The Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr Martin Amidu has debunked claims that he has submitted a tall list of Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for possible prosecution on corruption-related offences.

Media reports quoted Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu as saying that “Parliament, through the SP, has received a tall list of parliamentarians, both NDC and NPP members who will be facing possible prosecution by the SP for various offences.”

In a press release issued on Thursday, June 6, 2019 to respond to the issues raised by the Majority leader, Mr Amidu explained that nine out of 275 MPs being investigated could not be said to be a tall list.

Below are details of the press release from
the office of the SP:

THE OFFICE OF THE
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR HAS NO TALL LIST OF MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FOR POSSIBLE
PROSECUTION

Silence, they say, is
golden. But there is also the saying that in normal social and administrative
interaction “silence means consent except in the law of contract”.

The Minister for
Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, the Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, is
reported in a publication on Ghana Web of 5th June 2019 to have said in an
interview on Okay FM’s Ade Akye Abia as paraphrased by the report that: “….
Parliament through the Special Prosecutor has received a tall list of
parliamentarians, both NDC and NPP members who will be facing possible
prosecution by the SP for various offences.”

The Office of the
Special Prosecutor wishes for the purpose of transparency and accountability to
state unequivocally that the Office has not submitted any tall list of
parliamentarians from both the NDC and the NPP to the Leadership of Parliament
as the list of parliamentarians or “members who will face possible prosecution
by the SP for various offences.”

The Office of the
Special Prosecutor has from time to time made written requests to the Rt. Hon.
Speaker to release named Members of Parliament to assist it in conducting
investigation into allegations of the suspected commission of corruption and
corruption-related offences.

Apart from the Hon.
Mahama Ayariga, who is a 1st Accused in a pending case filed in the High Court
and therefore facing possible prosecution, the Office has not made any decision
whether or not to charge any other Member of Parliament for a corruption
offence let alone for such member to face possible prosecution by this Office.

Should there be any
bi-partisan agenda for publishing such untruths the public should be told
upfront and boldly of their intentions and not through subterfuge.

About eight (8) other
Members of Parliament from the NDC and the NPP, aside from the Hon. Mahama
Ayariga, have been invited and released by Mr Speaker for statements to be
taken from them for suspected corruption and corruption-related offences.

The investigators have
not submitted any investigation dockets or recommended to the Special
Prosecutor whether or not they ought to be charged with any corruption
offences.

The Office of the
Special Prosecutor wishes to state that nine out of 275 Members of Parliament
cannot by any acceptable use of the English language be said to be a tall list
even for the purposes of an invitation to release Members of Parliament to
assist the investigation of corruption offences.

The records must
therefore be set right by not remaining silent and lend credence to the
falsehood that there is a tall list from the Special Prosecutor of “members who
will be facing possible prosecution by the SP for various offences.”

The Office of the
Special Prosecutor shall, particularly, under the present first Special
Prosecutor continue to invite members of both the Executive and Parliament
without fear or favour, affection or ill will, to assist the Office in
investigating the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-offices or
as witnesses in such cases as required by the mandate of the Office.

When the list gets
tall it will mean that the stables of corruption are getting very dirty and
smelly and need to be cleared vigorously to excise the canker as demanded by
the electorate at the 2016 Elections and actualized by His Excellency the
President and Parliament. The Office has no evidence of such a tall list yet.

It is true as
disclosed in the interview by the Minister and Majority Leader who is a dual
member of the Executive and the Legislature, that the Leadership of Parliament
engaged the Office of the Special Prosecutor, represented by the Special
Prosecutor and the Deputy Special Prosecutor, in the morning of 3rd June 2019
in discussions over Hon. Mahama Ayariga, a 1st Accused person whose case was
pending for hearing (arraignment) on 4th June 2019 pursuant to a Cause List
issued by the High Court, Accra.

The invitation by the
Rt. Hon Speaker to the Special Prosecutor for the discussion was dated 31st May
2019 and received in the evening of the same day and has reference number
OP/SPKR/19/030 and is not a classified document.

The Special Prosecutor
made it clear at the discussions with the Leadership of Parliament that no
provisions of the Constitution referred to by the Rt. Hon. Speaker in his
invitation letter and submission at the meeting were applicable to Members of
Parliament charged as accused persons for the crimes of corruption and put
before a Court of competent jurisdiction for trial.

The determination of
the days on which the trial criminal court will conduct the trial was entirely
for the Court to decide and not for the Special Prosecutor to compromise in a
private meeting with the Leadership of Parliament.

The Special Prosecutor
stated clearly that the Office will abide by any decision rendered by the Courts
on the matter but will not in a side-meeting with the Leadership of Parliament
agree, in advance, not to oppose such an application when raised by lawyers for
the accused persons in Court simply because of their membership of Parliament.

The Rt. Hon. Speaker’s
certificate on immunities and privileges to the Court on 4th June 2019 was
issued after the engagement of this Office with Parliament on 3rd June 2019 and
the results are well known.

The Executive and
Parliament have a Constitutional and legal duty to respect the independence and
impartiality of the Office of the Special Prosecutor as promised to the
electorate in the 2016 elections.

Any appearance of a
bi-partisan mounting of pressure on the decision making process of the Office
of the Special Prosecutor sends a wrong signal not only to the citizens of
Ghana but also to the international community to whom the appearance was given
that all citizens are willing to equally submit to investigation and
prosecution for suspected corruption and corruption-related offences.

The fight against
suspected corruption has to be engaged in whole heartedly by every citizen and
with total commitment as enjoined by the Constitution.

This is the time to
move from lip service to real action in the fight against corruption subject
only to the due process of the law.

The Special Prosecutor
wishes to assure the Ghanaian public whose votes actualized the Office that he
is not going to betray them and walk away from this job to satisfy any
bi-partisan pressure.

The solution to
gaining exception for Members of Parliament from investigation and possible
prosecution for suspected corruption offences is to get the first Special
Prosecutor out of office in a bi-partisan manner by impeachment or to allow the
appropriate independent constitutional institution to do so.

It will not work to
allege a bi-partisan tall list for possible prosecution of parliamentarians
when no such a tall list exists or has been submitted by the Special
Prosecutor’s Office to any office: it only enables the creation of an
artificial bi-partisan smoke screen for purposes of unduly delaying or running
away from justice for a category of suspects accused of the commission of
corruption offences.

Source: Nana Aba Mensah | Adomonline