…Office Has No Jurisdiction To Investigate Financial And Economic Crimes-Martin Amidu
For those who thought that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) would wade into the controversies surrounding the Power Distribution Service (PDS) concession debacle, the Special Prosecutor (SP), Martin Amidu, has said that it is not within the jurisdiction of his office to investigate and prosecute fraud, and generally financial and economic crimes.
In an article, Mr. Martin Amidu explained that “section 79 of Act 959 severely restricts the jurisdiction of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to fight corruption and corruption-related offences in Ghana unlike in other countries that are fully committed to and adhere to their obligations under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and the ECOWAS Protocol on the Fight against Corruption in their domestic anti-corruption legislation.”
“The ruling of the High Court in the case of the Republic v Ayariga and 1 Other, 17th July 2019, High Court, Accra, underscored the point I have made on the remit of the Office to a limited extent only based on lack of detailed particulars and should be a guide to the public.”
Mr. Amidu’s article is on the back of reports that his office has been petitioned by the Good Governance Advocacy Group Ghana (GGAGG) to probe the PDS debacle over possible fraud in the PDS concession agreement.
Amidu stressed that his office “cannot go outside its remit unless Section 79 of Act 959 which deliberately narrowly defines corruption and corruption-related offences is amended to make it consistent with international conventions on corruption, which Ghana has voluntarily ratified and to which it is a party.”
He also outlined some cases that were beyond his remit like the “alleged commission of offences contained in any draft or final 1999 Forensic Audits of SSNIT reports by an alleged Minister in the Government, the Senior Minister’s Forensic Audit reports, the recent Bank Scandals, and the BOST allegations.”
The PDS concession was suspended on July 30 leading to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Limited temporary resuming power distribution responsibilities in Ghana.
There have been reports of forged documents being involved in the deal and the Government has begun an enquiry into possible lapses in fulfilling some aspects of the deal.
Mr. Amidu also cautioned the general public against wrongly interpreting the jurisdiction and mandate of his office.
He said the “deliberate misperception about the jurisdiction of the Office is one sure way those who fear anti-corruption activism can kill trust in the Office.”
“Such continued misrepresentation of the jurisdiction of the Office to the public is responsible in part for the acceptance by some members of the public that the Office is not meeting the expectations for which reason they advocated for its establishment and the appointment of the Special Prosecutor.”