Anti-corruption campaigner, Vitus Azeem, has suggested that Martin Amidu must be given free reign to constitute the Special Prosecutor’s Office after it was announced that the outspoken former Attorney General would head the outfit.
Mr. Azeem said this would ensure the office remains independent after it is fully set up.
After the nomination of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor and his expected approval by Parliament in the coming days, attention is expected to turn to the composition of the Office.
There appears to be no doubt in the eyes of most Ghanaians that Martin Amidu, also known as the Citizen Vigilante, possesses the requisite integrity and credibility to head the office promised by the New Patriotic Party government to fight corruption within the State machinery.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Azeem stressed that Martin Amidu “should have a free hand to decide what cases he wants to investigate” and also who to include in his team.
“In principle, he will be working up to the Attorney General but I don’t think he will be required or compelled to take prosecutions from the Attorney General’s office… if the President is committed and the Attorney General is committed, they will give him the free hand to appoint some of the key persons from outside the Attorney General’s department. That is how it [remains] independent.”
“…But if it is going to be loaded with people from the Attorney General’s department to do the work, then already, they are starting on a false basis,” he added.
Mr. Azeem noted that there were a lot of private lawyers Mr. Amidu could appoint along with investigators from entities like the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and other institutions.
“So if he has a free hand, he will look around with his top management staff and look for the appropriate people to do the work,” he said.
Also commenting on the matter on Eyewitness News, the Executive Director of the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Linda Ofori-Kwafo urged Ghanaians to remain vigilant and ensure the right processes are followed in the setting up of the special prosecutor’s office.
“What we need to do as an organization and as individuals is to the monitor the implementation of the provisions of the new law so that we see to it that the new appointees work according to what has been provided for in the law.”
“That is the only way we can say that we are being neutral, objective and are doing everything possible to make sure perpetrators of corruption do not go scot free as has happened in the past,” Mrs. Ofori-Kwafo remarked.
The office of the Special Prosecutor will have the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63, and other corruption-related offences implicating public officers, political office holders and accomplices.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana
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