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Details emerging from the Office of the Special Prosecutor (SP) indicate that it is investigating nine sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) for corruption-related offences.
Reports suggest that apart from the MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, who has been hauled before an Accra High Court over tax evasion, about eight other MPs from the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have been released by the Speaker of Parliament for their statements to be taken over corruption-related offences.
This was contained in a statement issued by the office in response to supposed comments by the Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu that the Special Prosecutor has submitted a tall list of MPs to assist in investigations.
The statement said that “the investigators have not submitted any investigation dockets or recommended to the Special Prosecutor whether or not they ought to be charged with any corruption offences.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor wishes to state that nine out of 275 Members of Parliament cannot by any acceptable use of the English language be said to be a tall list even for the purposes of an invitation to release Members of Parliament to assist the investigation of corruption offences,” it said.
It said that “the Office of the Special Prosecutor shall, particularly, under the present first Special Prosecutor, continue to invite members of both the Executive and Parliament without fear or favour, affection or ill will, to assist the office in investigating the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-offices or as witnesses in such cases as required by the mandate of the Office.”
“When the list gets tall it will mean that the stables of corruption are getting very dirty and smelly and need to be cleared vigorously to excise the canker as demanded by the electorate at the 2016 elections and actualized by His Excellency the President and Parliament.”
It admitted that the leadership of Parliament engaged the Special Prosecutor and the Deputy Special Prosecutor in the morning of 3rd June 2019 in discussions over Mahama Ayariga, a first accused person, whose case was pending on 4th June 2019 pursuant to a Cause List issued by the Accra High Court.
The statement revealed that “the invitation by the Rt. Hon Speaker to the Special Prosecutor for the discussion was dated 31st May 2019 and received in the evening of the same day and has reference number OP/SPKR/19/030 and is not a classified document.”
It said “the Special Prosecutor made it clear at the discussions with the leadership of Parliament that no provisions of the Constitution referred to by the Rt. Hon. Speaker in his invitation letter and submission at the meeting were applicable to Members of Parliament charged as accused persons for the crimes of corruption and put before a court of competent jurisdiction for trial.”
It, therefore, indicated that “the determination of the days on which the trial criminal court will conduct the trial was entirely for the court to decide and not for the Special Prosecutor to compromise in a private meeting with the leadership of Parliament.
It said “the Special Prosecutor stated clearly during the meeting that the Office would abide by any decision rendered by the courts on the matter but will not in a side-meeting with the leadership of Parliament agree, in advance, not to oppose such an application when raised by lawyers for the accused persons in court simply because of their membership of Parliament for which the Speaker’s certificate on immunities and privileges to the court on 4th June 2019 was issued after the engagement of this Office of Special Prosecutor with Parliament on 3rd June 2019.”
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