Special Prosecutor nominee, Kissi Agyebeng, has denied claims that he was involved in the botched Agyapa gold royalties deal.
He said such claims are unfortunate and from an uninformed position.
Answering questions during his vetting on Thursday, July 22, 2021, the former law lecturer said he had no knowledge of the deal until the controversies surrounding it became public.
“I wasn’t involved in the [Agyapa] deal. I was nowhere near it. Indeed, until it started coming up, I didn’t even know what it was,” he said.
He added that “whoever says I am a surrogate of a law firm or implicates me in the Agyapa transaction clearly does not know me because if you know me, you wouldn’t make such allegations. All these things that came up, I took them as coming from uninformed positions because I was not involved in the Agyapa transaction in any form or manner.”
The former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, in an opinion piece criticizing the nomination of Kissi Agyebeng as Special Prosecutor, suggested that his close association with the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, and the owner of Asaase Radio and co-founder of Africa Legal Associates, a law firm involved in the controversial Agyapa Royalties deal, got him the nomination.
“Asaase Radio should also have told the Ghanaian and international public that its surrogate and nominee Special Prosecutor in the published letter is a personal friend and classmate of the Attorney General, and the owner of Asaase Radio, all of whom attended the University of Ghana’s Faculty of Law, and Ghana Law School.”
“Asaase Radio and the nominator of the proposed new Special Prosecutor know or ought to have known the extent of the involvement of their surrogate as a lawyer for suspects in pending suspected corruption cases in which the government showed an undue interest in the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which I await to see how independently and impartially those cases will be handled to the conclusion should the President submit the name of the nominee to Parliament, he is approved, and then appointed,” Martin Amidu stated.
But reacting to the claims at his vetting, Mr. Agyebeng said his relationships with different people do not stop him from investigating cases that involve people he knows.
He said he will stay within his mandate and be guided by the Act that establishes his office to probe matters impartially.
“As for relationships, the fact that I was so close to you at some point in our lives would not give you the free pass because of that relationship. If there is a matter, I’m not going to say because I know one person or the other, I’m going to give the person a free pass. I’m certainly going to investigate, but the truth of the matter ought to be told.”
“For the record, that is the truth, and so I am no one’s surrogate. I am my own man, and I prefer to wear my own shoes” he said.
The Special Prosecutor nominee, Kissi Agyebeng, says it will not be possible for him to stop corruption in Ghana.
He argued that he can rather make it very costly to engage in corruption.
Speaking during his vetting in Parliament on Thursday, July 22, 2021, Mr. Agyebeng stated that he would put in place the right systems that will help check corruption.
“I am not naive to assume that I am coming to stop corruption. There’s no way I can stop corruption. God himself will not acclaim to that but, I am going to make corruption very costly to engage in.”
“First, I am going to institute what I call ‘Pressure for Progress’ and in this quest, there will be a systemic review of all public sector institutions and the development of integrity plans.”
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, nominated Mr. Agyebeng, a law lecturer and private legal practitioner, as a replacement for Martin Amidu, who resigned from the position in November 2020 under very controversial circumstances.
About the nominee
Kissi Agyebeng was called to the Ghana Bar in October 2003 and holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Ghana, as well as, Master of Laws (LLM) degrees from Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Canada, and Cornell Law School, USA.
He has, since 2006, been teaching Criminal Law at the University of Ghana, whilst engaging in private law practice.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor has the mandate to investigate and prosecute all suspected corruption and corruption-related offenses as pertaining to public officers, politically exposed persons, and persons in the private sector alleged to have been involved in any corruption and corruption-related offenses.
Apart from initiating investigations on its own, Act 959 gives the Office of the Special Prosecutor the power to receive and investigate complaints of alleged corruption from the public or investigate suspected corruption or corruption-related offenses upon referral from public bodies such as the Attorney General’s Department, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).