General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
Law Professor, H. Kwesi Prempeh, has defended the government’s proposed establishment of an Independent Prosecutor’s Office to deal with cases of corruption in the public sector.
“I don’t think the idea itself of an independent prosecutor is at loggerheads with the Constitution,” he said in an interview with Nii Arday Clegg on Morning Starr Monday.
According to him, “what is important is how the statutes that establish, that office is crafted and drafted having regard to the Article 88 (3) of the Constitution…which makes the Attorney General responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecution of criminal offenses.”
He said it cannot be “unconstitutional to contemplate the idea of an independent prosecutor” even though it would take some creative drafting to harmonize the office with the provisions of Article 88 (3).
President Akufo-Addo hinted of the establishment of the office whiles electioneering, stating that it would help fight corruption in the public sector.
“By establishing an office of a special prosecutor or somebody who’ll be independent of the executive and whose remit will be to investigate and tackle issues of corruption,” he said.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice-designate, Gloria Akuffo, said Saturday during her vetting that the office would be established via an Act of Parliament.
However, the minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu was of the opinion that the setting up of the office requires more than an Act of Parliament. He said it cannot be established without modifying Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution.
“…That is my understanding of the law. It belongs to the executive chapter of the constitution which is entrenched, therefore you cannot be seeking to review that through an Act of Parliament… I am certain that Article 88 is entrenched, and not that which can be reviewed simply through a process of an Act of Parliament,” he argued.
He thus pledged that the minority “will subject that proposition to strict legal tests even if it includes examining it and considering a legal pronouncement at the highest level of the Supreme Court on that matter, we will do because we will protect jealously the constitution.”