The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godred Dame, has sworn in the second Board of the Office of Special.
The nine-member Board is charged with advising the Special Prosecutor on policy issues and aiding the office in the fight against corruption and corruption-related offenses.
Notwithstanding its crucial role in the operations of the Special Prosecutor, the Office has been without a Board since the expiration of the Linda Ofori-Kwarfo Chaired Board for over one year now.
This has raised concerns within the anti-corruption space in the country.
Members of the 2nd Board include; Kissi Agyabeng, the Special Prosecutor, Vivian Lamptey, Deputy Special Prosecutor, Lawrence Ndaago Ayagiba, Audit Service Representative, DCOP Wilfred Boahen Frimpong, Ghana Police Service Representative, Aba Jacqueline Opoku, Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) Representative, Kofi Boahen A. Boakye, Financial Intelligence Center (FIC) Representative, Stephen Azantilow, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Representative, COP George Tuffour (Rtd), National Security Representative and Linda Ofori-Kwafo, Representative of Anti-Corruption Civil Society.
The National Security Representative was, however, absent at Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony.
He would, according to the Attorney General, be sworn in at a later date by the Board Chairperson.
Give mechanisms of success
Speaking at the inauguration, the Attorney General urged the Special Prosecutor, to utilise five legal mechanisms in his establishing law in investigating, prosecuting and recovering proceeds of corruption:
(i) Search and seizure powers of the Office laid out from sections 32 to 37of Act 959,
(ii) The power to confiscate property pursuant to a court order provided for by section 50,
(iii) The power to apply to the court to compel the payment of a pecuniary penalty in respect of properties that cannot be the subject of an order for confiscation under section 60,
(iv) The power to apply to the Court to lift the veil to unravel the identities of persons and entities holding illicitly acquired property on behalf of others under section 62 of Act 959; and,
(v) The power to trace properties spelt out in section 70.
“A proper exercise of these powers”, according to the Attorney General, “will ensure that the Office becomes a potent instrument of the State in its effort to root out corruption. The phenomenon of the creation of shell companies for the laundering and concealment of the proceeds of crime will be drastically reduced by the exercise of your powers under Act 959 just alluded to.”
Stop unconstructive and defeatist criticism against OSP
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice took a swipe at media houses for what he said were some malicious, ill-motivated and often ill-researched comments about the Office and resources at its disposal”. Such reportage, the Attorney-General contended, “hardly serve the public interest.”
Mr. Dame said there was a shared duty to contribute to the success of Special Prosecutor’s Office. And the media particularly, he insisted, “owe a duty not to sensationalise reports affecting the Office of the Special Prosecutor in order not to create an impression of deliberate starvation of resources by the State, especially where same is unjustified.”
He called for “real support of the public” for the Special Prosecutor and his Office, “not unconstructive and defeatist criticism.”
The Special Prosecutor, in a brief remark after the inauguration, acknowledged the difficulty he and his Deputy had working without a Board since assuming office.
He however promised, with the aid of the Board, to “work assiduously and in a harmonious fashion to attain the objects of the office”.
He assured that they would give in their “full professional best to ensure that this Office becomes the foremost anti-corruption body in Africa”.
The 2nd Board of the Office of Special Prosecutor, will elect its Chairperson at its first meeting.
This meeting will be held at a later date.