Minister to push for position of special prosecutor

Gloria AkuffoAttorney-General and Justice Minister designate, Ms Gloria Akuffo

The Attorney-General and Justice Minister designate, Ms Gloria Akuffo, says she will push for the creation of the position of special prosecutor to handle corruption cases in the public service.

She said the creation of the special prosecutor was to ensure transparency and fairness in dealing with corruption cases in the public sector and also take away the perception of hounding political opponents by the government.

Answering questions before the Appointments Committee of Parliament last Saturday, Ms Akuffo said she would push for the enactment of an Act of Parliament to give legal backing to the Office of a Special Prosecutor.

She stressed that the process for the creation of that office would be consistent with the 1992 Constitution.

Ms Akuffo said the functions of the special prosecutor would not, in a way, affect the work of the Minister of Justice, noting that the creation of that position would amount to a delegation of the powers of the Minister of Justice.

She said the special prosecutor would have secure tenure, which would allow the occupant of the position to work even after a change of government.

“The special prosecutor will have security of tenure, so that the term may not coincide with the term of a President. It will be backed by an Act of Parliament that will be consistent with the Constitution,” she said.

The creation of the special prosecutor position is one of the campaign promises of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

Ms Akuffo was a Deputy Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from 2001 to 2005; Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister from 2005 to 2006 and Minister of Aviation from 2006 to 2008, all in the Kufuor administration.

On the signing of questionable contracts by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), Ms Akuffo said the MDAs had legal departments and that they negotiated the contracts and only sent the drafts to the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) office.

She said when her nomination was approved by Parliament, she would ensure that the A-G’s office would be engaged in negotiating very important agreements at the various MDAs.

For instance, she said, a small committee would be formed at the A-G’s office to look at major agreements and lead the process to secure parliamentary approval to avoid any hiccups in the execution of the agreements.

Ms Akuffo affirmed her commitment to review all judgement debt cases on her table.

On how soon she could retrieve the remainder of the judgement debt money from Mr Alfred Woyome, she said judgement had been entered for the refund of the money and that she “cannot make a categorical undertaken”.

She said she would liaise with the Minister of the Interior to ensure the speedy prosecution of cases.

Besides, she said, she would ensure continuous training for prosecutors to improve their work.

Ms Akuffo said the government would look at employment offered by the past government during the transition period to establish whether the right procedures were followed.

He said the government would deal with the issues on a case-by-case basis.

Ms Akuffo admitted that more private universities were offering studies in Law and that many of the LL.B holders found it difficult to qualify for the Ghana School of Law.

She stressed the need for the General Legal Council to liaise with the National Accreditation Board to set the standards high at the various Law faculties.