General News of Saturday, 29 September 2018
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akuffo appears ‘shocked’ at the supposed ‘outburst’ of Special Prosecutor Martin. A.B.K. Amidu.
Mr. Amidu, a former Attorney General, has been in the news lately for suggesting that appointees of the president in sensitive positions in the government are not cooperating with his office to prosecute corrupt public officials.
However, the AG said as far as her ministry is concerned, “there’s no breakdown in the way the Special Prosecutor’s Office should handle issues and added that all the problems related to the funding of the Office were being addressed by the Chief of Staff.
Mr. Amidu, whose appointment strengthened President Akufo-Addo’s determination to fight corruption, was quoted as saying during a National Audit Forum organised by the Ghana Audit Service that “you ask for information and you can’t get it; you ask for a docket and the docket cannot be produced. You ask a minister for a record and the record cannot be produced. How do you fight corruption when those appointed by the president, who has a vision, are not coordinating with the office of the special prosecutor to achieve his mandate? That is the challenge we have to face.”
Responding to the concerns raised by Mr Amidu, the AG said all the issues raised by Mr. Amidu are being addressed by the Chief of Staff.
“I have held meetings with him (Mr. Amidu) that requires sharing ideas about the goings on in the banking industry; we have shared ideas about how we should go about investigating and prosecuting it, there’s no time that he had sought to speak with me that I haven’t spoken to him,” she told Starr FM in Accra.
On concerns over logistics, the AG said the process of resourcing the Special Prosecutor’s Office is ongoing since all the various procurement procedures must be followed to the letter.
“. . . if you begin to speak like that, it is as though the impression has been created that I have been virulent in my duty to set up that office. I’m saying that’s not the case,” she said.
Later, a deputy Attorney-General, Joseph D. Kpemka, disclosed on Multi TV channel on Joy News that there is already an ongoing process by the government to advance critical funds to the Office of the Special Prosecutor by next week.
He said the swift action is to quell misconception by a section of the public that there is a deliberate attempt to frustrate the work of the Special Prosecutor in the fight against corruption.
“Within this week and next, in terms of financial resources, something will be released. But long-term, as I have spoken about, adequate equipment are supposed to be made available, vehicles are supposed to be procured for the Office,” he said on PM Express on Thursday.
“There was no way that we could suddenly have acquired vehicles and offices and etc. before we went through the processes of passing the (Special Prosecutor’s) Bill into the law; we had to pass it into law then we can start the process of implementing it,” he explained.
Particularly, opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been using Mr. Amidu’s concerns to taunt President Akufo-Addo.
But a deputy Chief of Staff Samuel Abu Jinapor said no individual or political grouping should cry ‘wolf’ if Mr. Amidu’s Office begins to swing into full action.
He said such persons must remain ‘consistent’ and not accuse government of witch-hunting when the Special Prosecutor moves for those suspected to have been involved in corruption.
He said although there have been delays in passing the Legislative Instrument that governs the Office of the Special Prosecutor, the hiccups have nothing to do with the perceived lack of commitment by the government to fight corruption.
He said the draft legislative instrument is ready and would be laid on the floor when Parliament reconvenes.
“It was borne purely out of legal and governance constraints put on us rightly by the Parliament of Ghana,” he said.
He added that before the instrument would be put together, the law required that the Board of the Special Prosecutor’s Office be constituted and a Deputy Special Prosecutor be appointed which have since been done.
Mr. Jinapor said the government is ready to lay the document on the floor of Parliament after overcoming the ‘hurdles.’
He gave an assurance that the Office would be fully functional very soon.