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General News of Thursday, 4 January 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Let people apply for independent prosecutor position - Emile Short

A former head of the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is calling for a more transparent process in the selection of a Special Prosecutor.

Emile Short believes an open, transparent process will put to rest doubts about the independence and integrity of the office.

He would rather have people apply, vetted and appointed into office as happens in the corporate environment.

He was speaking on Joy News’ Upfront with Raymond Acquah, Wednesday.

The choice of who becomes the first independent prosecutor has become a thorny issue after a rather long process of passing the law and putting the office in place.

The Minority had raised issues about the procedures government wanted to use to pass the law, a development which forced the Majority Leader to withdraw the LI from Parliament and relay it at another time.

Several aspects of the new law became a subject of controversy which triggered a more comprehensive discussion on the matter by political party representatives, members of the civil society organizations as well as Members of the Ghana Bar Association.

The law was successfully passed in December 2017 and was assented to by the president in the first week of January 2018.

Having crossed the legal hurdle, it is time to find who will occupy the office tasked to independently prosecute persons said to have embezzled public funds.

The office is the New Patriotic Party’s campaign promise to depoliticize public prosecutions and to do away with allegations of witch-hunting which have attended similar prosecutions in the past.

Emile Short believes the only way to ensure an independent prosecutor is truly independent, is to have a truly transparent and independent appointment process.

“When somebody who commands the respect of, not only the general public but especially the minority, [is appointed] it will help.

“This position must be advertised so that people can apply; set up a committee to interview the applicants, rate them and shortlist about three names, give the names to the president and then he can appoint one of them,” he said.