Former CHRAJ Boss, Justice Emile Short, has cautioned against appointing a Special Prosecutor, perceived to be a loyalist of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The Special Prosecutor by law will be appointed by the President, and approved by Parliament.
Critics have however said this mode of appointment may compromise the Special Prosecutor in his or her line of duty.
In agreeing with such views, Mr. Short said: “If the person appointed is seen as loyal or having political leanings towards the current government, then skeptics will not be convinced.”
He however noted in a Citi News interview that a loyal member of the NPP who discharges his or her duties without fear or favour, will win the confidence of Ghanaians.
“Even if he is not perceived as really independent, and it is clear to the general public that he is carrying out his functions without fear or favour, then it will reassure Ghanaians and he will be able to discharge his functions independently and he will be able to even prosecute members of the sitting government.
It won’t be independent – NDC
Members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have argued that, the office cannot be independent since the Special Prosecutor will certainly be someone aligned to the NPP.
General Secretary of NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, had warned that the Office risks being a lame duckif the official expected to lead the office is not independently appointed.
“I want to remind them that if they are going to appoint another NPP lawyer as the independent prosecutor, then you would have wasted the nation’s time and resources in making that law. It is because of the difficulty of an NPP lawyer as the Attorney General trying to prosecute offenders within the NPP government that we decided that, let us get an independent prosecutor,” the NDC General Secretary added.
Despite these concerns, some members of the NPP, including the Acting Chairman of the party, Freddie Blay have assured that the office of the Special Prosecutor will be free from any interference.
According to him, not even the President will be able to meddle in the affairs of the office.
“It will not be subject to any control by anybody, not even the president’s office, and that is what the president has decided to happen,” he had stated.
President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, January 2, 2017, appended his signature to the bill setting up the Special Prosecutor office after it was approved by Parliament in November 2017.
About Special Prosecutor Office
The Office of the Special Prosecutor marks the fulfillment of a major campaign promise of Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 elections.
The Bill defined the modalities for the appointment and operations of the Special Prosecutor, which 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 their accomplices in the public sector.