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General News of Friday, 21 December 2018

Source: Starrfmonline.com

Amidu’s office can’t justify GHC30m expenditure – Minority

The Minority in Parliament says the inability of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to justify some GH¢30 million expenditure items in its budget estimate makes nonsense of the mandate of the office.

According to the Minority, the amount captured under management and administration and operations under anti-corruption management as other expenses of GH¢20million and GH¢10million respectively could not be justified by the Special Prosecutor’s office.

Disclosing this Friday in Parliament during the debate for the approval of over GH¢180 million for the operations of the office of the special Prosecutor, a member of the Constitutional, legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee Rockson Dafeamekpor said the failure of the special Prosecutor to explain expenditure items in the budget to the committee is worrying.

“Mr. Speaker, the office of the Special Prosecutor was unable to give the expenditure details for these allocations and I thought that it is very interesting because even the office of the National Security Coordinator brings its budget and tells us how it intends to spend monies allocated to it and I expect the office of the Special Prosecutor to operate in a very transparent manner because it is an office that we are requiring to go and fight the canker of corruption in respect of other public office holders and other private individuals operating within the jurisdiction,” he said.

Calling for utmost transparency in subsequent expenditure, Dafeamekpor said: “We want to point out to the office of the Special Prosecutor that it is his duty to fight [corruption] and not simply to promote the fight against it. We are empowering the office to employ all requisite skills and abilities to fight the canker of corruption in this country.”

“So we want to urge him that whatever expenditure outline are allocated to him, he should be able to tell parliament at least how the office intends to expend the expenditure outlines,” he added.

Parliament passed the Special Prosecutor Bill making it an Act of Parliament on November 14, 2017.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor is aimed at helping the government handle corruption-related issues among state officials in a nonpartisan manner.

The Office is also expected to help reduce the workload on existing investigative agencies and, thereby, enhance their effectiveness. The establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor has become necessary in view of the institutional bottlenecks that impede the fight against corruption.

Furthermore, the monopoly of prosecutorial authority by an Attorney-General, who is hired and fired by the President, has been singled out by governance experts as one of the key factors that stand in the way of using law enforcement and prosecution as a credible tool in the fight against corruption.