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General News of Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Source: Graphic online

Recruitment process of Special Prosecutor must be transparent - Dr. Oduro Osae

A governance expert has called for an independent recruitment committee including the media to be set up in order to ensure transparency from the onset in the recruitment of the proposed creation of a special prosecutor (SP).

The Dean of Students and Research at the Institute of Local Government Studies, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, said it behoved on the media to put the government on its toes by working to ensure that the position was opened up through advertisement in the papers.

Speaking at a roundtable meeting in Accra on April 7, 2017, on the establishment of the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) as promised by the government, he said that the Act to be developed to establish the office should make a clear provision of the role of the media.

“It should ensure that there is a structure that practically involves the media from the initiation of the recruitment to the end so that the public interest can be properly safeguarded,” he said.

Dr Osae said it may be difficult for the OSP to be truly independent because of the fact that the majority in parliament continues to operate by having their way and minority having their say.

“We can raise the bar to require absolute majority of parliament to approve this appointment but then someone will have to initially appoint the person. Are we going to advertise to allow people qualified to apply? Are we going to allow the Public Services Commission to be involved when we know in this country that certain technical positions in the public service have been politicised? We can take it or leave it,” he said.

Insulating the society from corruption

Dr Osae emphasised that practically, the unit must be independent and not only in theory, particularly, when there are existent laws such as the whistle blowers bill which haven’t been operationalised.

“Are we going to set up another bureaucracy? How are we going to have this officer appointed? What is going to be the conditions of appointment in office and after office and are we going to do selective application or prosecution of crimes? Are we going to do a clear segregation of duty to prevent conflict of roles of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Attorney General,” he said.

National Anti-Corruption Plan

The Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Ms Linda Ofori-Kwafo said the 10 year National Anti-Corruption Plan (Action NACAP) was approved by parliament about two years ago and was being implemented and hoped that it will result in some changes in effort to fight corruption.

“Ghana has not done well when we wanted information to buttress the fact we have been able to punish some corrupt cases we didn’t get any, the police administration didn’t help us so we need to do more,” she said.

She said there is corruption in the country because there is weak enforcement of laws and that there are lots of opportunities for corruption but chances of being caught are minimal.

“We have selective enforcement of the laws. We have lack of effective corruption reporting system and we have polictisation of corruption,” she said.

The Minority ranking member, Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Committee Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, said affirmed the minority’s support any to attempt to insulate the citizenry from corruption by making corruption a high-risk activity.

The roundtable

It was organised by the Ghana Integrity Initiative in collaboration with the Ghana Anti – Corruption Coalition (GACC) and the Center for Democratic Development, Ghana (CDD), with funding support from the Strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC).

The meeting brought together relevant stakeholders in the media to discuss the proposed creation of the OSP, as stated by the President in his first state of the nation address, taking comparative lessons from other jurisdictions.