The Office of the Special Prosecutor will be required to thoroughly assess would-be husbands and would-be wives of its staff through a vetting process, as is the case with some state security agencies.
This comes after Parliament approved the much-awaited operations regulations Legislative Instrument of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
The L.I, which is to ensure the full functionality of the office left the house divided when the particular clause for the vetting of potential spouses came up.
While a section of the house said the provision is surprising, others said such a regime is important to ensure that spouses of the employees do not taint the integrity of the office.
The Vice Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, Bernard Ahiafor, said “The provisions are in tandem with the Bureau of National Investigations condition. As with the BNI, a spouse or a prospective staff of an employee of the special prosecutor must be subjected to vetting. An employee who intends to get married shall notify the special prosecutor not less than 3 months before the intended marriage. The marriage will be approved when the security clearance is given by the office of the special prosecutor.”
The Member of Parliament for Offinso South Constituency and Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah, in seconding the motion for adoption of the report on the L.I, said the assessment was necessary to ensure that confidential information regarding investigations and prosecutions of the office are not exposed to the public through spouses of employees.
“These stringent measures are put in place to ensure that the employee of the Office of the Special Prosecutor does not go astray; does not marry a spouse who cannot keep secrets so that if the employee doesn’t get a spouse who can keep secrets relating to investigations and prosecutions, the tendency is that all sensitive and secretive information will be given out.”
The Speaker of Parliament in making a submission on the matter also indicated that such measures are undertaken globally within various security and legal establishments.
“This applies to the military and all security agencies. You cannot just marry. You resign if you want to by all means do your own thing. It is as simple as that. It is universal and it applies to all these institutions. At one time, my wife needed permission to marry me,” he said.