My biggest fear is interference from church and family members – Special Prosecutor

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Kissi Agyebeng – Special Prosecutor

Ghana’s special prosecutor said today that he is not afraid of political interference and that he will ignore any interference in his work, even if it comes from the president, but what he fears most, it is interference from the church and members of its family.

In response to a question about interference in his work, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng said that in order to avoid interference in his work, before accepting the offer to serve as a special prosecutor, he had discussions with the powers that be to ensure that there is an agreement not to interfere with its work. He said he had also held meetings with traditional rulers and decided that they would not interfere if any of their matters became the subject of an investigation by the office.

He said, however, that his greatest fear was interference from church, friends and family members.

“Imagine there is a family reunion, someone has committed the crime of corruption and the head of the family is begging, it is more difficult than if the president picks up a phone to call him and tell him what to do. ‘this is a familiar person. That I am not afraid ”, he declared.

Speaking to reporters at a press briefing today December 9, 2021 to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day, he said Ghana was taking remarkable steps in its quest to suppress and crack down on corruption.

“The recent amendment to the Criminal Offenses Act under the Criminal Offenses (Amendment) Act 2020 (Act 1034) to change bribery and bribery-related offenses from misdemeanors to second degree crimes is revealing an awareness of the destructiveness of corruption and a desire to stem the tide of such offenses by imposing harsher penalties on offenders.

Ghana made its most definitive statement on the fight against corruption with the passage of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Act 2017 (Act 959) which entered into force on January 2, 2018 and established the Office of the Prosecutor. (OSP) as the gold standard and flagship independent specialist anti-corruption agency, in accordance with the Convention, for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting specific cases of suspected or suspected corruption and related offenses to corruption in the public and private sectors, by recovering the proceeds of these acts from disgorging illicit and unexplained wealth and taking measures to prevent corruption, ”he said.

He further stated that the notable advance is that the OSP is strengthened by addressing the shortcomings of existing anti-corruption agencies by being designed as an anti-corruption agency comprehensive with investigations, prosecutions, intelligence gathering, surveillance and counter-surveillance, police, national security and revenue-generating powers.

“The PSO is therefore a vital institution for economic development,” he said.

According to Agyebeng, the OSP has completed its review of all suspected cases of corruption and corruption-related offenses brought before it. At present, the OSP is investigating 31 ongoing cases and will in due course initiate prosecution in the courts of cases it considers conclusive. There are no cases initiated by the OSP pending in court at the moment, he added.

“I decide that over the coming year, the OSP will institute and strengthen measures to prevent, suppress and suppress corruption more effectively than ever in this Republic. This should bode well for Ghana to take concrete steps to reduce the incidence of corruption.

I started working with law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies including Attorney General, National Security Secretariat, Ghana Police Service, Human Rights Commission man and administrative justice, the Office of Economic and Organized Crime and the Financial Intelligence Center, ”he said.

He said he has opened insightful interactions and meetings with foreign and diplomatic missions and international organizations in accordance with their regime of mutual legal assistance and that of the Convention.

“I invited the participation and collaboration of anti-corruption civil society, non-governmental and community organizations, the media and investigative journalists to support the work and operations of the PSO in our collective effort to fight against corruption. I say with satisfaction that the response has been enthusiastic.

From January 2022, the OSP will institute, as part of its push for progress campaign, an annual League Against Corruption in Ghana table to assess perceived levels of public sector corruption in expert assessment and businessmen. For this, public agencies would be ranked against each other on a corruption barometer and the results would be made public every December 9, ”he said.

He also noted that the PSO would require all public institutions, departments, agencies and enterprises to prepare and submit integrity plans intended to assess gaps in their regulations, procedures, policies, guidelines, administrative instructions and control mechanisms. internal to determine their vulnerability and exposure. corrupt practices and the prescription of remedial measures to manage this vulnerability to corruption and corruption-related offenses.

“I am putting in place internal control mechanisms to prevent corruption at the PSO itself,” he said.

Mr. Agyebeng was sworn in in August this year to replace the very first special prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who resigned in protest, seeing, among other reasons, interference in his work on the part of the political system.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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Jerry B. Hatch