Parliament on Friday (30 July) unanimously approved the nomination of Kissi Agyebeng as the special prosecutor.
The 43-year-old has now been cleared to take office as the country’s second special prosecutor since the office was created by an Act of Parliament.
The Appointments Committee of Parliament on Thursday (22 July) vetted the special prosecutor nominee of the President, Akufo-Addo, and approved his nomination within hours.
With his approval by the entire House, the next phase is for President Akufo-Addo to swear him into office in the coming days.
Agyebeng, currently a private legal practitioner with nearly 19 years standing at the Ghanaian bar, answered a myriad of questions from the 26-member parliamentary committee.
Following his approval, Agyebeng, managing partner at Cromwell Gray LLP, is the second person to occupy the office of Special Prosecutor since the Act establishing the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Act 959) came into force in 2017.
Martin Amidu, the country’s first Special Prosecutor resigned from office on 16 November 2020, 21 days to the 2020 Presidential and Parliamentary elections, citing “alleged executive interference” with his work. The Office of the President subsequently denied his allegations, noting that he was given the free hand and resources to operate.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame, on 16 April 2021 wrote to Akufo-Addo, nominating Kissi Agyebeng to serve as special prosecutor in line with section 13(1) and (2) of Act 959.
Section 13(8) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) requires the President to appoint a person qualified for appointment as Special Prosecutor to that position, within six months of the Office of Special Prosecutor becoming vacant subject to the approval of Parliament.
As a result of the events of 16th November 2020, Ms. Jane Cynthia Naa Koshie Lamptey, the Deputy Special Prosecutor, has been acting, in accordance with section 17 (3) of Act 959, which states, “the Deputy Special Prosecutor shall act in the absence of the Special Prosecutor or in the event of a vacancy in the position of the Special Prosecutor.”
She has held the fort for over five months.
The OSP mandate
Act 959, which establishes the Office of the Special Prosecutor, spells out three main objectives of the Office, namely:
(i) investigate and prosecute alleged corruption or suspected corruption and corruption related offences,
(ii) recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption related offences, and
(iii) take steps to prevent corruption.
Functions of the OSP
The functions entrusted to the Office are:
(a) the investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption related offences under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663);
(b) investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged corruption and corruption related offences under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence;
(c) investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption related offences involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence under any other relevant law;
(d) recover and manage the proceeds of corruption;
(e) disseminate information gathered in the course of investigation to competent authorities and other persons the Office considers appropriate in connection with the offences specified in paragraphs (a) and (b);
The Office of Special Prosecutor is to further:
(f) co-operate and coordinate with competent authorities and other relevant local and international agencies in furtherance of the Act; and (g) receive and investigate complaints from a person on a matter that involves or may involve corruption and corruption-related offences.