The Executive Director of the Danquah Institute (DI), Dr Edward Kweku Asomaning, has urged Ghanaians to be patient with Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu, since, according to him, the Office of the Special Prosecutor cannot do its job in a wishy-washy manner.
“I think we need to give him [Mr Amidu] time. I hear people say all the time that: ‘Why hasn’t he brought any prosecution?’ Let’s understand that this is an independent body, he needs to be thorough, it’s not a political witch-hunt, you don’t just go after people because they are NDC or NPP, the facts have to match up and if you are going to do a good job, and not rush to judgment, that takes time”, Dr Asomaning told Benjamin Akakpo on the Executive Breakfast Show on Thursday, 9 May 2019, adding: “Some of these cases that he’s looking into are complex issues and I think as Ghanaians, we should be patient. He’s determined that if there’s corruption, he would expose it, but let’s give him time to do a good job”.
On the perception of corruption, Dr Asomaning said: “I think the initiative by the president to set up this office [OSP], shows great intent – his ability to go after people who are corrupt”.
“Gone are the days”, Dr Asomaining said, “when people engaged in corruption with impudence. It’s not going to happen again”.
“… Government needs to govern but if you have the evidence of any corruption, let’s bring it into the open, it will be investigated and the culprit will be dealt with. On Amidu, let’s be patient with the gentleman”, Dr Asomaning urged.
Mr Amidu was appointed by President Nana Akufo-Addo as Special Prosecutor on Thursday, 11 January 2018 but has yet to begin prosecuting anybody for corruption.
Just a few days ago, the Communication Director of the governing New Patriotic Party and MP for Adentan, Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa, expressed worry about the seeming inaction of the OSP.
“I am aware that the Special Prosecutor wants to establish an institution… a solid institution that will stand the test of time,” he said, adding: “But, I think that office should also be aware that there’s a certain public impatience about seeing something done”.
Mr Buaben Asamoa urged Mr Amidu to “demonstrate some readiness… [and] make some pronouncements. I think some sort of status report at this stage may help us”.
Subsequently, the Board Chair of the OSP, Linda Ofori Kwafo, told the Ghanaian Times that the office will soon publish the cases it is working on.
Doing this, she said, would be in line with Section 3(3) of the OSP Act 2017 (Act 959), which mandates the office to, on a quarterly basis, publish in, at least, two daily newspapers with nationwide circulation and on the website of the Office, what it was doing.
Required to be published, according to the Act, include “the list of corruption cases investigated and prosecuted by the Office” and “the number of convictions secured in respect of the cases prosecuted.”
Mrs Ofori Kwafo said the Office will in no time comply with the provisions of the Act.
“Not long from now, a list [of what the OSP is doing] will be published,” she told the Ghanaian Times on Wednesday, 8 May 2019.
According to her, publishing the list would only fuel accountability at the OSP and engender trust in the anti-graft agency.
The challenge, however, the OSP Board Chair acknowledged, was that, as a new entity, the Office requires time to get going, as preparatory works were needed for the anti-corruption agency to fully start work.
Some of these preparatory works include the appointment of staff members and the constitution of a board of directors as required of a public state institution for the smooth operation of the OSP.
Noting the expectation of Ghanaians in relation to the mandate of the Martin Amidu-led OSP, Mrs Kwafo said Parliament should have given the office a grace period for it to adequately move into action.
Though this grace period escaped everyone connected to the formation of the OSP law, Mrs Kwafo said the office was working assiduously to get the list published “soon.”
The OSP, Mrs Kwafo said, had started investigating some matters bordering on corruption but could only prosecute those cases based on facts than sentiments.
he said the high expectations of Ghanaians of the OSP in fighting corruption, justifiably so, were not properly managed, hence the clamour from people to see what the Office was doing.