The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is demanding there be an “open and competitive” process in the appointment of an official to head the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) if the Bill is passed into law by parliament.The OSP, which is expected to reduce corruption among public officers to the barest minimum, was one of the main campaign promises made by the then-presidential candidate of the governing New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo in the build-up to the 2016 polls.
Under the Bill, an independent prosecutor will head the office and prosecute corruption offences by committed by state officers.
The coalition has commended parliament on the progress made so far and pledged commitment to support the Bill. However, its members want parliament to seriously consider their submitted proposals which they feel will ensure transparency and fairness in the appointment of the Special Prosecutor.
This was contained in a statement by the coalition issued on Monday, 6 November.
Below is the full statement:
CSO Coalition calls for an open and competitive process in the appointment of the Special Prosecutor
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) commends the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for finalising and submitting its report to the floor of Parliament on 17th October. We equally acknowledge that the Bill has been taken through the Second Reading Stage. The Coalition further takes note of the commencement of the Consideration Stage during last week and the vigorous debates that have ensued so far.
As Members of Parliament continue to debate and propose amendments to the Bill, the CSO Coalition calls on Parliament to consider seriously its proposal, as was contained in the memorandum submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to make the appointment process for the Special Prosecutor and Deputy Special Prosecutor open and competitive.
Specifically, the Coalition proposed the following:
a. Advertise the position for Ghanaians home and abroad to apply
b. Constitute an ad hoc interview panel/committee comprising individuals with the requisite knowledge and/or experience of the job requirements nominated by the following stakeholders to scrutinise and recommend at least three applicants for consideration by the Attorney General:
1) The Judiciary
2) Public Services Commission
3) Traditional authority
4) Religious Groups
5) Civil Society
6) Professional Bodies (Accountants and Auditors)
7) Private sector
c. The Attorney General shall select one candidate out of the three shortlisted and forward the name for vetting and approval by majority of members of Parliament present.
d. The President then appoints the person
We made the above proposals because we consider the current rendition of the appointment process in Clause 12 is insufficient to cure the challenges of political bias. We believe the current provision is likely to undermine public trust and confidence in the independence of the Office of the Special Prosecutor if not further amended.
Finally, we encourage both sides of the House (Minority and Majority) to continue the debate on the Bill in a bipartisan manner.
We pledge our unwavering support to the Committee and Parliament in the effort to pass a credible Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017.
Linda Ofori-Kwafo Executive Director Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII)
Dr Franklin Oduro Head of Research & Programmes and Deputy Director Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana)
Beauty Emefa Narteh Executive Secretary Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC)