President Akufo Addo’s nominee for the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Mr Martin Alamisi Benz-Kaiser Amidu has said his priority as Special Prosecutor pending parliamentary approval will be to recoup back into the National coffers monies stolen by corrupt officials and politicians.His comments were in reaction to a question asked by Member of Parliament for Akwapem South, Osei Bonsu Amoah about his views regarding sections of the Special Prosecutor bordering on plea bargains.
A plea bargain is an arrangement between prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.
Amidu said while convictions and jailing of thieves will be a priority of the OSP, his office, when approved will also concentrate on recovering stolen money and seizing assets for the nation to benefit as jailing more people was itself a burden on the poor tax payer.
“We are not going to only fill Nsawam, so that we feed you, we cloth you, we take you to hospital when you are sick, we will concentrate on collecting the stolen money too. That’s very important.”
“If a person agrees to pay back the money they have misappropriated, ensuring they do that is better than imprisoning them and feeding them with state funds until they grow old and are pardoned”, he said.
Many Ghanaians will raise concern about the bigger thieves being made to return their loot in exchange for their freedom from going to jail, as against petty thieves who have no such opportunity under the criminal code in Ghana, and only time plea bargain is introduced in Ghana is under the OSP.