Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has disagreed with the Speaker of Parliament’s claim that the creation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) was an act in futility.
Alban Bagin while speaking during the consideration of the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021, stressed that the OSP will not achieve any results in the fight against corruption.
The Speaker insists the Attorney General’s (AG) Department should rather be decoupled from the Ministry of Justice and adequately funded to prosecute cases.
Reacting to these comments on JoyNews’ The Pulse on December 12, Mr Kpebu vehemently disagreed with the Speaker’s assertion.
“Lawyers will say, ‘I vehemently disagree with the Speaker.’ You know, ordinarily, the Speaker has been a very strong bastion of our democracy. He has done a bit well, psychologically. Even the fact that he is from the opposition just makes the conversations and our national dialogue good.
“That at least somebody from the opposition can voice his opinion and he is in charge as Speaker. It gives our democracy a good feeling, so generally, I am positively disposed towards him. However, on this occasion, I think Mr Speaker misspoke. He seriously misspoke. I am trying to see exactly where he is coming from,” he said.
Mr Kpebu explained that the sole challenge the OSP faced was inadequate funds to prosecute the cases, which implies that should he be equipped with the right resources, he could carry out his mandate without fear or panic.
“The problem is not funding perse. The problem is about independence, the grit, that resilience of somebody who can take the necessary decision to prosecute corruption and corruption-related offenses,” he asserted.
Regarding the speaker’s suggestion that the AG should have been separated from the Ministry of Justice to operate as an independent body, Mr Kpebu argued that the OSP was birthed because legislators had noted that corruption-related offenses by people in authority could not be effectively tackled by the AG.
“So, it is undisputable that over the decades we have all agreed that usually, an Attorney General who is appointed by the president and is part of the president’s cabinet is not the best person to prosecute his colleagues. They don’t usually do well.”
“We have come to agree largely this our democracy part of it is hitched on public opinion, so generally we have agreed that an Attorney General in a cabinet is not positively disposed towards prosecuting his colleagues. That is the state of the public opinion.
“So we agreed that let’s give somebody who is not in cabinet, so where Mr Speaker is coming from is difficult. So, Mr Speakers bit to you know make that point too strongly then he is telling the constitution on its head,” he told host, Blessed Sogah.
He stressed that for the “Speaker to say this is an exercise in futility is something I don’t even understand. So far Mr Agyebeng has had his problem but the office is done well.”
The legal practitioner added that the public should not be concerned about the number of cases the office has won but the contributions the Special Prosecutor has made in growing the country’s democracy
He referred to the Libianca case, stating that although the OSP lost the case, he was able to make recommendations that the Ghana Revenue Authority was currently adopting in dealing with tax exceptions.
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