Commissions of inquiry have been criticized for several reasons: for being unfair to the persons who are the subject of unfavourable comment, made during public hearings or in the commission’s report; for costing too much; and for taking too long. These concerns normally outweigh the benefits.
The recommendations arising from these commissions, coming from an independent and impartial source, will not only assist the government in taking remedial action but will tend to restore public confidence in the industry or process being reviewed. Presently there are four on-going commissions, the fifth; the Faraba commission has just wrapped up and delivered its findings to the President. Unlike the Constitutional Review Commission; the CRC all the other commissions are looking at graft as it affects the state as in the case of the Janneh Commission which is costing the government an excess of 1 million Dalasi monthly. In the area of human rights we have the TRRC, the Lands Commission, and the CRC.
Now that the Faraba Commission has delivered its findings, President Barrow need not waste time in effecting the recommendations of the commission without fear or favour. People just lost their lives and their families expect that justice will be done for the common good.
In conclusion, the duration and cost of public inquiries are arguments for limiting their use, but not for abandoning them altogether. It is difficult to justify a public inquiry where the sole aim is to allow people to air their grievances, but the twin objectives of learning for the future and restoring public confidence provide grounds for their use in certain circumstances.