Member of Parliament for Wa West, Mr. Joseph Yieleh Chireh has indicated that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) can only embark on prosecution, provided the State equips the agency with adequate resources.
The MP who doubles as a member of the Subsidiary Legislation and the Appointments Committees of Parliament explained that the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu, can only start serious work and prepare cases to the court if the government provides resources for the office to effectively deliver on its mandate.
Speaking to ghanajustice.com in an interview in Parliament, Mr. Yieleh Chireh pointed out that the OSP was created to independently prosecute gross corruption and other corruption related matters without being starved of the needed resources like other investigative and prosecuting bodies.
He stated that some members of Parliament envisaged resource constraints of the newly created investigative and prosecuting body and raised objections, but attention was not given to the concerns raised.
“When the bill came to Parliament, some of us raised several reasonable objections on how the Office of the Special Prosecutor can be funded independently to prosecute on corruption cases. Much attention was not given to the critical objections we raised. When it comes to matters of this nature, it is important to move away from politics and tackle it in a collective manner”, he added.
Mr. Yieleh Chireh however admitted that he has confidence in the OSP and its capability of investigating and prosecuting corruption cases, if only the government is committed to fund it adequately.
“I totally have confidence in the Office of the Special Prosecutor. The only challenge I have is the inadequate resources to make it effective. If we really want to see it function properly and go to court with cases, we should provide the needed resources”, he reiterated.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor
The Office of the Special Prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and cases implicating public officers and politically exposed persons.
The establishment of the Office for the purpose of prosecuting corruption cases involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions will undoubtedly yield positive results in the number of corruption cases prosecuted than a multi-purpose or mixed mandate agency such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).
The office was established by the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017.
Clause 1 of the Act establishes the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a body corporate with perpetual succession.
The object of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, as stated under clause 2, is to investigate and prosecute cases of corruption and corruption related offences to prevent corruption in the public sector and to recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences.
The functions of the Office are provided for under clause 3. These include investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged corruption and corruption related offences under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and investigation of allegations of corruption and corruption related offences under the Criminal and Other Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) implicating public officers and politically exposed persons, prosecution of corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers and politically exposed persons on the authority of the Attorney-General, recovery of the proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences, and co-operation and coordination with competent authorities, and other relevant local and international agencies in the performance of its functions.
Clause 4 provides for the independence of the Office by insulating the Office from the direction or control of a person or an authority in the performance of the functions of the Office.
Clause 5 deals with the governing body of the Office.