A-G’s Department needs empowerment, not separation – Prof Attafuah

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    Criminologist Prof Ken Attafuah says decoupling the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice would not solve the problem of political bias, rather a strengthening of the prosecutors’ office will best fix the challenge.
    Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Prof Attafuah said he was not convinced that the AG’s Department and the Ministry of Justice needed a separation of powers because as long as an AG is appointed by the president, the appointee will continue to remain politically biased.
    “I do not think it necessarily will if that individual is appointed by a president …as long as he [the AG] remains an appointee of the president and an advisor to cabinet and all of those kinds of things, then those problems [bias of the AG] will endure,” he surmised.
    Prof Attafuah stated that the constitutional amendment to ensure the decoupling process, which is currently underway, may not see the light of day.
    According to him, it takes about five years to complete such a process and by that time, if a new government uninterested in the amendment is elected into office, such plans would be eventually aborted.
    To him, the most important issue is strengthening the prosecutors’ office of the police service in order to better equip them with the requisite skill and knowledge to deal aptly with cases.
    Another seasoned lawyer, Yonny Kulendi, who was also on the programme agreed with Prof Attafuah to a large extent but added that political bias does not necessarily impede the works of the A-G.
    He said the problem culminated from “partisan political abuse” and the solution was for the A-G to act with a sense of integrity.
    However, Ace Ankomah, another reputable lawyer who was also on the programme differed in opinion, insisting that decoupling the A-G’s Department was the ultimate solution.
    According to him, even if a person of high integrity is appointed as the A-G it will boil down to the same issue of bias because of the absence of a law to empower and protect that individual.
    He said he has no problem if the name is not changed but believes the power of the Minister of Justice to prosecute cases should be delegated to another individual.
    Story by Fidel Amoah