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Special Prosecutor Bill on hold

The position of the Special Prosecutor will have to tarry awhile following the determination by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that the Bill for its establishment is not of urgent nature.

The committee recommended that the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 be taken through the usual legal legislative procedure.

If the committee had stated that the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 was of urgent nature as suggested by the a Deputy Attorney and Minister of Justice, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, then it could be passed in a day.The Bill was laid in Parliament last Tuesday by Mr Kpemka on behalf of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and following the debate as to whether the Bill should be treated under a certificate of urgency, the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye directed the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to determine the urgency or otherwise of the Bill.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 is to establish the Office of a Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption.

The Special Prosecutor would prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney General.

Committee’s report

Presenting its report to Parliament today (Friday), the Chairman of the committee, Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, said the committee, during its deliberations, referred to the 1992 Constitution, the Standing Orders of Parliament and the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017.

He said the committee noted that the establishment of the Special Prosecutor was in line with the policy of government.

Mr Ben Abdallah said the committee was, however, mindful of the sensitive nature of the Bill and the interest that it had generated in the public domain.

However, he said, the Office of Special Prosecutor as envisaged in the Bill would transcend different political regimes.

Therefore, he said, the committee wanted to engage in broader consultations with civil society groups and other key stakeholders to solicit their inputs.

Mr Ben Abdallah said the committee acknowledged that Attirney-General’s Office was over-burdened in the discharge of its duties and therefore needed to carve out some of its investigative and prosecutorial duties to the proposed Office of the Special Prosecutor.

“The committee however dos not see any vacuum created by the absence of a Special Prosecutor to warrant the Bill to be treated as urgent”, he said.

Supporting the motion, a Ranking Member of the Committee, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, said considering the position of a Special Prosecutor in the fight against corruption, the committee felt that there should be further consultations.

Leadership supports report

The Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, and the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr James Avedzi, said once the committee had recommended that the Bill be taken through the usual legal procedure, they were in support of it.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said he also had information from the Committee on Local Government and Rural Development and Finance Committee that the Zongo Development Fund, 2017 should also be taken through the normal legal procure.

The First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, then ordered that the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 and the Zongo Development Fund, 2017 be taken through the normal legal procedure.

 

 

Source: graphic.com

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