Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo has stated that the Special Prosecutor’s Bill is not a sole requirement for prosecuting corrupt government officials but rather one that creates an independent body for addressing such specific cases of corruption.
He said: “I believe that we have put too much emphasis on the special prosecutor. People have been prosecuted and sentenced and jailed in this country without a special prosecutor. The laws are very clear. We need it because it will help accelerate and facilitate matters.”
The Senior Minister made the statement in an interview during the 25-year Thanksgiving Celebration of Ghana’s democracy.
After more than 170 amendments had been made to the bill, Parliament passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill in November last year, which will allow for the establishment of an independent anti-corruption institution to deal with public officials who have been deemed or found liable to corrupt dealings.
The Bill gives power to a new independent prosecutor who will be tasked with the responsibility of prosecuting past and present public officers deemed to have been corrupt.
However, the Senior Minister said the state can still prosecute corrupt officials without necessarily having the Special Prosecutor’s bill in place. “We cannot say that without the special prosecutor we cannot prosecute clients. We can still fight corruption with or without the special prosecutor”.
Speaking on the relevance of the thanksgiving celebrations on the country’s democratic credentials, Osafo Maafo said the fact that there hasn’t been any military intervention for 25 years especially after five military interventions since independence is worth celebrating. He added that It will impact on the unity of the nation.
He said: “we have gone through four Republics and the longest is the fourth republic, this brings together all Ghanaians from all political persuasions to celebrate this silver jubilee and I think it’s a very important occasion for national recognition, national unity and to remind ourselves where we’re coming from. There have ben 5 military interventions, but we’ve had 25 years without military intervention and we should congratulate ourselves for this stability”.
He advised President Akufo-Addo to continue consulting other political parties to get other opinions other than from his own political party because politics should not be a reason for national division.