AMA action stalls work on OSP office complex

THE Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) is in search of a new office accommodation five months after the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) stopped it from continuing with work on the office complex designated to it for not having a permit, the Ghanaian Times has gathered.

The AMA on January 16, 2019 ordered the contractor who was erecting the wall around the office complex to “stop work and produce permit.”

“Certainly, they don’t have permits… We don’t know that it is for the special prosecutors’ office. Whoever the property belongs to, certainly has to apply to the appropriate authority for a permit. The permit is not for us to even charge a fee… It is for us to have proper records of all properties in Accra.

“They should just notify us and furnish us with the documentation as to what exactly they want to do. We will approve it and that ends it,” Nii Adjei Sowah, the Metropolitan Chief Executive of Accra, told Accra based Citi FM at the time.

The office complex located on the Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue at Ridge, Accra, near the Accra International Press Centre, was allocated to the OSP in October 2018 as its permanent office.

The two-storey facility has seven rooms on the ground floor, stores, a conference room and nine rooms on the second floor.

The allocation came following complaints by the Special Prosecutor, Martin Burns Kaiser Alamisi Amidu, that since his appointment in February 2018, the outfit had not been sufficiently resourced to effectively deliver on its mandate.

The Office which had come under scrutiny in recent times for ‘inaction’ currently operates from a one storey building with few bedrooms which have been converted into office spaces and fitted with desks for prosecutors and investigators needed for prosecutions.

The boys’ quarters at the back of the facility, located at Labone, a suburb of Accra, also houses some staff of the OSP and complements the main house turned-into-office.

The Board Chairman of the OSP, Madam Linda Ofori Kwafo, speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Tuesday said plans for the Office to relocate to the Ridge facility has been frozen.

“The conversation for the relocation of the OSP to that facility has been mooted. The plans have changed so we are considering some other facilities where the Office will relocate to,” Mrs Kwafo told the Ghanaian Times.

Mrs Kwafo, however, did not disclose why the OSP had abandoned the Ridge facility and how soon the office would be relocated.

Earlier, the Public Relations Officer of the AMA, Gilbert Ankrah told the Ghanaian Times that since the assembly stopped the contractors from erecting the walls around the Ridge facility, no applications have BE made for a permit to continue with the erection of the walls.

Mr Amidu months after his appointment had complained about the lack of resources for his outfit to operate effectively. 

Government in response in the 2019 budget allocated GH¢180 million to the OSP to fight cases of corruption and other related activities.

“In this budget, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has been allocated an amount of GH¢180 million from GoG with a commitment to provide additional resources during the course of 2019 to enable the Special Prosecutor’s Office carry out its mandate,” the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament in November 2018 when presenting the 2019 budget.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI                                               

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