The objectives for the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor have not been met, and they may never be met. The Office has not displayed any positive character in its strategies to fighting corruption in Ghana. There cannot be an effective prediction of the success of the Office in achieving its purpose.
Fighting corruption will require the commitment and toughness of the personnel leading the institutions in the fight. But the commitment and toughness of persons, appointed by an institution such as the Attorney General which serves the interest of a particular government, will not be had, in leading such institutions. The interest of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and that of the Attorney General will not be different in fighting corruption as they both emanate from the same roots. The Attorney General is appointed by the President of the republic, who subsequently nominates an individual to be vetted for the position of the Special Prosecutor.
The creation of institutions of state to fight corruption has not yielded the desired outcomes. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is not on a smooth course to achieve the objectives set out for it, and it cannot achieve its objectives if it operates in seclusion of the other institutions charged to fight corruption. There is the obligation on the State to reform the institutional structure of the agencies fighting corruption. In line with this obligation, I suggest the following measures as discussed:
There was implicit rancour between the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the office of the Attorney General when Mr. Martin Amidu led the office. It appeared as if Mr. Martin Amidu intended to fight all manner of persons including government appointees which the office of the Attorney General was instructed to oppose. There was clear institutional conflict regarding the exercise of authority and control. Consequently, the State needs to streamline the organisational structure of the two institutions. The Office of the Special Prosecutor will function effectively if it does not have any associations with the Attorney General. The Office of the Attorney General does not need to approve of the budget of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. It fundamentally implies the Office of the Attorney General dictates the administrative functions of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Then, there is the need to make the two institutions independent and parallel corruption-fighting institutions.
Fighting corruption effectively in Ghana requires a new direction. This new path to eliminate the canker cannot be found in the creation of an institution such as the Office of the Special Prosecutor only, it demands a comprehensive approach that combines the efforts and expertise of tough and independent persons. The State needs to make the Office of the Special Prosecutor the lead institution that will chart a new course in fighting corruption in Ghana. Thus, the Office of the Special Prosecutor needs principled, tough and motivated persons who have the intentions and desires to save the state from this labyrinth. The Office of the Special Prosecutor should lead the overall strategic plan to fight corruption with support from the other institutions that have mandates to fight corruption in Ghana. Corruption fight should then be the sole responsibility of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Therefore, all laws that deal with issues of corruption and corruption-related cases should be applied by the Office of the Special Prosecutor alone. All other institutions of state that have mandates to fight corruption should be charged to play critical roles to support the Office to achieve its purpose. The State needs to redefine the innovative goals to achieve by the new and strengthened Office of the Special Prosecutor. There are many corruption-fighting institutions in Ghana with patchy goals and directions.
Corruption will be reduced to minimal levels if there is a single institution that must lead the fight with collaborative efforts from the rest of the institutions. The Office of the Special Prosecutor needs to be the umbrella institution whose agents must show leadership and willingness to win the corruption fight.
The State then needs to critically evaluate the performance of all the institutions fighting corruption to arrive at the solution that suit the challenges in saving resources from leakage through corruption. The Office of the Special Prosecutor must be made the sole institution that fights corruption with the others playing ancillary roles in the process. Thus, the Office of the Special Prosecutor will be the principal institution while other corruption-fighting institutions become units or departments within that office. Fighting corruption will not be effective if it is initiated by a politician or an agency created with political biases.
A new approach that merges all the corruption-fighting institutions into a single institution with strengthened capacity to achieve the ideals of the state in this fight should be looked for.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.