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'PPP heads to court over unconstitutional appointment of Special Prosecutor'

Written by  Jan 12, 2018
‘’The Special Prosecutor’s Act is legal but unconstitutional, we don’t think it can fight corruption,’’ Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, National Chairman of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), has said.   He gave the hint on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the PPP is considering a legal action to seek interpretation on the Act that established the office of the Special Prosecutor and Article 88 which mandates the Attorney-General to initiate prosecutions against people.   In an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Mr. Hammond insisted that, the PPP has consistently argued for the office of the A-G to be separated from the Minister of Justice.   ‘’This is Act of Parliament is unconstitutional.  We have Article 88 which vest the prosecution of criminal cases in the hands of the Attorney-General…Someone can go to the Supreme Court and expect the judges to interpret the truth. The Special Prosecutor will not be independent and special. If we want the Special Prosecutor to be special, we have to amend the constitution. We should also prevent the president from appointing the Special Prosecutor,’’ he said.   ‘’We are speaking with our lawyers and see if we can go to the Supreme Court and seek an interpretation. The Act is legal but it is unconstitutional because of Article 88. The legality is that, they used a lawful process in passing the Act but because of the constitutionality of the provision, it makes it unconstitutional,’’ he added.   He also called on government to revisit the Constitutional Review Committee’s recommendation on Article 88. Meanwhile, the party has issued a statement and given guidelines on how the separation they proposed could be done. The statement read: ‘’ Article 88 (3) & (4) of our 1992 Constitution states that all prosecutions or commencement of prosecutions are the responsibility of the Attorney General. Therefore any attempt to introduce another law to violate the existing fundamental law of the land amounts to nothing but a smokescreen geared towards fulfilling a manifesto promise. The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) demands therefore the immediate initiation of the process to revise the 1992 Constitution to separate the Attorney General’s Department from the Ministry of Justice and establish a Chief State Prosecutor’s Office (The Attorney General).’’ In suggesting the procedure the PPP said: ‘’The Chief State Prosecutor (CSP) could be established as follows: 1. Chief State Prosecutor shall be the Attorney General of the Republic. The CSP shall be nominated by the Ghana Bar Association on the advice of the Judicial Council and approved by Parliament. 2. CSP shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of all criminal offences in the Republic. 3. No one shall institute any prosecutions in the name of the Republic without the authority of the CSP. 4. The CSP shall discharge such other duties of a legal nature as may be referred or assigned to him by Parliament, Supreme Court, or imposed on him by the Constitution or any other law. 5. CSP shall hold office for 10 years upon parliamentary approval of his nomination unless he resigns, removed or dies. 6. CSP before taking office shall subscribe to an oath of allegiance and secrecy of his office administered by the Speaker of Parliament and before all members of Parliament who by law must all be in attendance as by law shall prescribe. 7. CSP in doing his work is entitled to request and receive information from every state official subject only to the existing laws on self-incrimination. 8. A state official who fails and or refuses to provide information requested for by CSP commits high crime and upon conviction shall be liable within the terms of article 2 (5) (a & b) of the Constitution. 9. The only body that could remove CSP from office is the Supreme Court of Ghana upon stated grounds of legal and ethical nature through Petition sent to CHRAJ. 10. Upon CHRAJ finding a prima facie case against the CSP, it shall send its report or decision to the Supreme Court and the public in general. The lasting solution is to make the office of the Attorney General independent of the government and the Presidency by amending article 88 (3) & (4) of our Constitution to estop the President from appointing the Attorney General. Consequently, the PPP will not relent in pursuing the goal to make the Attorney General independent of the government and shall in due course, announce a series of actions to press home our demand for a totally independent  Attorney General.’’      
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