Is Special Prosecutor worth tax payers’ money? – Oscar Doe asks

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Businessman Oscar Yao Doe is disappointed in the office of Special Prosecutor for failing to deliver on its mandate since the establishment of the outfit.

Martin Amidu was sworn in as Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor on February 23, 2018 after he received unanimous approval from Parliament. The setting up of the office of the Special Prosecutor was one of the key campaign promises made by President Akufo-Addo ahead of his election victory in 2016.

The office is mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63 and other corruption-related offences implicating public officers, political office holders and their accomplices in the public sector.

But Mr. Doe opines that the office appears useless following the failure to deliver two years after it became operational.

“Does it worth the tax payer funding? What was the main aim at creating the Special Prosecutor office? Is it to score political points?

“Or using the office to please every sitting presidents in the future to carry out their personal political witch-hunts of investigations? Or to protect public purse? Which is which! We should be careful not to set a dangerous precedent which could become catastrophic for our justice system,” his post read.

Challenges of the Office of the Special Prosecutor in fighting corruption in Ghana

After months of assuming office, Amidu in an epistle accused appointees and heads of institutions of making his work difficult.

Among other things, the former Attorney General said: “the refusal of heads of institutions to take steps to enforce basic rules of discipline governing their institutions even when they know that their officers are under investigation, have been cautioned, bailed, and eventually even charged with corruption and corruption-related offences”.

“Heads of institutions wantonly disregard statutory requests made by the Office for information and production of documents to assist in the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences, in spite of the fact that the President has on a number of occasions admonished them on such misconduct.

“There have also been cases where some heads of institutions have made it their habit to interfere with and undermine the independence of this Office by deliberately running concurrent investigations falling within the jurisdiction of this Office with on-going investigations in this Office for the sole purpose of aborting investigations into corruption and corruption-related offences.”

Prior to this, he had mentioned that his office was under-resourced, a claim Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, a staunch member of the ruling New Patriotic Party debunked.

According to Mr. Otchere Darko, Amidu’s office obtained the highest budgetary allocation from the 2019 budget under the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) section.

He disclosed that the Office of the Special Prosecutor was given a total of GHS 180,160,231 followed by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department with GHS 135,983,714.

Despite being resourced to “discharge his duties vigorously, with courage, without fear or favour, ill-will or malice, in accordance with the rule of law”, the president, who has been accused by the opposition National Democratic Congress of shielding his appointees cited for corruption, was silent on Amidu and his office.

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