…Observers Smell A Rat
The fancifulness of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) which is being set up to prosecute crimes of state officials, independent of the Attorney General, is on betrayal at the AG’s office.
Lawyer Akoto Ampaw, the man who has been penciled to pioneer the job as Special Prosecutor, is at the moment serving as Special Advisor to Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo.
In his role as legal Einstein, Akoto Ampaw, has been coaching Gloria Akuffo, who has earned a reputation for herself for being clumsy and prone to the issuance of Nolle Prosequi, on how to go about crucial cases.
Recently, Lawyer Amapaw was on the Ghana legal team that took the sterling litigation of former Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, to touchdown, in the maritime boundary case against La Cote d’Ivoire at the ITLOS.
On that team, Akoto Ampaw was listed as Advisor to Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney General of Ghana.
It is not clear how much the State is doling out for the advisory services that Akoto Ampaw, a childhood friend of President Akufo-Addo, who served as the spokesperson of the ruling NPP’s election petition in 2012, is rendering to the state.
But what is even more concerning to many people is that he is the incoming Special Prosecutor. President Akufo-Addo named Lawyer Akoto Ampaw as the incoming Special Prosecutor in February, this year..
Following that overture, the only thing that has kept Akoto Ampaw from breezing into office and supposedly prosecuting offences that have been committed by state officials is delay in the passage of the bill, which will establish his office.
In July, this year, the government had been forced to withdraw the bill from Parliament due to the fact that it had breached Parliament’s Standing Orders in the act of placing it.
The government has since promised to get the bill passed before the reading of the 2018 Budget.
It is as Akoto Ampaw waits eagerly to be conducted into office as Ghana’s first ever Special Prosecutor that he has been engaged in the sideshow of giving advice to the Attorney General.
This role however has come across as problematic because the Special Prosecutor, when in office, is supposed to function independently from the Attorney General.
Indeed, the independence of the SP is supposed to be so fierce that he will be able to take on and prosecute the Attorney General herself if she misconducts herself in office.
His serving as an Advisor to the same AG is seen as a sort of incest that betrays the falsity of President Akufo-Addo’s promise that the SP will be fiercely independent.
The involvement of the incoming SP with the Attorney General has come as a validation of the school of thought that the SPO is a fanciful concept that will only most likely be used for the witch- hunting of political opponents.
According to the NPP government, the Special Prosecutor’s Office will independently prosecute crimes by state officials, even though the 1992 Constitution vests all prosecutorial powers in the Attorney General.
The Attorney General’s Department has offices on the regional and district levels in all corners of the country, where State Attorney’s serve on the state’s payroll, so that offences by state officials can easily be prosecuted by the AG’s Department.
Apart from this, the state has an ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) and even the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) which are all clothed with prosecutorial powers.
But in response to observations about the duplicitous nature of the Special Prosecutor’s Office, Ghanaians have been told that the SPO would handle cases that the Attorney General would hand down to it.
It has since never been lost on observers that the Attorney General still exercising the prerogative to cherry-pick cases that it wants the SPO to prosecute does not really make the SPO independent, but a tag-along.
However, the NPP government has claimed that somehow the SPO will be independent with President Akufo-Addo harping on the personal integrity of Akoto Ampaw as a surety for independence, even though Akoto Ampaw will not occupy that position forever.
Interestingly, this same Akoto Ampaw, whose integrity will make him independent of the Attorney General when appointed SP, is the one currently serving as Special Advisor to the AG.
Selfsame Akoto Ampaw, spokesperson for the NPP’s 2012 election petition, is a bosom friend of President Akufo-Addo – the man preparing to appoint him as Ghana’s first ever Special Prosecutor (SP).
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels