The Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) is the primary legal instrument in the Government of Ghana’s fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic. This piece is a summary of the key provision of the legislation and offers no subject views about the desirability or otherwise of the legislation.
Act 1012 relies on Article 21(4)(c), (d), and (e) of the 1992 Constitution for its constitutionality and validity. Article 21(4)(c), (d), and (e) essentially permits parliament to pass laws to restrict the general rights and freedoms enjoyed under the 1992 Constitution on specific grounds. These grounds include (a) defence of public safety; (b) public health; and (c) running of essential services. The President may also (a) impose restrictions on the movement or residence within Ghana of any person or class of persons; (b) restrict movement in Ghana of a person who is not a citizen; (c) restrict the freedom of entry into Ghana or movement in Ghana, of a person who is not a citizen.
Section 3(2) of Act 1012 provides that the imposition of restriction shall be reasonably justifiable in accordance with the spirit of the constitution. A restriction imposed may not exceed three months; and the President has the power to either shorten or extend the duration of the restriction for not more than one month at a time.
In just the same way that the President has the power to impose restrictions, the President has the power to grant exemptions to any restrictions imposed under Act 1012. A person who breaches a restriction may end up with a fine of between 1000 to 5000 penalty units (i.e. GHS 12,000- GHS 60,000). In addition to that, a person who breaches the restriction may also face a jail sentence between four and ten years.
Click to download a copy of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012).