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14.12.2005 Politics

Amend SFO Act - CDD urges Parliament

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Accra, Dec. 14, GNA - The Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) on Wednesday called for the amendment of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Act 466, to enable it to perform its critical role in the nation's fight against economic crimes. The Attorney - General Department should delegate its prosecutorial power to the SFO by statutory instrument, Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, stated at a day's workshop on the theme; "Empowering the Serious Fraud Office Through a Review of the SFO Act," in Accra. The workshop aimed at creating a platform for a broad spectrum of experts to study and make inputs into a CDD-Ghana review report for an amendment to the SFO Act 466. The experts would also examine provisions that limited the political independence and diminished the credibility and effectiveness of the SFO and to suggest mechanism to make its operations transparent and effective.

Prof Gyimah-Boadi called on the Executive to create a separate source of funding for the SFO and grant it the right to retain a percentage of the monies it recovered and to play its role as a watchdog institution. The SFO should foster an organizational culture in which personal integrity is rated above corporate weaknesses and to make it receptive and responsive to public complaints. Prof Gyimah-Boadi also expressed concern about the failure of successive governments to appoint substantive Executive Directors to head the establishment since 1995. He said the effectiveness of the office had also been hindered by the failure of the Attorney - General to enact regulations under the SFO Act. Professor Kofi Quashigah of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, chaired the workshop attended by legal experts, SFO officials, constitutional consultants, media practitioners and a cross section of the public.

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