Kissi Agyebeng ‘eminently qualified’ as SP; I’ll respect his independence – Akufo-Addo

Akufo Addo 2021212121 The president says the new Special Prosecutor has already distinguished himself

Thu, 5 Aug 2021 Source: classfmonline.com

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that from the educational and career backgrounds of the new Special Prosecutor, “it is clear that Mr Kissi Agyebeng is eminently qualified to occupy the office.

“He has the capacity, experience, requisite values, and intellectual strength to succeed in this vital position.”

Mr Akufo-Addo said this when he swore the 43-year-old law lecturer in as Mr Martin Amidu’s successor.

“I urge the new special prosecutor to bear in mind at all times that the office carries an extraordinary responsibility to fight corruption independently and impartially”, the president noted.

The president also reminded Mr Agyebeng of his mandate.

“The special prosecutor, as the Act says in its preamble, shall: ‘Have full authority and control over the investigation, initiation and conduct of proceedings of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving public officers and politically-exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector involved in the commission or alleged of suspected corruption and corruption-related offences’”.

The remit of the office, the president noted, “is broad and challenging”.

Mr Akufo-Addo also assured Mr Agyebeng of the independence of his office and the necessary assistance.

“I want to assure Mr Kissi Agyebeng, like I did his predecessor, that not only will the executive, including the attorney general, respect the independence of his office, but also will provide him with whatever assistance is required to enable him discharge his high duties effectively in the interest of the Ghanaian people”.

“Indeed, all institutions of state will work and cooperate with him in the same spirit which he articulated in his approval procedure in parliament”, the president added.

During his vetting, Mr Agyebeng told the committee that he intends to guard his independence jealously in carrying out his mandate in terms of investigating, preventing, prosecuting corruption cases and managing seized, frozen or confiscated properties.

In his view, the relevance of the OSP cannot be overemphasized and, thus, warned: “…The day we scrap this office is the day we say goodbye to our fight against corruption”.

“Its relevance is borne out by its attributes and its uniqueness”, he argued, adding: “It is unique, as compared to all the other law enforcement agencies in respect of its mandate because no other institution has been carefully designed and thought-out to fight corruption specifically as Act 959 has done and Hon Chair, in respect of this, the office of the special prosecutor is the gold standard under the UN convention against corruption and the AU convention on the prevention and combatting of corruption”.

“The international community, including Ghana ratified these conventions in the early 2,000s, I think 2002 if I’m not wrong, that every jurisdiction requires such a specialized agency, it should be made independent with a specialized trained staff to focus on the fight against corruption”, he observed.

According to him, the OSP is relevant because the Attorney General “is a member of cabinet, he’s part of the government. How independent would he be in terms of certain individuals if they were to fall foul of the law if, for instance, they are also members of cabinet or members of the government?”

“But in respect of the OSP, the person manning it, who is not part of the government machinery, who is independent; and Hon Chair, if given the nod, I’m going to guard my independence jealously,” he said.

Kissi Agyebeng also admitted to the committee that: “I am not naive to assume that I am coming to stop corruption”, adding: “There’s no way I can stop corruption”.

“God himself will not acclaim to that but I am going to make corruption very costly to engage in”, Mr Agyebeng told the committee.

Mr Agyebeng is the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.

Mr Agyebeng was nominated as Ghana’s second Special Prosecutor following the resignation of Mr Martin Amidu.

Mr Amidu resigned from the position on 15 November 2020 citing interference by President Nana Akufo-Addo in his job.

In a letter to the Presidency, Attorney General Godfred Dame said: “Kissi Agyebeng possesses the requisite expertise on corruption and corruption-related matters and is of high moral character and proven integrity and satisfies all the other requirements stipulated in section 13(1) and (2) of Act 959.”

Section 13(8) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) requires the President to appoint a person qualified for appointment as Special Prosecutor to that position, within six months of the Office of Special Prosecutor becoming vacant.

Source: classfmonline.com
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