A former Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Justice Emile Short has called on the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, to explain to Ghanaians the factors accounting for his inability to successfully deal with high level corruption cases as expected.
Parliament passed a law in November 2017 to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor as a specialised agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers and individuals in the private sector.
President Akufo-Addo appointed Mr Amidu as the Special Prosecutor to the admiration of the majority of Ghanaians due to his anti-graft track record.
However, a year-and-a-half after his appointment, the office has not prosecuted any public figure for wrongdoing despite pressure from the public.
Speaking on ‘The Citizen’ show on Accra100.5FM on Tuesday, 10 September 2019, Mr Short said the Special Prosecutor must explain why he has been unable to prosecute perceived corrupt appointees of both the erstwhile government and the current government.
Mr Short said: “I’ve great respect for him [Mr Amidu], he’s been described as a Citizen Vigilante, he has a good track record but I agree that people are getting impatient with him because they think that they should have seen more action within the period that he’s been in office. And I think that to that extent, he has to improve his public relations advocacy.
“He should try and explain why he’s not meeting the expectations of the public. I think he also has to indicate why he’s not been able to prosecute as many people as some people expect him to have by this time in spite of the constraints he’s mentioned”.
Mr Amidu has, on different occasions, publicly stated that one of the major challenges hampering his work, aside from his office being under-resourced, is the failure of some appointees of President Akufo-Addo to collaborate with him.
He said it will be practically impossible for him to effectively deliver if the friction between his office and heads of government institutions is not addressed.
“The success of the experiment would depend on the extent to which Ministries, Departments and Agencies in government with the responsibility to cooperate with the office to achieve the vision of the president who championed the setting up of the office.
“The present situation where critical ministries and agencies have failed even with our limited constraints or refused to produce public records on demand to aid the office in critical investigations, offences running into millions of cedis, clearly demonstrates that there is a divergence between the president’s vision and that of some of his appointees.
“You ask for information you can’t get it, you ask for docket, the docket cannot be produced. You ask a minister for a record, the record cannot be produced. How do you fight corruption when those appointed by the president who has a vision are not coordinating with the office of the Special Prosecutor to achieve his mandate? That is the challenge we have to face,” Mr Amidu said at a National Audit Forum organized by the Ghana Audit Service in September 2018.