General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Johnson Asiedu Nketia has welcomes the passage of the Special Prosecutor’s Bill by Parliament but says the process of appointment and the person who will emerge as the Special Prosecutor will determine whether or not the person will be independent.
According to the NDC Chief Scribe, inasmuch as the theory behind the establishment of office of the Special Prosecutor is good in the fight against corruption, the activities may be problematic if people doubt the independency of the prosecutor.
Speaking on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ Morning Show, General Mosquito as popularly called added that the Special Prosecutor must be seen to be independent.
“The process of appointment and the person who will emerge as the Special Prosecutor will give indication whether or not the person will be independent. Again, how the person will operate will also show whether or not he/she will be independent,” he stated.
“The appointment may not be difficult but the most challenging aspect of it is to get legitimacy in the eyes of the ordinary Ghanaian; they must have faith in the Special Prosecutor and the office. This is a major task for Ghanaians to know and feel that prosecution work will be done diligently and if this is done, then the office of the Special Prosecutor will be a good thing,” he stressed.
He mentioned that there must also be separation between the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice in order that the prosecutorial power which is used to deal with corrupt officials will be given to office of the Special Prosecutor to handle those who have stolen from the country.
“When the time comes for the person to deal with corrupt officials, he will have the independent power and mind to handle all cases without interference from any Cabinet minister and also not fall under the presidency to control the actions of the Special Prosecutor,” he indicated.
Parliament has therefore taken a giant step on Tuesday towards the fight against corruption with the passage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017. That was after the amendment of about 110 clauses to the Bill by the legislators.
The object of the Bill is to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, politically exposed persons, and persons in the private sector involved in corruption and to prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney-General.
Sufficient provisions have been made in the Bill for the appointment of a highly competent person as the Special Prosecutor.
The establishment of the Office of a Special Prosecutor is one of the key campaign promises of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated severally that the establishment of an effective and operationally independent Special Prosecutor would effectively contribute to ongoing efforts at combating corruption.