The Office of the Special Prosecutor will struggle without the Right to Information (RTI) bill, General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia has said.
According to him, without the bill, the Special Prosecutor will find it difficult retrieving information especially from government offices.
“The most important bill, even more important than the Special Prosecutor office is the freedom to information Act. If someone comes with a complaint on a bloated price of a project, it will be difficult to crosscheck because if you request for it from government offices, they will tell you they can’t because of official secrecy. If you don’t bring the freedom of information Act, and ask the special prosecutor to do its job, you are going to complicate things for him,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo on Tuesday, January 2, 2017, appended his signature to the bill setting up the Special Prosecutor office after it was approved by Parliament in November 2017.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor marks the fulfillment of a major campaign promise of Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 elections aimed at fighting corruption.
But members of the opposition NDC have complained that the office cannot be independent since the Special Prosecutor will certainly be appointed by the President.
Speaking on Ekosii sen, a late afternoon political talk show on Accra based radio station, Asempa FM, Asiedu Nketia charged government to ensure that the Special Prosecutor is made as independent as possible.
“The Attorney General is an NPP member that is why she cannot prosecute her own party members. And if it were NDC in power, the Attorney General will have similar constraint. That is why the NPP government found it necessary to create that office. So the person to occupy that position should be very independent in a way that she or he can even arrest their own party members. It is a very difficult thing to do but it has to be done,” he added.
“If they appoint another NPP lawyer to that high office, then its work will be a work in futility. The greater problem at hand is to appoint a person who can prosecute both NDC and NPP corrupt officials,” Asiedu Nketia noted.
About RTI bill
The RTI Bill has been in legislation for well over a decade since successive governments have failed to implement it despite several assurances.
Although the New Patriotic Party government has promised to pass it into law, it is unclear how soon that would be.