The censure of corruption as one of the most destructive deterrent to economic, political and social development, has become an essential point of discussion in the governance and political discourse of our nation, Ghana.
Ghana, since independence, has been faced with a lot of corrupt practices such that, reasons behind some of the “coups” were as a result of some corrupt leaders. Just like many African countries, Ghana is engulfed in corrupt activities limiting development and the general wellbeing of its citizens.
Although corruption in Ghana is relatively low compared to other African countries, businesses often iterate corruption as an obstruction for doing business in the country. Hence, driving away investment’s. That notwithstanding, an act of corruption is partly responsible for global poverty as well as hinders national development. It further takes away government resources and deprives the large populace of having a share of the “national cake”.
Despite the nation’s democratic governance, corruption still remains malignant in our public service and society. Corruption in Ghana has been proven in undercover investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ exposés, including the recent ” Number 12″.
According to Transparency International (TI), corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private or personal gain. They classified corruption as grand (occurs at a high level of state with the connivance of leaders/politicians), petty (the abuse of office) and political (manipulation of policies, institutions and rules of procedure to perpetuate the hold on electoral power and executive control of state resources) depending on the pecuniary value and sector of occurrence.
Corruption is a canker killing and depriving the nation of its future. We, together as a nation, cannot develop if measures are not put in place to counter corrupt activities and officials in the country.
The president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he addressed the opening of the 2017 Advocates Africa convocation in Accra, stated emphatically, that “words can no longer defeat the canker of corruption… Concrete actions must”. Also, he assured that the office of the Special Prosecutor would be enacted in the next session of Parliament, and would boost the anti-corruption drive of his administration.
In his attempt not to waver in Anti-Corruption Drive, the Office of the Special Prosecutor was established.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor is expected to help reduce the cumbersome workload on already existing investigative agencies thus, intensify their efficacy. Also, it is to investigate and prosecute certain categories of cases and allegations of corruption and other criminal wrongdoing, including those involving alleged violations of the Public Procurement Act, 2003(Act 663) and cases implication public officers and politically-exposed persons.
A special feature of the Office is that, it “… will work independently of the executive…” Because the law says it “is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of its functions”. “we expect the Special Prosecutor to discharge his duties vigorously with courage, without fear or favour, ill will or malice in accordance with the rule of Law”. This is according to the President, Akufo-Addo.
In some countries, the Special Prosecutor is a lawyer appointed by the Attorney General or the President. The role of the Special Prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute a particular case of suspected wrongdoing for which a conflict of interest subsists. Basically, the Office of the Special Prosecutor is to fight corruption in the country. It is to enhance accountability in the nation’s public life since corruption has become a destruction to Ghana’s development and Progress.
Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, was appointed by the President. He was then, vetted and approved by Parliament and later, sworn in by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo. Mr Amidu built a reputation for himself as a man who conducted cases with fairness. His appointment was to check the perils of corruption. As a man of conviction, he is feared and admired by people from all sides of the political division.
In as much as a number of attempts were made to hold back his appointment on the basis of his age, it was to no avail.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor is not a pleasantry. It’ll therefore be a shame if it’s not made to function independently as it should. You would agree it has been a good sign creating this Office but extremely bad it’ll be when it works to suit its Whims and Caprices. Simply, The Special Prosecutor is expected to counter corruption and bad government practices without any form of political interference. However, is it absolutely enough to eliminate this “nightmare”?
Mr Martin Amidu, has been entrusted the power to freeze and get the court assist him confiscate property suspected with corruption. One thing that gets my hopes as high as the mountains is the fact that, he stressed, “Once a suspected offender is established by investigation to have committed an offence prosecuted in the national interest, I will treat crime as crime and nothing else”. Oh! how this gives me some sort of assurance.
It really fascinates me how some patriotic Ghanaians have also dedicated time, money and other resources in helping to fight and restrain corruption. These include; Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Manasseh Azure, Elizabeth Ohene, Kwete Naite among others. I say God bless you for your hard work, service and loyalty to the state.
Long live Ghana, Long live our motherland.
God bless our homeland, Ghana.
Mary Abena Otoo,