General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
The Minority in Parliament has served notice it may challenge the legality of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s proposed Independent Prosecutor’s office.
Speaking to Citi News, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said this action could involve his side going to the Supreme Court.
This followed the Attorney General-nominee, Gloria Akuffo’s assertion that the Independent Prosecutor’s office would be established via an Act of Parliament during her vetting by Parliament on Saturday.
The person to hold the office would be nominated by the President and would be acting on behalf of the Attorney General with a focus on public corruption, as a means to restore confidence in the department, Ms. Akuffo explained to the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
Mr. Iddrisu however explained that, his side of parliament believes the establishment of a special prosecutor’s office required much more than an Act of Parliament.
Mr. Iddrisu insisted that, the Special Prosecutor’s office could not be established without tinkering with Article 88 of the constitution, which deals with the role of the Attorney-General.
“…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 explained.
The Minority leader thus said, they “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.”
What Article 88 of the Constitution says
(1) There shall be an Attorney-General of Ghana who shall be a Minister of State and the principal legal adviser to the Government.
(2) The Attorney-General shall discharge such other duties of a legal nature as may be referred or assigned to him by the President, or imposed on him by this Constitution or any other law.
(3) The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences.
(4) All offences prosecuted in the name of the Republic of Ghana shall be at the suit of the Attorney-General or any other person authorised by him in accordance with the law.
(5) The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the institution and conduct of all civil cases on behalf of the State; and all civil proceedings against the State shall be instituted against the Attorney-General as defendant.
(6) The Attorney-General shall have audience in all courts in Ghana.