By Nana Kwesi Coomson on July 16, 2019
The work of the Special Prosecutor is allegedly being hampered drastically by heads of some government institutions in the nation.
If such hindrances usually are not checked, the struggle towards corruption is probably not gained by the Akufo-Addo government and the aim for which the Workplace of the Special Prosecutor was arrange will probably be defeated because the workplace might make little or no impression.
This grievance was made by the Particular Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, in a write-up by which he made recognized a litany of challenges the workplace was dealing with in its quest to battle corruption within the nation.
In line with him, some heads of institutions are simply refusing to comply with the laid down laws of good governance and the protection of the nationwide purse.
“The biggest challenge facing the Office of the Special Prosecutor as an anti-corruption investigatory and prosecutorial body in spite of all the powers conferred upon it is not the President who promised the people of Ghana to establish the Office but the heads of institutions who simply refuse to comply with laws designed to ensure good governance and to protect the national purse by fighting corruption.”
Mr. Amidu wrote in his piece that the “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.”
The Special Prosecutor stated he has the appropriate to sue such institutions via the Lawyer in the event that they refuse to release paperwork to assist in investigations.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act empowers the Office to enforce the production of information and documents in the Courts against any public institution that fails or refuses to honour the lawful request of the Office. This Office can also go to the High Court to compel heads of institutions to obey the laws that support the fight against corruption. The consequence will be that in accordance with the civil procedure rules this Office will have to sue the Attorney General as the representative of the State.”
He also complained about interferences from some of these businesses, whose names he did not mention in the write-up.
“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.”
The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been chastised by Ghanaians for being ineffective in its battle towards corruption over a yr because it was established.
However Amidu complained that, although his outfit is doing every part potential to battle corruption, such hindrances are making things difficult.
“Some of the foregoing malfeasance has seriously affected the ability of this Office to deliver on its mandate, particularly when it must depend on some of these very institutions for seconded staff until it employs its own. The questions of anti-corruption work values and culture, and condoning indiscipline by some seconded staff by their parent institutions have surfaced and become public in some instances.”
“What is worrying to this Office as an anti-corruption investigation and prosecutorial agency is 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.”
He said that per regulation, when a public officer is underneath investigation, she or he needs to be interdicted but the heads of such businesses deliberately refuse to try this.
“Unfortunately, the experience of the Office of the Special Prosecutor is that when it comes to fighting corruptions and corruption-related offences, heads of institutions think that the rules on interdiction and/or indefinite leave of public officers do not apply to corruption and corruption-related offences.”
Mr. Amidu in his piece urged the general public and civil society organizations to help his work.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor cannot fight corruption unless the public and civil society give it their fullest support and put pressure on the political elite to obey the laws that enable the Office to achieve its mandate.”
“The President, the Minister of Finance, the Chief of Staff, the Auditor General, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the Financial Intelligence Center have been very supportive of the Office thus far. But the response by other heads of institutions to the instructions from the Executive Branch appears to have been treated with impunity as far as the records show. Corruption cannot be fought on the so-called reputation of a few people. Every citizen needs to get involved now before the canker consumes the whole body politic,” he added.
Under is the complete piece:
CHALLENGES OF THE OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN GHANA: BY MARTIN A. B. Okay. AMIDU, THE S. P.
The most important problem dealing with the Office of the Particular Prosecutor as an anti-corruption investigatory and prosecutorial physique in spite of all the powers conferred upon it isn’t the President who promised the individuals of Ghana to determine the Workplace but the heads of institutions who merely refuse to adjust to laws designed to ensure good governance and to protect the national purse by preventing corruption.
Heads of institutions wantonly disregard statutory requests made by the Workplace for info and manufacturing of paperwork to assist within 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 additionally been instances where some heads of institutions have made it their behavior to intrude with and undermine the independence of this Office by deliberately operating concurrent investigations falling inside the jurisdiction of this Workplace with on-going investigations in this Office for the only function of aborting investigations into corruption and corruption-related offences.
Some of the foregoing malfeasance has significantly affected the power of this Office to deliver on its mandate, notably when it must depend upon some of these very institutions for seconded employees until it employs its personal. The questions of anti-corruption work values and tradition, and condoning indiscipline by some seconded employees by their mother or father institutions have surfaced and grow to be public in some situations.
What is worrying to this Workplace as an anti-corruption investigation and prosecutorial company is the refusal of heads of institutions to take steps to implement primary rules of discipline governing their institutions even once they know that their officers are underneath investigation, have been cautioned, bailed, and ultimately even charged with corruption and corruption-related offences.
The Civil Service, the Local Government Service, the Police Service, and other public providers have particular legal guidelines and laws governing what ought to occur to public officers who’re underneath suspicion for disciplinary offences (including crime), and prosecution for crime usually which heads of establishment ought to apply, with out prompting, to battle corruption of their respective institutions. The Public Service Fee has also issued binding circulars and tips on ordering the interdiction and/or indefinite depart of public officers suspected of critical misconduct and the fee of legal offences.
Unfortunately, the experience of the Office of the Particular Prosecutor is that in terms of preventing corruptions and corruption-related offences, heads of institutions assume that the principles on interdiction and/or indefinite depart of public officers don’t apply to corruption and corruption-related offences.
Public officers have been charged, arraigned earlier than the Excessive Courtroom and their pleas taken only for them to return to their work places and work usually as though they’ve by no means been suspected of committing any corruption offences. In the first place an officer beneath investigation for misconduct or crime ought to not be able to intrude with the investigations. This explains the regulation and guidelines on interdictions even before a cost is definitely most popular towards a public officer.
The Workplace of the Special Prosecutor invitations public officers to help investigations by way of their heads of institutions and there could be no excuse after those officers have been publicly arraigned and their pleas publicly taken in a trial courtroom for his or her heads of institutions to wait to be informed what to do by approach of disciplinary motion pending the completion of the trial.
The Particular Prosecutor has been accused of sleeping on the job when he has only three seconded investigators from the Ghana Police Service with no prosecutor employed immediately by the Office for obvious bureaucratic and technical causes. The Office has nonetheless managed to research and arraign a quantity of public officers before the High Courtroom for prosecution, but their heads of institutions have failed or refused to use the regulation on interdiction and/ or indefinite depart to deter others from following the identical corruption path.
The Public Service Commission has an Appendix II in one of its circulars and tips on Public Officers on interdiction and/or indefinite depart. It’s said in (c) that: “During the permissible period of interdiction/indefinite leave, officers affected shall receive 50% of their monthly pay….” and in (g) it is said that: “Responsibility for ensuring compliance with steps in (a) to (e) above rests squarely on the shoulders of institutional heads. If the institutional head defaults in this regard, their competent disciplinary authorities should impose on them sanctions not exceeding the value of the total loss to government or the employing organization, in terms of pay”.
What does the Government and the general public anticipate the Workplace of the Special Prosecutor to do when heads of institutions refuse or fail to help the battle towards corruption and corruption-related offences by not vigorously making use of the laws meant to assist the battle towards corruption and other crimes? Corruption and corruption-related offences are offences committed primarily by public officers and one does not ordinarily anticipate heads of public institutions to protect public officers suspected of committing these offences even once they have been charged and put before the Courtroom.
The two instances the Workplace of the Special Prosecutor has earlier than the Excessive Courtroom for trial has surfaced the truth that heads of institutions do not take the struggle towards corruption critically. This demonstrates that this Government’s struggle towards corruption has an extended journey to go until some drastic action is taken towards defaulting heads of institutions as advised by the Public Providers Fee.
The notion that corruption and corruption-related offences are a systemic and pervasive low danger and high alternative enterprise in Ghana was show past any affordable doubt when the Office of the Special Prosecutor dared to charge and arraign before the Excessive Courtroom a member of the political elite (a Member of Parliament in this case) and some public officers for abuse of public office for personal profit and breaches of the procurement legal guidelines of Ghana.
A bi-partisan Legislature and the Government equipment immediately invited the Particular Prosecutor to decide to usurping the discretion of the Courtroom by agreeing with Counsel for the accused on specific days for the trial of the case. The Legislature, whose members additionally type a majority of the Ministers in the Government, went an extra step in a bi-partisan manner to aim to direct the Courtroom in writing within the exercise of the courtroom’s discretion to manage its own proceedings in the identify of parliamentary immunity.
A country whose Parliament and Government coordinate in Parliament in a bi-partisan method to delay trials and justice within an inexpensive time in relation to prosecuting any of its members for corruption can’t critically convince the surface world that it isn’t solely paying lip service to preventing the canker.
The Workplace of the Special Prosecutor Act empowers the Office to implement the manufacturing of info and paperwork within the Courts towards any public institution that fails or refuses to honour the lawful request of the Office. This Workplace also can go to the Excessive Courtroom to compel heads of institutions to obey the legal guidelines that help the struggle towards corruption. The consequence can be that in accordance with the civil procedure rules this Office should sue the Lawyer Basic as the representative of the State.
Those who know the history and character of the Particular Prosecutor know that he is prepared, in a position and prepared to go this route should that be the one choice left for the Workplace to successfully execute the anti-corruption mandate entrusted to him by the individuals of Ghana who supported his appointment. However let everyone keep in mind when that day arrives there can be no bi-partisan reward for the Authorities – it can turn out to be a partisan political power play. Those who assume that is talking too much or complaining too much ought to keep in mind that a sew in time saves 9.
The Workplace of the Special Prosecutor can’t battle corruption until the general public and civil society give it their fullest help and put strain on the political elite to obey the laws that enable the Office to realize its mandate. The President, the Minister of Finance, the Chief of Employees, the Auditor Common, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the Monetary Intelligence Middle have been very supportive of the Office so far. But the response by other heads of institutions to the directions from the Government Branch seems to have been handled with impunity so far as the data present. Corruption can’t be fought on the so-called fame of a number of individuals. Each citizen must become involved now before the canker consumes the whole body politic.
DATED AT OSP, YENTRABI ROAD, LABONE, ACCRA THIS 15TH DAY OF JULY 2019