Kissi Agyebeng, the special prosecutor nominee, has stated it is impossible for any human to stop corruption, however, he would make it difficult for public officials to engage in the act.
Appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday, Agyebeng said he is coming with his own strategy to help President Nana Akufo-Addo fight corruption.
“I am my own man and I’m coming with my own mind,” Agyebeng told the committee.
He added: “There is no way I can stop corruption. But, I’m going to make corruption very costly to engage in.”
If approved, Agyebeng, the 43-year-old legal practitioner and managing partner at Cromwell Gray LLP, will become the second person to occupy the office of Special Prosecutor since the Act establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Act 959) came into force in 2017.
Martin Amidu, the country’s first Special Prosecutor resigned from office on 16 November 2020, 21 days to the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, citing “alleged executive interference” with his work. The Office of the President subsequently denied his allegations, noting that he was given the free hand and resources to operate.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, on the 16th April 2021 wrote to President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, nominating Kissi Agyebeng to serve as Special Prosecutor, in line with section 13(1) and (2) of Act 959.
Section 13(8) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) requires the President to appoint a person qualified for appointment as Special Prosecutor to that position, within six months of the Office of Special Prosecutor becoming vacant subject to the approval of Parliament.
As a result of the events of 16th November 2020, Ms. Jane Cynthia Naa Koshie Lamptey, the Deputy Special Prosecutor, has been acting, in accordance with section 17 (3) of Act 959, which states, “the Deputy Special Prosecutor shall act in the absence of the Special Prosecutor or in the event of a vacancy in the position of the Special Prosecutor.” She has held the fort for over five months.
The OSP Mandate
Act 959, which establishes the Office of the Special Prosecutor, spells out three main objectives of the Office, namely:
(i) investigate and prosecute alleged corruption or suspected corruption and corruption related offences,
(ii) recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences, and
(iii) take steps to prevent corruption.
Functions of the OSP
The functions entrusted to the Office are:
(a) the investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption related offences under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663);
(b) investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged corruption and corruption related offences under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence;
(c) investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence under any other relevant law;
(d) recover and manage the proceeds of corruption;
(e) disseminate information gathered in the course of investigation to competent authorities and other persons the Office considers appropriate in connection with the offences specified in paragraphs (a) and (b);
The Office of Special Prosecutor is to further:
(f) co-operate and coordinate with competent authorities and other relevant local and international agencies in furtherance of the Act; and (g) receive and investigate complaints from a person on a matter that involves or may involve corruption and corruption-related offences.