The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has commended the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for submitting its report on the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to Parliament but has called for transparency and competitiveness in the appointment of the Special Prosecutor.
With the submission of the final report to Parliament on October 17, the Coalition acknowledged the processes that the Bill is being taken through and the ensuing debate but called on the Legislative body to consider its proposal submitted to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
This proposal, contained in a memorandum to the Committee, is expected to contribute to ensuring that the appointment process for the Special Prosecutor and Deputy Special Prosecutor is open and competitive.
Specifically, the Coalition proposed advertising the position for Ghanaians home and abroad to apply, and also an ad hoc interview panel/committee comprising individuals with the requisite knowledge and/or experience of the job requirements.
These persons, they stated should be nominated by stakeholders including; the Judiciary, Public Services Commission, traditional authority, religious groups, civil society, professional bodies and the private sector, to scrutinize and recommend at least three applicants for consideration by the Attorney General.
They also proposed that the Attorney General selects one candidate out of the three shortlisted and forward the name for vetting and approval by a majority of members of Parliament present, before being appointed by the President.
In a statement signed by the Executive Director of Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Linda Ofori-Kwafo, and other notable leading members of the Coalition, they said their proposal is premised on the fact that the current rendition of the appointment process in Clause 12 is insufficient to cure the challenges of political bias.
“We believe the current provision is likely to undermine public trust and confidence in the independence of the Office of the Special Prosecutor if not further amended.”
They encouraged both sides of the House; Minority and Majority, to continue the debate on the Bill in a bipartisan manner, and further pledged to support to the Committee and Parliament in the effort to pass a credible Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017.