Fighting corruption in Ghana; The office of the Special Prosecutor

Corruption Develop File photo

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 Source: Nana Akwasi Sarpong

“Through inadequate public service compromised by corruption, monies meant for drugs, roads hospitals, schools, public security etc……are siphoned away making all of us vulnerable to premature death”

-Tajudeen Abdul –Raheem “Corrupt leaders are mass murderers”

The stigmatization of corruption as a disgraceful act and the recrimination against it has become a central element of discussion in the political and governance discourse of our country. The verbal stigmatization of this woeful act is not enough.

These culprit do not face any legal sanctions and are sometimes acquitted and discharged because there is no good political will to follow up these cases. The effect of corruption by public officials/private individuals is evident in our country as the poor get poorer and become vulnerable in the society.

This article discusses the need and relevant features of the office of the special prosecutor in fighting corruption in Ghana.

Ghana since independence has witness a lot of corrupt practices. The checkered political history of Ghana with frequent military coup could be attributed to the mess or series of rot by public officials. The June 4th 1979 coup stage by junior officers of the army and other rank officers was aim to do away with the bribery and corrupt activities of government officials. It is indeed clear that the fight against corruption has been a long one and yet no better solution to arrest this social ill has been found.

Ghana’s fourth republic is not any different from these activities of corruption and violating of acts of constitution. Cases implicating political officers and even people affiliated to ruling parties do not face the consequences of their actions because there is no political will and practically impossible to prosecute one of their own.

Perhaps there are instances the attorney general was fired for going to court to prosecute a financier of a ruling party (see; Martin Amidu sacked. modernghana.com, 20/01/2012)Even though the 1992 Republican Constitution (article 88) is a step to fight corruption and bad practices in government but absolutely not enough to eradicate this bad practices.

The power of the Attorney General is crippled as the president can fire the AG anytime. Hence there is lack of good will to pursue these cases for fear of being sacked.

It is of no doubt that Ghana just like many African countries are embedded in corrupt activities hindering development and the general welfare of the citizenry

Political parties in Ghana have shown little commitment in the fight against corruption but the regular occurrence of these activities and the sophistication of voters made it imperative for these parties to include the office of the special prosecutor in their manifestos in the run-up to the 2016 general election. (See; page 39 of NPP 2016 manifesto and theme 4 of the 2016 NDC manifesto.)

The office of the Special prosecutor should be devoid of Political interference and should be established by an act of Parliament that conform to the 1992 republican constitution to prevent its activities becoming null and void.

The office of the Special prosecutor should have a security of tenure of office. This will enhance the fight against corruption since there will be no fear of being removed from office.

Concomitantly the appointment to the office of the Special prosecutor should be devoid of Party politics and should be strictly by qualification, willingness, nationalism and patriotism

It is essential that the office of the Special prosecutor is made independent of the executive and the other arms and agencies of government. This will enable the office get adequate resources and logistics to investigate and prosecute cases and all allegations of corruptions.

In conclusion there should be exceptional political will determine and courageous necessary to enable our dear nation promote and maintain the reform of the establishment of the office of the Special prosecutor to reduce public sector corruption. This will make our nation a better place where transparency probity and accountability will thrive.

Columnist: Nana Akwasi Sarpong