A former District Chief Executive (DCE) for Akatsi North in the Volta Region, James Gunu, has charged President AkufoAddo government to as a matter of necessity, decentralized the Office of the Special Prosecutor to the local level, if indeed, the NPP government is committed to the fight against corruption.
According to him, the NPP government’s flagship policies such as “the Zongo Development Fund, Southern and Northern Development Fund, One District, One Factor and “One Million Dollars per Constituency” among others, are clear possible “breeding grounds” for corrupt activities at the local levels of governance.
Based on these reasons, the former DCE believe, establishing what he termed Localised Special Prosecutor’s Office was necessary to safeguard the public purse by monitoring the activities of individuals, who would be appointed in-charge of all these establishments.
Mr. Gunu, who made this call in an article copied to the media, further argued that, opening ‘coordinating or complaint’ offices of the Special Prosecutor in the districts, would encourage people to get involved in the campaign against dishonest use of power other than travelling to the national capital “only” to lodge complaints on corrupt acts.
He said, “The local governance ACT 936 of 2016 which was an amendment of ACT 462 of 1993 was to enhance the course of democracy and deepen local governance and decentralisation”.
To buttress his argument, Mr. Gunu said “One of the main forces driving our democratic dispensation is the local governance and decentralization process.”
According to him, “the main objectives of local governance and decentralization was to bring governance closer to the people for accelerated development and citizen’s participation,” and therefore, “the fight against corruption must be a decentralized one and not centralized to make it accessible to the citizenry.”
He queries rhetorically, “Do you expect the poor citizens to travel from the district to the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Accra to lodge a complaint of any act of corruption?”
In his view, said in order to strengthen corruption fight, other state institutions such as Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Attorney General’s Department, as well as the Public Procurement Authority offices should be decentralized.
Citing section 18 (1) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor law which states that the Office shall have the Administrative, Investigative, Prosecution, Assets recovery and Management divisions, where section 18 (2) mentioned that, the board may establish any other division necessary for the performance of the office…, DCE said
“The structure and mode of operations have made it possible for Ghanaians to perceived Office of the Special Prosecutor as a political witch hunt tool rather than an independent national anti-corruption device incorporated in a progressive democracy.”