Ghana: Appointments Committee Recommends Agyebeng As Special Prosecutor

Kissi Adjebeng, Special Prosecutor nominee at the vetting today

Accra, Ghana//-Parliament’s Appointments Committee has unanimously recommended for approval the nomination of Kissi Adjebeng as Special Prosecutor by consensus.

This comes less than an hour after the law lecturer’s over three-hour vetting by members of the Committee on Thursday.

Speaking to Adom News moments after the meeting, Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei Owusu said the members were satisfied with the answers provided by the nominee hence their approval.

Mr Osei Owusu, however, added that their report is expected to be laid before the House either on Friday or Tuesday.

Vetting 

Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Thursday vetted Kissi Agyebeng for the position of Special Prosecutor.

Mr Kissi Agyebeng, who was nominated by Attorney General, Godfred Dame on April 16, informed the Committee chaired by First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu on how he will execute his mandate without bias if approved.

The roles of the Special Prosecutor include prevent, investigate and prosecute issues of corruption under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), as well as recover and manage assets and proceeds of corruption.

Follow the updates of his vetting below:

I’ll make corruption a costly venture 

Mr Adjabeng said he will make corruption a costly venture.

“I am not naïve to say that I am here to stop corruption, and indeed God himself will not even acclaim to that, but I’m going to make corruption very costly to engage in,” he stressed.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor is tasked to prevent, investigate, and prosecute corruption issues under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), and recover and manage assets and proceeds of corruption.

Responding to questions during his vetting before Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Thursday, on corruption, conflict of interest and others, the nominee said he has developed strategies to fight corruption if approved.

“I will institute what I call, pressure for progress and institute systemic review of public sector institutions and the development of integrity.

“Why can’t we have our own corruption perception index and publish them as to which institution is performing well and in that quest. If you are head and your sector is drawing the last straw, I’m sure you will sit up and this, the law gives me the mandate to do,” he indicated.

The 43-year-old says he will count on his experience, training and competence to manage the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

If approved, Kissi Adjabeng will take over from his predecessor, former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who resigned from office on November 16, 2020, three years after he was appointed by President Akufo-Addo.

He told the Appointments Committee he will draw on his experience to lead the office.

“I prefer to wear my own shoes in the sense that I am my own man, and I am coming with my own experiences and professional training, conscience and learning of the law as my strategy.

The former prosecutor Martin Amidu criticised the nomination of Kissi Adjabeng.

According to Mr Amidu, the 43-year-old lawyer is a surrogate of Africa Legal Associates, a firm founded by the President’s cousin, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who, according to him, played various roles in the botched Agyapa royalty deal.

But he rejected the tag, stating he played no role in the deal.

He also dismissed Mr Amidu’s claims that he is a surrogate and described those making those claims as “uninformed”.

I’ll prefer to wear my own shoes

For the Special Prosecutor nominee, Kissi Agyebeng, carving a unique style of fighting corruption in the country when given the nod is very important.

According to him, he desires to “be his own man” to execute strategies per his “experiences and professional training.”

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, compared the appointee to his predecessor, asking, “How prepared are you to fall into the heavy shoes of Martin Alamisi Amidu given his enormous experience and background?”

In response, Mr Agyebeng said, “Honourable Chair, I will prefer to wear my own shoes. In the sense that I am my own man, and I am coming with my own experiences and professional training.

“In this quest, my conscience and my learning of the law are going to be my guide,” he told Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Thursday.

The nominee further pledged to be an anti-graft crusader who will ensure that the canker becomes very costly to undertake.

Acknowledging that the mission of combating the practice will be difficult, Mr Agyebeng expressed his commitment to ask the “tough” questions and hold public officers accountable to save the country’s purse.

“You have my firm commitment. But, you know, corruption is secretive and very, very complex. Most of the time, it transcends national boundaries. So unless the participants of the corrupt activity are opening up to you, it is very difficult on your own to establish that these funds came about unlawfully.

“And so, as I keep saying, if I were to place the burden on you, matched against your lawful income and you cannot reasonably explain the shortfall as to how your lawful income falls short of your wealth, then I will be asking you questions, then I will be calling you in,” he stated.

There’s no way I can stop corruption, but I will make it costly 

Special Prosecutor nominee, Kissi Agyebeng, says he is not going to stop corruption in the country when given the nod as the task is herculean.

“Honourable Chair, I’m not naive to assume that I am coming to stop corruption, there’s no way I can stop corruption. God himself will not even acclaim to that,” he told the Appointments Committee.

However, he was quick to add, “but I am going to make corruption very costly, very very costly to engage in, in terms of conflict of interest.”

Mr Agyebeng was answering questions during his vetting by Parliament’s Appointments Committee, chaired by First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu, on Thursday.

Submitting his strategies to eradicate corruption, if, given the nod, Mr Kissi Agyebeng said he would, “institute what I call pressure for progress, and in this quest, there is going to be a systemic review of all public agencies and the development of integrity plans.”

Also, he intends to set up a Public Corruption Perception Index to rank public sector agencies against each other.

According to him, the move will help fish out which institution is performing well and which institution is not doing well, in terms of corruption.

“In that quest, if you are head of an institution and persistently your institution is drawing the short straw, in terms of the perception of corruption, from the point of view of experts, from the point of view of business people, you will sit up,” he said.

To justify his plans, he observed that “the Act empowers me if I’m given the nod by this House, to institutionalize risk assessment in respect of public agencies.

“The Act also empowers me periodically, if I’m given the nod, to make public, the activities of the OSP and the operations engaged in,” he indicated.

On April 16, Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, nominated Mr Agyebeng, under section 13(3) of Act 959, to the President for consideration as the second occupant of the Office of Special Prosecutor.

This came after the former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu resigned from office on November, 16, 2020

The roles of the Special Prosecutor include prevent, investigate and prosecute issues of corruption under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), as well as recover and manage assets and proceeds of corruption.

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