President Akufo-Addo says the Office of the Special Prosecutor was adequately resourced to enable it carry out its mandate effectively contrary to allegations by the former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu.
He disclosed that he had instructed the Chief of Staff and the Minister of Finance to ensure the expeditious set-up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor and did his best to ensure that the Office and the human resources it had, were provided with the necessary assistance in terms of funds and administrative support to execute their duties without hitches.
This comes after Mr. Amidu in his resignation letter, described what he said was his inability to do what was required of him due to the failure of the government to provide him with what he required to do the job.
But the President in his response to the claims by Mr. Amidu said the alleged operational challenges said to be encountered by the Special Prosecutor had no factual basis.
“Indeed, the records show that in keeping with his resolve to sufficiently equip the Office in the discharge of its mandate under Act 959, the President provided your Office the necessary financial and administrative support. Your Office received more than a sufficient budgetary allocation to assist it in its anti-corruption fight. Remarkably, your letter of resignation alludes to the consistent deprivation of finances and a financial handicap imposed on the Office of the Special Prosecutor. You also bemoan the non-payment of the salaries of yourself and the Deputy Special Prosecutor in a manner that suggests the Government’s failure to do so. Yet, your Office had been adequately funded to pay for salaries. The impression given by you that there was a deliberate intention to ensure your office didn’t function is the more startling”.
For instance, Nana Akufo-Addo explained that in June 2018, GHS 1 million was released to the Office to enable it undertake set-up activities after the office requested and was granted a commencement authorization to incur capital expenditure of GHS 2.79 million.
He said the Special Prosecutor, however, failed to request for the monies to undertake the Office’s activities.
“You [Special Prosecutor] failed to make a request for payment in respect of the related procurement”, he said.
Furthermore, the President revealed that in 2019, the office submitted a budget proposal of GHS 360 million out of which GHS 180 million was approved and appropriated for the Office, an amount which is said to be higher than the budget of some ministries in the current government.
“Although your Office did not apply for the release of funds in 2019, the Ministry of Finance released GHS 65.69 million and transferred it into the bank account of your Office for your operations. Only a little of over GHS 5.22 million had been utilized by you as head of the Office of the Special Prosecutor”, the statement noted.
To this end, the unutilized amount of over GHS 60.47million which should have been returned to the Consolidated Fund in accordance with administrative practices was rolled over by the Ministry of Finance to the following year to be utilized by the office.
The office is also said to have not accessed the amount on GIFMIS, the Government payments platform.
“Your Office has so far spent on GHC308,751 on the compensation of employees. Taking account of the amount that was rolled over from the year 2019, the account of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bank of Ghana, as of 12 November 2020, shows a balance of GH460.47 million. The Compensation Budget for the Office of Special Prosecutor in 2019 was not utilised because your Office was not able to recruit relevant staff by the end of the year”, portions of the statement further stated.