Chairman of Parliament’s Legal and Constitutional Committee Ben Abdallah Banda has revealed the much-awaited Office of the Special Prosecutor may not be fully functional this year.
The comment is a sharp contrast to the assurances given by the president and the government that the Office will be created and fully functional this year.
The Office is expected to spearhead the Akufo-Addo administration’s fight against corruption with an independent prosecutor.
The Special Prosecutor is part of the 2016 campaign promise by the then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo who was bent on fighting corruption.
There have been accusations of witch-hunting anytime a government in power wants to hold previous government officials accountable for their actions.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor is supposed to handle investigations and prosecutions of all criminal cases in an independent, non-partisan way.
There have been questions about whether or not the creation of the office through a Legislative Instrument will be acceptable under the law.
An initial attempt to have MPs pass the law that will give legal backing to the office suffered a jolt with the Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu later withdrawing the bill from Parliament.
Despite the setback, the president promised the law will be passed this year and prosecutions will start in earnest.
But it appears those eager to see prosecutions from this office may have to wait till next year.
Speaking to Raymond Acquah on Upfront, the Offinso South MP explained that even though the bill will be passed this year it will only be allocated funds in the 2018 budget.
“When Parliament resumes, we will submit the report before the plenary. The bill will be taken through the second reading. Having done that we will get to the consideration stage. That is where it will take a little bit of time.
“When that is over then it will just go through. We intend to do all this before the end of October.
He said when it passed into law, an appointment will now be made to the office. He expects the office to be functional next year.
He also disagreed with some critics of the creation of Office of the Special Prosecutor.
He said the framers of the Constitution did not envisage the creation of the office of the prosecutor but said like how the EOCO was created through an Act of Parliament, the office of the Special Prosecutor can also be created through the same channel.
He said where the Constitution doesn’t explicitly make provision for a situation, that situation can be catered for through an Act of Parliament.