Minority’s move to block laying of Special Prosecutor bill foiled

A feisty attempt by the Minority to block the laying of the bill on the Office of the Special prosecutor has been foiled.

A former Deputy Attorney General and MP for Bolga East, Dominic Ayini argued the bill was unfit to be laid because due process had not been followed.

According to him, the basic requirement for such a bill to be laid was for it to be gazetted in the Ghana Publishing Company, 14 days before it is brought to the floor of the house.

The Minority had early on questioned why it was the Deputy Attorney General Joseph Kpemkpa who was in Parliament to lay the bill and not the Attorney General herself.

The bill as read by Kpemkpa was for the establishment of the Special Prosecutor’s Office which will become a specialized Agency with powers and authority of the Attorney General to investigate cases of corruption and prosecute public and private officers implicated in corrupt activities.

But the Minority insisted the procedure used in laying the bill was illegal, a position the Majority side of the house vehemently disagreed with.

Arguing strenuously for the Majority was its leader Osei Kyei Mensah who justified why the bill was not gazetted for 14 days.

He insisted the bill had come before the House under a certificate of urgency for which reason the strict 14-day rule will not apply.

The Speaker Prof Mike Aaron Ocquaye agreed with the Majority Leader and ruled for the laying of the Bill.

If the arguments during the pre-laying stage is anything to go by, then the House will be on fire in the coming days because tongues and wits have been sharpened for a more feisty arguments on a bill that has been controversial from its very conception.

Critics have challenged the legality and the necessity to create an office of a Special Prosecutor when Article 88 of the Constitution is explicit that prosecution can only be done by the Attorney General.

Then in opposition, Nana Akufo-Addo who is now president, promised to set up the independent office to handle all prosecutions in order put an end to the perception of witch hunting of past government officials.

To fulfil the promise, the government has put together a Bill to be passed by Parliament to legalize the office.

A good number of Minority members are against the Bill and will soon make their positions known when the issue is opened for a debate on the floor.

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