Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill passes second reading in Parliament


The Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017, has passed second reading on the floor of Parliament.

This was after the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Hon. Gloria Akuffo, had moved a motion for the Bill to be read a second time in Parliament.

The Bill seeks to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency, to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, politically exposed persons, and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of corruption, and to prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney-General.

Presenting the memorandum to the Bill on the floor of the House, the Minister said the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor has become necessary in view of the institutional bottlenecks that impede the fight against corruption.

She indicated that the monopoly of prosecutorial authority by an Attorney-General, who is hired and fired by the President, has been singled out by governance experts as one of the key factors that stands in the way of using law enforcement and prosecution as a credible tool in the fight against corruption.

The Minister also stated that to this end, the government intends to establish, by an Act of Parliament, an Office of the Special Prosecutor, to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoings, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), and cases implicating public officers and politically exposed persons.

She said the establishment of the Office for the purpose of prosecuting corruption cases, would, undoubtedly, yield positive results in the number of corruption cases prosecuted. This will be an important deviation from a multi-purpose or mixed mandate as is the case with the Economic and Organised Crime Office.

The Minister intimated that the Bill, therefore, seeks to vest the Special Prosecutor with the authority and control required to effectively investigate and prosecute cases of corruption, and restore public confidence in the justice delivery system and by extension the government.

Briefing the House on the report of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, the chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ben Abdallah Banda, informed Parliament that the Committee subjected all the provisions in the Bill to strict scrutiny.

He reiterated that the Bill was so scrutinised to ensure that its passage will lead to the establishment of an effective and operationally independent entity that will effectively contribute to efforts aimed at combating corruption.

The House approved the second reading of the 79 Clause Bill, after some MPs had debated on its principle.


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