General News of Thursday, 1 November 2018
A private legal practitioner, Akoto Ampaw believes not enough commitment has been shown by the various bodies in Ghana’s criminal justice system to prosecute corrupt public officials.
He said the structure lacks the transparency to fight corruption.
He expressed these opinions while commenting on the delays in the prosecution of alleged corrupt officials by the Attorney General.
Speaking to host of Citi TV’s current affairs program, The Point of View, Bernard Avle, Mr. Akoto Ampaw said persons within the justice system, who profit from acts corruption within the public service, are hesitant in prosecuting such crimes.
“You [Bernard] touched on a very major political economic challenge and it has to do with in my view whether or not the political elite, those who hold political and economic power, are committed to fighting corruption. You can produce all the evidence but because they themselves are committed to looting state funds, there are not interested in taking action against their fellows, so you find out that it is the poor man or woman who gets prosecuted and this is a huge problem.
“This problem cuts through the power system. So it affects how the Police deal with big people who are faced with allegations of crime. It affects how even our courts in some instances deal with these matters. .The high tolerance of corruption in Ghana is a huge obstacle. We tolerate it because we think it is normal and it is a way of life. If you try to protest against it, they say you are too known.”
Government had earlier indicated that it will soon begin the prosecution of officials in the Mahama administration who have been found to have wasted the public funds with impunity.
Deputy Attorney General, Joseph Kpemka who had disclosed this said the Akufo-Addo government is building cases against such officials and will put them before court in October.
Zero tolerance for corruption
President Akufo-Addo prior to the election promised to fight corruption when elected into office and also promised to set up a Special Prosecutor office to deal with such cases.
Just recently, a group calling itself Coalition of NPP Footsoldiers Against Corruption” called on the AG to prosecute persons indicted in various corruption scandals under the NDC government.
They indicated that after almost two years of the NPP in power, there was very little to show for the numerous corruption cases NPP alleged on the campaign trail in 2016.
They asked the President to order the Attorney General to live up to expectation or sack her and her lieutenants.
Mr. Akoto Ampaw on the show however indicated that it is not the AG’s responsibility to ensure that these persons are prosecuted.
“We all need to understand that the office of the Attorney General is not the same as any other Ministry in the country. There are clear specifications for the appointment to that office so it is totally out of place to order the Attorney General to prosecute these officials.”