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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Very soon a murderer will boldly walk to court and seek an injunction – Kissi Agyebeng –

Special Prosecutor (OSP) Kissi Agyebeng has shared his observations of what he describes as a trend of dismissiveness and regression by some members of the judiciary regarding the work of the OSP.

The OSP then alluded to four instances where the court made worrying pronouncements in favour of suspects being investigated for corruption and corruption-related cases by his office.

“We do not force feed cases; we do not force feed our prosecutions. It is our belief that it is not a matter of us going beyond our mandate but rather a case of hasty dismissiveness and lack of regard because if you take the four cases I tabled out over a period of time spanning from July 2022 to Monday, there is a troubling trend.

“In one of the cases, I said a judge injuncted us from arresting a person. Mind you, we were not in court. We had declared the person wanted as a fugitive from justice, there was absolutely no enquiry as to why we believed that the person was a fugitive from justice so it is not as if we breached the law.

“No one asked us why we declared the person wanted. Then we were served with an injunction order that we cannot arrest the person meanwhile we know that in our law no one has the right not to be arrested. You cannot say you are granting a person a right not to be arrested.

“So when we receive judicial decisions like that it makes us assume that we are being prevented from arresting someone who is a fugitive from justice,” he said.

Speaking during a press conference held in Accra on Wednesday November 29, 2023, Agyebeng asserted that the issue lies with the court’s apparent lack of regard for the investigations rather than any breach of the law on their part.

“No one has the right in Ghana not to be investigated and the statutory power to be investigated for corruption and corruption-related offenses is that of the OSP, so if a judge seeks to injunct or prohibit an investigation, the judge is arrogating the power of the OSP to himself by deciding who should be and who should not be investigated, but it is not the duty of the court to do that.

“Wait let us bring before you the body of our investigation as evidence and if you look at it and you decide that the evidence does not show up to the standard of proof required in criminal cases then you can dismiss it but don’t prevent us from doing our work, from investigating. It is dangerous.

“As I said I wasn’t sounding as a prophet of doom but there is doom looming ahead of us that very soon a murderer will boldly walk to court to seek an injunction,” he said.

Agyebeng’s assertions come in the wake of the dismissal of several requests and applications made by the OSP in its ongoing fight against corruption.

In July 2022, the Accra High Court dismissed the OSP’s request to freeze the assets of the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly known as Sir John, a former CEO of the Forestry Commission. This followed the OSP’s decision to freeze all assets related to Sir John as part of an investigation into the acquisition of state lands and properties specified in his will.

Agyebeng warned of potential dangers if the court continues to injunct or prohibit investigations, suggesting that soon even murderers might boldly seek injunctions to shield themselves from prosecution.

Addressing the challenges, he has faced since assuming the role of Special Prosecutor, Agyebeng highlighted a recent court ruling that prohibited him from continuing an investigation into the Labianca tax case. The court quashed adverse findings made by the OSP against Col. Damoah and one Adu-Kyei, accusing them of wrongdoing in granting tax waivers to Labianca Company, owned by Council of State member Eunice Asomah-Hinneh.

Despite the court ruling, Agyebeng has vowed to pursue the case, expressing concern about the potential bad precedent set by frequent court interference in his work.

ghanaweb.com

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