General News of Friday, 28 September 2018
Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has suggested that the fight against corruption cannot be won solely by his appointment as the country’s first independent prosecutor.
According to him, the President’s vision of a successful fight against corruption during his tenure may fall flat without support for his office from other government appointees.
“Whether we succeed or fail depends on the commitment we have as a nation. I have no doubt whatsoever that the President of the Republic would wish to leave the success of the fight against corruption as one of his legacies in office. The problem is that his vision might not be shared by his appointees.
“So as much as he may want it, as much as he may appoint me, hoping that my personality and reputation may help solve the problem, when his appointees do not cooperate and coordinate with us, it cannot happen. ”
Martin Amidu added that in spite of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s desire to see corruption in the country tackled, the attitudes of some of his appointees may derail those plans.
Speaking at the National Audit Forum organised by the Ghana Audit Service, Mr Amidu spoke of his frustrations in dealing with state officials who refuse to supply him with the information required for his work, even in spite of interventions by the President personally.
“The present situation where critical Ministries and agencies have failed or refused to produce public records on demand to aid the Office in critical investigations of offences running into millions of cedis clearly demonstrates that there’s a diversion between the President’s vision and that of some of his appointees. Anytime I speak with the President, he wants to do what I want to do, he’s called officers and told them that this is his flagship project and told them to assist me.
“However, when you ask for information, you can’t get it, you ask for a docket, the docket can’t be produced, you ask a Minister for records, the records cannot be produced. How do you fight corruption when those appointed by a President who has a vision are not coordinating with the office of the Special Prosecutor to achieve his mandate?”
Martin Amidu also expressed concerns that seven months since his Office was established, it has not been fully resourced in order for him to carry out his mandate.
He warned that the office will not be able to fully discharge its duties if the situation is not addressed soon.
“With the establishment of the Office of Special Prosecution, Ghanaians thought that by passing the Act and appointing a former anti-corruption advocate as the Special Prosecutor, the fight against corruption had been won. But you can’t win the fight against corruption by the appointment of one person. You need to establish an office and that office must have all the components of division.
“The investigators, the prosecutors, the assets recovery personnel and the corruption prevention personnel must be in place. I have been in office for seven months, there is no legislation for me to recruit, there’s no legislation for me to operate, I don’t have the [full] component of staff.”
Parliament passed a law in November in 2017 to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialized agency to investigate specific cases of corruption, involving public officers and individuals in the private sector implicated in corrupt practices.
‘Resource special prosecutor’
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA), earlier called on government to as a matter of urgency, resource the office of the special prosecutor to carry out its mandate of fighting corruption and prosecuting corrupt officials.
Whilst commending government on the establishment of the office and the subsequent appointment of Mr. Martin Amidu at the Ghana bar association’s annual general conference in Koforidua, Mr. Benson Nutsupkui, the president of GBA also asked government to resource other anti-corruption institutions such as the ministry of justice, EOCO, CHRAJ and among others.
“We commend government on the appointment of the special prosecutor to fight corruption. To make his office meaningful however, we call on the government to adequately resource the office of the special prosecutor as well as the other anti-corruption institutions which already exist, and indeed the ministry of justice and the office of the attorney general,” he added.
Special Prosecutor office will be resourced soon – AG
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, in March 2018 indicated that some administrative arrangements were underway to equip the office of the special prosecutor with the requisite resources.
A citi news report filed a month after the Special Prosecutor was officially sworn-in, revealed that the office is incomplete.
Martin Amidu was sworn in by President Nana Akufo-Addo as Ghana’s first special prosecutor in February 2018.