General News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017
The office of the Special Prosecutor office will only be as good as a supplement to the already existing bodies charged with the mandate of dealing with matters regarding corruption in the country, this is according to Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson Dafeamekpor.
According to him, the office of the Attorney General which has statutorily been mandated to investigate and prosecute corrupt officials in government has all it takes to carry out its mandate proficiently backed by the state security agencies including the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), as well as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
“Article 88 of our constitution already empowers the Attorney General sufficiently to deal with all manner of corruption cases, and indeed there are other statutory and constitutional bodies that are supposed to deal with corruption cases, we have EOCO, we have CHRAJ, we have the Bureau of National Investigations, we have the Criminal Investigations Department of the police…..all these are statutory and constitutional bodies that already help. We have a whole criminal division headed by the Director of Public Prosecution, and the AG is at the apex. They are supposed to investigate all matters of crime including malfeasance in officialdom.”
He believes therefore that, the establishment of the office of the Special Prosecutor is an unnecessary move that can be done away with.
“For me, the office of the Special Prosecution will not be doing anything special. What I see is that it will rather be another statutory creation, that will help to effectively carry out some of these mandates. I think it will amount to a mere duplication of functions and of duties”, he said.
Stating his expectations from the reading however, Mr. Dafeamekpor indicated that details including the tenure of office, the conditions of service, kind of personnel, who would be the appointing authority of the special prosecutor among others would be expected to feature in the bill.
The issue of establishing the office of a Special Prosecutor under the Akufo-Addo government to oversee cases of corruption and malfeasance in government has been a topic of debate for months. The bill to finalize it is currently before Parliament. While some members are in support of the passage of the bill, others are against the idea.
Prior to the reading of the bill, Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye has cautioned the President to tread cautiously in its creation.
Quoting the 1992 Constitution, Professor Micheal Ocquaye says it is only the Attorney General and Justice Minister that has the prosecutorial powers and any attempt to alter that arrangement must be done in accord with the laws of Ghana.
Article 88 of the 1992 constitution demands that
(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.