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General News of Friday, 13 July 2018

Source: citinewsroom.com

Amidu’s reason for focusing on serious cases ‘insincere’ – Lawyer

A private Legal Practitioner, Godwin Edudzi Tamakloe has rubbished Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu’s assertion that his office will only prosecute severe cases of alleged corruption.

Martin Amidu had said his office had been compelled to prosecute only serious cases due to limited resources.

“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 had said.

However, Edudzi Tamakloe believes the decision to prioritize only serious cases is an indictment on the NPP administration.

“The excuse from Martin Amidu, with the greatest respect to him, he should not tell us that. He should not say that he is not going to prosecute on the basis of a rumor? I have consistently indicated that the office was a very needless one and it was just for campaign rhetorics and with the benefit of time I am getting vindicated. We have the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO) unit. The Act establishing the office, if you do a comparison between that Act and the office of the Special Prosecutor Act, the function is almost the same.”

He criticized the administration for failing to resource the Special Prosecutor’s office saying “I was thinking with the much touting done by this administration. With the pomp and pageantry that they actually heralded this whole office of Special Prosecutor, there should not be any issue about lack of funds. They should have all the funding needs so they can do their work.”

Office of Special Prosecutor

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been tasked to investigate and prosecute specific categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and cases implicating public officers and politically-exposed persons.

The office has also been mandated to trace and recover the proceeds of corruption.

The Special Prosecutor’s office is expected to be independent of the Executive, which observers believe will allow it to deal with corruption-related issues which have plagued governance adequately.