Accra, Oct 05, GNA - Dr Raymond A. Atuguba, a Senior Law Lecturer, at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, has urged Parliament not to accept the Special Prosecutor’s Bill again.
He said under the current constitutional dispensation, no prosecutor in Ghana could be legally independent; emphasising that, “again under our current constitutional dispensation no prosecutor can be legally settled”.
“Any attempt to pass a law that establishes the Office of a Prosecutor that purports to be special and or independent does not only do violence to article 88 of our constitution, but will not pass constitutional master in the Supreme Court,” Dr Atuguba stated in his presentation at the Centre for Social Democracy (CSD) Ghana’s Public Forum on “Parliamentary Oversight and Good Governance”, in Accra.
The forum was organised by the CSD – Ghana in partnership with the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Dr Atuguba said Parliament must be congratulated for sending the Bill for the establishment of the Special Prosecutor back to where it came from.
“Parliament must be bold enough to tell the Executive that wasting time and resources on drafting a bill that would be death on arrival in Parliament was causing financial loss to the State,” he said.
“Every prosecutor in Ghana is within the limit of article 88 of the 1992 Constitution; under the prosecutorial discretion, prosecutorial direction and prosecutorial control of the Attorney General,” he stated.
“Such a prosecutor is dependent on the Attorney General and can never be independent.
“Again every prosecutor in Ghana is given a charter by the Attorney General to prosecute. When Dr Ben Kunbuor was the Attorney General, I went to him for a charter to allow the Forestry Commission to prosecute.”
Dr Atuguba said: “The so called Special Prosecutor cannot, therefore, have special prosecutorial powers. These powers are given to everyone including SSNIT, NECO and the rest. So the so called Independent Special Prosecutor is dependent and ordinary.
“The 1992 constitution is the fundamental law of the land. That law has vested all prosecutorial powers in one woman, the Attorney General; until an amendment of the constitution, there is no iota of prosecutorial powers left anywhere to be given to anybody.
“And so, Parliament itself is constitutionally constrained from giving prosecutorial powers to an Independent Special Prosecutor, because Parliament cannot just do that, those powers have already being vested in one woman.”
Dr Atuguba appealed to the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, to live by his accolade and stop the Independent Special Prosecutor’s Bill from even returning to Parliament.
On the war against corruption, Dr Atuguba said: “Ghanaians are not interested in waiting for public servants to steal state resources, and then they allow them to enjoy the loot till their party is out of power, then they run them up and spend taxpayer’s money to prosecute them for five years; allow smart lawyers to use technicalities to free almost all of them; then jail a token few for just five years; hold them in the prosperous part of Nsawam Prison; and grant them Presidential pardon after a few months; and then they come out to continue enjoying the loot, this senseless.”
“What Ghanaians want is that we prevent the money from being stolen in the first place, and when it is stolen, we retrieve it at the highest possible interest rates beginning from the day that it was stolen,” he stated.
Mr Antonio Edem Asinyo, a Fellow of CSD – Ghana, said the objective of the forum was to critically examine the oversight function of Parliament within the context of promoting good governance and fighting corruption.