Special Prosecutor nominee, Kissi Agyebeng, believes that any attempt to scrap the Office he has been nominated to head will affect the fight against corruption.
According to him, compared to other law enforcement agencies in respect of its mandate, the Office has been carefully thought out and designed to fight corruption specifically.
Speaking during his vetting on Thursday, he said that every jurisdiction requires the specialised agency, made independent, to have a specialised staff that focus solely on fighting corruption.
“The office is to investigate, prevent, prosecute for corruption and manage seized frozen or confiscated property. But in terms of the relevance of this Office, the day we scrap this office is the day we say goodbye to our fight against corruption.”
“Its relevance is borne out of its attributes and its uniqueness. It is unique as compared to all the other law enforcement agencies in respect of its mandate because no other institution has been carefully thought out and designed to fight corruption specifically as Act 959 had done,” the legal practitioner told the Appointments Committee.
Mr Agyebeng added that the Office again meets the standards of the United Nations Convention against Corruption – the legally binding international anti-corruption multilateral treaty – and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
His comment comes after some people following the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor expressed displeasure stating that the office is unnecessary.
Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Peter Boamah Otukunor in 2019 in an interview on Nhyira FM stated that the Special Prosecutor was being paid without any work done.
He claimed the next NDC government will scrap the office and direct the money to other areas of the state.
Again, in April 2021, Legal practitioner John Ndebugri also echoed his concerns about the office, stating that there was no need for President Akufo-Addo to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor to fight corruption.
Speaking on Newsnight on JoyFM, he said that the Attorney General’s office is already mandated by law to deal with criminal offences including issues the Special Prosecutor is tasked with.
He stated that the office is not only “redundant” but an establishment that places a burden on the taxpayer.
However, Kissi Agyebeng believes the Special Prosecutor’s Office is better placed to fight corruption mostly because of its independence as compared to the Attorney General’s office.
He explained that because the Attorney General is a member of Cabinet, the independence of the individual may be challenged especially when people in government break the law.
“Now, the flaw with Article 88 in terms of the Attorney General is that we sometimes require too much of the individuals occupying the office of the Attorney General. Come to think of it, the AG is a member of cabinet, he is part of the government.
“How independent will he be in terms of certain individuals if they were to fall foul of the law. If, for instance, they are also members of cabinet or members of the government? But in respect of the OSP, it is an agency, man by a person who is not part of the government machinery, [a person] who is independent and if given the nod, I am going to guard my independence,” Mr Agyebeng said.