Resourcing the Office of Special Prosecutor to combat corruption

The news media at the weekend published two important news items bordering on corruption that must not pass without comments.

 

The news which must be of grave concern to anti-corruption activities are that the office set up of the office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) may not function properly in its quest to combat corruption in the country.

 

According to the Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, who cast doubt on the readiness of the OSP’s capability to deliver on its mandate, he is unimpressed with the current set-up of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

 

“Our collaboration, I believe can bring about deterrence that we require in the public sector, but I want to submit that Special Prosecutor is not sitting well at all and there is no way he can be effective where he is seated,” he said.

 

Speaking at a public lecture to commemorate the third Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Memorial Lecture, he revealed that the newly created office is fraught with numerous challenges.

 

“I want to invite all of you to visit him but I wont tell you why, go and visit him and you will see whether he can be effective with only one secretary with no investigator,nothing.

 

“It is impossible for Ghanaians to expect Mr Amidu to deliver considering the resources at his disposal, if we want to do something let’s do it well, I believe if the office is well resourced, it will help our nation move forward,” he admonished.

 

The second news that must be of concern to all Ghanaians is the revelation that Ghana losses more than Gh¢13.8 billion or $3bn every year through corruption.

 

The Deputy Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), who revealed this, said the amount represents more than 300 per cent of the total aid Ghana receives in a year and 25 per cent of the 2016 annual budget estimates.

 

Speaking at the Regional stakeholders campaign on the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP) in Ho, last Thursday, he asked, “Imagine what 20 per cent of the nation’s budget could do in the lives of the struggling masses, unemployed and the elderly who are struggling to survive on pension after many years of service, and what $3 billion could do if it was gainfully invested in development of Ghana.

 

Paradoxically he said, if Ghana could build the 420-bed Accra Regional Hospital with a $250 million loan facility, then Ghana can build 12 of those facilities from $3 billion which is looted annually.

 

Weighing the sentiments expressed by the two officials, one would assume that although Ghanaians agree on the need to combat the canker, the effort is not too serious.

 

The Ghanaian Times finds it gravely worrying that a whopping GH¢13.8 billion should be lost yearly through corruption and yet we are unable to resource an outfit that all agree could fight the canker.

 

It would be difficult to explain why about eight months into the establishment of the OSP, it is not fully functional to pursue its mandate and “catch” the looters and protect the nation’s purse.

 

The figures being brandied about as having being looted are frightening.

 

If that should continue for five years, the amount of money the nation is going to lose would be unimaginable.

 

We urge the government to resource not only the OSP but other anti-corruption institutions to enable it combat the menace effectively.

 

The OSP is a special institution that ought to be treated in a very unique way to carry out its assignment regardless of who is involved.

 

We advocate for all citizens to join the fight against corruption to stop the pillage of the country’s resources by corrupt elements amongst us.

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