice that the Ministry will continue with its sensitization programme while capacity building for prosecutors is implemented. Therefore barring any hitches, prosecution should start in November.
Hon. Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, however, cautioned Ghanaians who front for these non-Ghanaians to desist from such practices as they are equally liable for prosecution under the law.
Mr. Edward Ashong Lartey, Director of Monitoring and Tracking at the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) in a submission said the GIPC Law does not forbid non-Ghanaians from trading in the country but they are not expected to do petty trading at the designated markets.
He said the Task Force after visiting some markets last Thursday (October 9th, 2014) observed that non-Ghanaians were still operating in our markets in contravention of the GIPC Law. So what can be done now is prosecution by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Mr. Lartey said the GIPC Law entreats non-Ghanaians to trade in Ghana provided they have $1million in goods or cash to be ascertained by Customs clearance forms or certified by the Bank of Ghana.