Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has said one of the major challenges hampering his work aside his office under-resourced, is the failure of some appointees of President Akufo-Addo to collaborate with him.
He said it will be practically impossible for him to effectively deliver on his mandate if the friction between his outfit and heads of critical government institutions is not eliminated.
Parliament passed a law in November 2017 to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialized agency to investigate specific cases of corruption, involving public officers and individuals in the private sector implicated in corrupt practices, but the operations of the office are not going on smoothly.
Speaking at the National Audit Forum organised by the Ghana Audit Service, Mr. Amidu indicated that individuals heading government agencies have simply not been supportive.
“The success of the experiment would depend on the extent to which Ministries, Departments and Agencies in government with the responsibility to cooperate with the office to achieve the vision of the president who championed the setting up of the office.”
“The present situation where critical ministries and agencies have failed even with our limited constraints or refused to produce public records on demand to aid the office in critical investigations, offences running into millions of cedis, clearly demonstrates that there is divergence between the president’s vision and that of some of his appointees”
He expressed disgust at instances where state agencies expected to make available documents to fast track issues of fraud have constantly failed to do so, describing it as a clear show of sabotage of President Akuffo-Addo’s commitment of reducing acts of corruption.
“You ask for information you can’t get it, you ask for docket, the docket cannot be produced. You ask a minister for a record, the record cannot be produced. How do you fight corruption when those appointed by the president who has a vision are not coordinating with the office of the special prosecutor to achieve his mandate? That is the challenge we have to face, he stressed.
My reputation alone, not enough for this fight
The special prosecutor, who was speaking bluntly for the first time about the challenges confronting his office, indicated that his track record alone cannot eradicate this canker that continues to bedevil the country.
“The success in the fight against corruption will depend on the extent to which the president’s vision is supported by his operatives. The personality and reputation of the Special Prosecutor cannot be a solution to a problem which has festered since independence
‘I’ve no legislation, I’m just using common sense’ – Amidu complains
Several months on, the office is yet to be fully effective after the noise that greeted the appointment of the man affectionately called ‘Citizen Vigilante’, for his anti-corruption campaigns.
A visibly frustrated Special Prosecutor said his office lacks the resources to deliver.
He warned that the office will not be able to fully discharge its duties if the situation is not addressed soon.
“I am saying this for the public to understand that we have set up an office. We have to organize that office, have the requisite personnel. It does not take one day. The law says 90 days after the assumption of office of the Special Prosecutor, pursuant legislation must be enacted, but as I speak today, I have no legislation so I use my common sense.”