The seemingly dormancy in the operations of the office of the Special Prosecutor (SP) has been placed at the doorsteps of the Presidency, opposition in parliament, and other stakeholders.
According to an activist with the Citizen Movement for Advocacy Against Corruption (CMAAC) Edem Senanu, the laxity with which members of parliament particularly on the side of opposition and the inability of the presidency to marshall his administration to follow up on policies is largely to blame for the slow pace of work of the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu.
Adding to that, Mr. Senanu alleged that government officers, the arms of government and members of parliament are in no hurry to push for the passing of the sub-legislation that will help Mr. Amidu work more effectively.
“It appears that government officers and other arms of government are in no hurry, just like we have experienced with the RTI bill. Parliament and parliamentarians make comments and you’re wondering are these people really representing the interest of the collective? The opposition are certainly not inclined to have an SPO because they don’t know which way Martin is going cut and they are not certain that is not going to inure to their benefit” he said.
Also, he bemoaned the slow pace in the follow-up and the level of communication by government officials and agencies in the process leading to the acquisition, processing and subsequently the prosecution of individuals and organizations by the Special Prosecutor.
“The follow-up actions to make sure that the people of Ghana benefit have been extremely slow and disappointing at best.
Ideally if the various units of government were giving us feedback as citizens as to difficulties being faced in respect of making sure that the special prosecutors office was fully in place and functional, that would have been helpful” he said.
Passing of Sub-legislation
Adding to that, Mr Senanu said that the apathy shown by the parliamentarians in the passage of the sub-legislation of the Special Prosecutor has curtailed the efforts of the Special Prosecutor from having the machinery and legal backing to obtain some documents from organizations and agencies to aid investigation and prosecution of corrupt individuals in the country.
“Some allocation has been made in the budget for 2019 but we still need parliament to pass the sub-legislation to empower him fully in a manner that allows him to compel various ministries, departments and agencies to provide him all the information he needs to prosecute people and to sanction those that have to sanctioned accordingly” he said.
Budget allocation of SP vs AG
On the side, Mr. Senanu, in his opinion, chastised individuals who are questioning the budget allocation in the 2019 budget to the office of the Special Prosecutor versus that made to the office of the Attorney General.
He was of the opinion that, the provisions of these offices could be associated to the requests put forward by them.
“As for the comparison I think it is a non-starter. The question to ask is what the Attorney General (AG) submit to the government and what the SP submitted to the government. I dont think we are in the position to give an assessment of whether the budget was enough or excessive or not. Wheteher its adeqaute in the case of the SP they need to become functional for that assessment to be done in an objective manner”
First, Mr. Senanu called for the citizenry in partnership with the media outlets to hold the government and stakeholders accountable for policies and comments they churn out.
He also challenged government’s machinery to institute good monitoring systems that would serve as a self-correcting system to address the situations where lapses in policy implementation have been observed due to government’s inability to follow-up on some policies.
“Citizens become stronger when the partnership with the media for advocacy is there. I think that we have a challenge with follow-up. And so the beginning right from the Presidency needs to have a stronger review and monitoring of what is going on in the execution of this law and other laws.
It appears we have widespread situation where the Presidents makes policy statements but when it comes with the follow-up who is supervising the ministers and other appointees to ensure that they deliver on the President’s promise” he noted.
By: Michael Ashalley|universnewsroom.com