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General News of Thursday, 16 August 2018


Special Prosecutor awaits more investigators to pursue Frances, others

The Special Prosecutor’s Office says it is awaiting the recruitment of investigators to probe allegations of corruption forwarded to the office, including one against the CEO of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company, Frances Essiam.

A former accountant at the company, Julius Opuni Asamoah, in a letter to the Special Prosecutor, alleged that he was dismissed after he refused to approve 400 LPG cylinders for a board member as protocol.

He also listed a number of transactions allegedly conducted by Madam Essiam which contravened the Public Procurement Act.

In a response, the Special Prosecutor Office said it will commence investigations into the allegations as soon as it gets the full complement of its supporting staff.

CEO, Board in tussle

There has been unrest at the company over the CEO’s disregard for some directives issued by the company’s Board.

The Board had queried Madam Essiam over claims that she had mismanaged GCMC, and also awarded some contracts without the approval of the Board or the Energy Ministry, with the discord eventually leading to their vote for her suspension.

But just when Madam Essiam defied the suspension which was approved by six of the nine board members and insisted she was still at post, the Executive Secretary of the State Enterprises Commission, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, insisted that Madam Essiam remained at post.

Subsequently, a three-member independent committee was set up by the Energy Ministry in collaboration with the State Enterprises Commission [SEC], to probe the allegations and the disagreement with the Board.

However, Adam Mutawakilu described the setting up of the Committee as another attempt to cover up the ‘rot’ at the company, which he says has been the case in a number of other scandals under the current government.

We’ll investigate ‘serious cases’ , not hearsay – Amidu

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, recently said that his office will only prosecute serious cases of alleged corruption due to the limited resources available to his office.

He was however quick to add that his office will not spare corrupt officials since it will devise measures to deal with minor offenses.

“I can assure you that every petition that has come to this office since I assumed office had been responded to. There are however some people who will just read the news and say ‘this person said this, investigate it’…This office cannot investigate hear-say. So petitioners should be people who must have personal knowledge of the facts.

I know you cannot have resources to prosecute everybody who commits a crime so you make sure you prosecute only the very serious ones so it can deter people from continuing to commit crime because you have to look at the resources you are spending and then the other areas, so we will prosecute serious corruption offenses.”

Mr. Amidu said he and his team might agree to accept reparations, adding that the public should not be emotional in those instances.