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Special Prosecutor’s Bill Goes Through 2nd Reading

Parliament is inching closer to the passage of the Office of Special Prosecutors (SP) Bill, 2017 after it went through second reading yesterday.

Attorney General, Gloria Akufo, moved a motion for the second reading and emphasized the importance of the Bill in the fight against corruption.

According to her, since corruption has reached alarming levels with negative impacts on the economy, there is the need for the State to take steps to eradicate the menace of corrupt practices in order to enhance the fortunes of the nation hence the advent of the Bill.

The Attorney General noted that it is only when cases of corruption are thoroughly investigated and culprits punished with proceeds of the corrupt acts fully recovered, that a deterrent can be served against corruption.

She noted it will only take political will to investigate and prosecute cases when politically exposed individuals and hierarchy persons.

The Bill, she said, insulates the Office of the Special Prosecutor from the interference of the AG and any other in the performance of its duties and grants the SP and its officials the power of a police officer according to other laws of the land.

Presenting its report to the house, Chairman of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Ben Abdallah Banda said the Bill was subjected to a proper scrutiny and has come to the conclusion that it will significantly fight corruption.

He disclosed that inputs were received from several stakeholder Authorities on the subject of corruption through memos and conferences.

Ranking Member on the Committee, Inusah Fuseini raised concerns about the potential conflict of the Office of the Special Prosecutor with functions of the AG according to article 88 (3 and (4) of the 1992 constitution.

Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu however debunked the Ranking Member’s claims and said there OSP’s role does not conflict the AG’s.

Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu gave an assurance that the Minority in Parliament and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as a party will support every effort aimed at fighting corruption especially the Office of Special Prosecutor.

He cautioned that in an attempt to create such an office, the principles of laws on corruption must be followed to avoid creating an impression as if corruption was an NDC phenomenon.

The Tamale South Member of Parliament urged that whoever becomes the SP must be prepared to work with accurate and reliable facts before the courts in the performance of its functions.

The Special Prosecutors Bill, 2017 was laid by the sector Minister on Monday, July 31, 2017 for passage in accordance with article 106 of the 1992 constitution.

The Bill is aimed at establishing an Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialized agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in the commission of corruption and prosecute these offences on authority of the Attorney General.

Source: Christian Kpesese/ thePublisher

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