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01.11.2019 Opinion

Make Office of the Special Prosecutor Independent

By Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Make Office of the Special Prosecutor Independent
NOV 1, 2019 OPINION

The attempt to introduce innovative means to fight corruption in Ghana by creating the Office of the Special Prosecutor is appropriate. The challenge then is the manner the Office started its operation and the lack of independence of that Office in procuring its needed logistics. These challenges will affect the successful execution of the mandate of the personnel in that office.

Many agencies that depend on the state for their resources; personnel and other key equipment for performing their functions are weak in practice. The Office of the Special Prosecutor as has been narrated on live TV does not have its own authority and independence to procure sophisticated logistics to resource its office for effective functioning. The Special Prosecutor whined about excessive and persistent sabotage by some state agents through their agencies or institutions. These challenges present a huge bottleneck that diminishes the primordial purpose for establishing the office and the expected job the office must do. Though organizations that are interlinked for information exchange have proven to be effective, state institutions in Ghana have not worked perfectly.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has the option to work hand in hand with other state agencies that deal with corrupt issues and people or design its own plans or strategies to fight corruption. Currently, the challenges that are encountered between the Office of the Special Prosecutor and other state agencies is plain to suggest collaborating to fight corruption cannot be done easily this way. It appears the other agencies have issues to conceal or people to protect. This way, the Office of the Special Prosecutor will find it extremely difficult obtaining the necessary data or pieces of information from the other institutions for prosecution. There is institutional conflict in information exchange and exercise of authority. The issue about who works under which institution has not been dealt with. Does the Office of the Special Prosecutor theoretically have to work directly under the Attorney General’s Department? Can’t the Office of the Special Prosecutor procure its own logistics by preparing its budget and later be audited by the Auditor General? The pertinent queries asked have a significant impact on the outcome of the Office of the Special Prosecutor. It is better to evaluate the development of events between and among the Office of the Special Prosecutor and other agencies that fight corruption in Ghana.

Truly, the Office of the Special Prosecutor was not properly configured initially before its operations practically. This has so far affected the performance of the personnel in that Office in dealing with corrupt issues. That is why the person in charge of the office complains frequently of the lack of logistics and the attempt by some persons to sabotage its endeavor to successfully achieve its mandate.

There should be clear boundaries demarcated for the institutions fighting corruption especially state institutions such as the Attorney General’s Department and the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Again, which institution does what? Who controls who? Which institution supports the other? If these issues are not dealt with eternally, the Office of the Special Prosecutor will find it particularly difficult to execute its mandate. These fundamental issues must be addressed clearly immediately to eliminate ambiguous roles being played by some of the institutions.

Elsewhere, as the Special Prosecutor said, in Hong Kong, the institution in charge of corruption is an independent establishment. Making the Office of the Special Prosecutor independent will present many benefits to the state in dealing with corruption. The Office of the Special Prosecutor requires to be independent structurally, politically and administratively. The structure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor needs to be determined by the person manning the affairs of that office without any influence from a strong politician. The Office set up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor needs extreme independence.

People appointed politically have the natural duty to defend the party they support. In this regard, if some of the persons who work with the Special Prosecutor are or were pushed through to that office by influential Political Persons, they will most likely be ineffective and partial in dealing with their party faithfuls. The overall form of the organisation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor should be set up and managed by him after statutory authority has been offered him. In terms of administrative roles, the Special Prosecutor should have the luxury to execute its administrative responsibilities effectively to successfully achieve its mandate. The Special Prosecutor needs administrative independence. Achieving financial independence is not attainable.

The structure equally involves relationships. The Structure of the Office of the Special Prosecutor should be established with statutes that are entrenched to have better working relations with other state agencies and their agents to facilitate information exchange with ease. The current institutional conflicts that are encountered should be addressed.

Public institutions established to fight corruption have proven to be powerless in dealing with this canker that has eaten into our moral fortitude and continues to destroy institutions and systems in Ghana. The history pertaining the fight against corruption in Hong Kong seem replicable in Ghana. It is a case study that has the potency to help change the people in charge of the fight against corruption in Ghana. There was community involvement in their case.

It is better to streamline things in Ghana to firmly establish principles, processes and systems in obtaining information and exchanging information among state institutions in Ghana. The Office of the Special Prosecutor must be made an independent state agency that will have its authority established firmly and orders obeyed by persons and other state institutions. There must be a radical and innovative attempt to properly lay the foundation for eliminating this endemic ailment named corruption that so cancerous. For the fight against corruption to be effective, the Office of the Special Prosecutor must be made independent considering the challenges that are experienced by the persons in charge of that office in accessing logistics and information for carrying out its established mandate. The fight against corruption will be a joke with the existing state of affairs.

Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey.
Economics Tutor – Kintampo SHS.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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