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General News of Friday, 12 January 2018

Source: Daniel Kaku

Creation of Office of Special Prosecutor will not curb corruption - Murtala Mohammed

The National Secretary of the Progressive People's Party (PPP), Murtala Mohammed Ahmed has stated without any equivocation that the creation of the Special Prosecutor Office by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not curb corruption as it fraught with the same reasons why an Attorney-General fails because of government interference and lack of political will to prosecute a government official.

Mr. Martin Amidu, a former Attorney General in the National Democratic Congress [NDC] administration, was named as the Special Prosecutor by the President on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

He is expected to be vetted and approved by Parliament in the coming days.

According to PPP's National Secretary, "The New Patriotic Party (NPP), prior to the 2000 General Elections, held a strong view that the Ministry of Justice should be separated from the Attorney General to make the Attorney General truly independent of the Executive. What has changed?"

He explained that, Article 88 (3) and (4) of the 1992 Constitution which states that all prosecutions or commencement of prosecutions are the responsibility of the Attorney-General hence any attempt to introduce another law to violate the existing fundamental law of the country amounts to nothing but a smokescreen geared towards fulfilling a manifesto promise.

Mr. Murtala said before the government can fight against corruption in the country then the office of the Attorney-General should be made independent by amending Article 88 (3) and (4) of the 1992 constitution to estop the President from appointing the Attorney-General.

Below is the full statement

For Immediate Release

MAKE ATTORNEY GENERAL THE INDEPENDENT PROSECUTOR

The Progressive People's Party views the setting up of the Special Prosecutor as a step in the right direction.

However, the attempt by President Akufo-Addo’s government to make the appointment of the Special Prosecutor a panacea that will restrain corruption in Ghana is nothing but an antithesis to the fight against corruption in the country.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP), prior to the 2000 General Elections, held a strong view that the Ministry of Justice should be separated from the Attorney General to make the Attorney General truly independent of the Executive. What has changed?

This creation of the Special Prosecutors Office by this new NPP will not curb corruption as it is fraught with the same reasons why an Attorney-General fails - government interference and lack of political will to prosecute a government official.

Article 88 (3) & (4) of our 1992 Constitution states that all prosecutions or commencement of prosecutions are the responsibility of the Attorney General. Therefore any attempt to introduce another law to violate the existing fundamental law of the land amounts to nothing but a smokescreen geared towards fulfilling a manifesto promise.

The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) demands therefore the immediate initiation of the process to revise the 1992 Constitution to separate the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice and establish a Chief State Prosecutor’s Office (The Attorney General).

The Chief State Prosecutor (CSP) could be established as follows:

1. Chief State Prosecutor shall be the Attorney General of the Republic. The CSP shall be nominated by the Ghana Bar Association on the advice of the Judicial Council and approved by Parliament.

2. CSP shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of all criminal offences in the Republic.

3. No one shall institute any prosecutions in the name of the Republic without the authority of the CSP.

4. The CSP shall discharge such other duties of a legal nature as may be referred or assigned to him by Parliament, Supreme Court, or imposed on him by the Constitution or any other law.

5. CSP shall hold office for 10 years upon parliamentary approval of his nomination unless he resigns, removed or dies.

6. CSP before taking office shall subscribe to an oath of allegiance and secrecy of his office administered by the Speaker of Parliament and before all members of Parliament who by law must all be in attendance as by law shall prescribe.

7. CSP in doing his work is entitled to request and receive information from every state official subject only to the existing laws on self-incrimination.

8. A state official who fails and or refuses to provide information requested for by CSP commits high crime and upon conviction shall be liable within the terms of article 2 (5) (a & b) of the Constitution.

9. The only body that could remove CSP from office is the Supreme Court of Ghana upon stated grounds of legal and ethical nature through Petition sent to CHRAJ.

10. Upon CHRAJ finding a prima facie case against the CSP, it shall send its report or decision to the Supreme Court and the public in general.

The lasting solution is to make the office of the Attorney General independent of the government and the Presidency by amending article 88 (3) & (4) of our Constitution to estop the President from appointing the Attorney General.

Consequently, the PPP will not relent in pursuing the goal to make the Attorney General independent of the government and shall in due course, announce a series of actions to press home our demand for a totally independent Attorney General.

...Signed...

Murtala Mohammed Ahmed

(National Secretary)