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General News of Thursday, 22 July 2021


Appointments Committee unanimously recommends Agyebeng's approval

Kissi Agyebeng,  Special Prosecutor nominee Kissi Agyebeng, Special Prosecutor nominee

Parliament’s Appointments Committee has unanimously recommended the approval of Special Prosecutor nominee Kissi Agyebeng just after his vetting on Thursday, 22 July 2021.

The Chairman of the committee, Mr Joe Osei-Owusu, announced the recommendation.

The plenary will debate the report of the committee at a scheduled time.

“We put our recommendation for the house to determine whether to approve or disapprove our recommendation”, Mr Osei-Owusu said, adding: “As to how other people view his [nominee’s] answers, I’d rather leave it to them and stay within the rules to make recommendations to the house”.

“The committee unanimously agreed to recommend him to the house for approval,” Mr Osei-Owusu said.

During his vetting, Mr Agyebeng has told the committee that he intends to guard his independence jealously in carrying out his mandate in terms of investigating, preventing, prosecuting corruption cases and managing seized, frozen or confiscated properties.

In his view, the relevance of the OSP cannot be overemphasised and, thus, warned: “…The day we scrap this office is the day we say goodbye to our fight against corruption”.

“Its relevance is borne out by its attributes and its uniqueness”, he argued, adding: “It is unique, as compared to all the other law enforcement agencies in respect of its mandate because no other institution has been carefully designed and thought-out to fight corruption specifically as Act 959 has done and Hon Chair, in respect of this, the office of the special prosecutor is the gold standard under the UN convention against corruption and the AU convention on the prevention and combatting of corruption”.

“The international community, including Ghana ratified these conventions in the early 2,000s, I think 2002 if I’m not wrong, that every jurisdiction requires such a specialised agency, it should be made independent with a specialised trained staff to focus on the fight against corruption”, he observed.

According to him, the OSP is relevant because the Attorney General “is a member of cabinet, he’s part of the government. How independent would he be in terms of certain individuals if they were to fall foul of the law if, for instance, they are also members of cabinet or members of the government?”

“But in respect of the OSP, the person manning it, who is not part of the government machinery, who is independent; and Hon Chair, if given the nod, I’m going to guard my independence jealously,” he said.

Mr Agyebeng also admitted to the committee that: “I am not naive to assume that I am coming to stop corruption”, adding: “There’s no way I can stop corruption”.

“God himself will not acclaim to that but I am going to make corruption very costly to engage in”, Mr Agyebeng told the committee.

Mr Agyebeng is the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.

Mr Agyebeng was nominated as Ghana’s second Special Prosecutor following the resignation of Mr Martin Amidu.

Mr Amidu resigned from the position on 15 November 2020 citing interference by President Nana Akufo-Addo in his job.

In a letter to the Presidency, Attorney General Godfred Dame said: “Kissi Agyebeng possesses the requisite expertise on corruption and corruption-related matters and is of high moral character and proven integrity and satisfies all the other requirements stipulated in section 13(1) and (2) of Act 959.”

Section 13(8) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) requires the President to appoint a person qualified for appointment as Special Prosecutor to that position, within six months of the Office of Special Prosecutor becoming vacant.