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Corruption, the Nightmare of the Office of the Special Prosecutor


The Office of the Special Prosecutor has been most touted Office the current government believes will help the fight against corruption and win. However, many holds different opinions concerning the success or otherwise of that office and its occupants. reasons it has to take the Attorney General to begin the prosecution of the Seglemi Housing Project case which lies squarely within the remit of the OSP.

Some believe, occupants of the OSP must be one with the background that have zero tolerance for people purported to be corrupt apart from the person’s academic laurels and experience in the area of prosecution. With such huge expectations from the public on whoever occupies that office, and the way politics is done in the country, the phenomenon of corruption undoubtedly becomes a nightmare.

Currently, corruption is a wholesale word in the Ghanaian political space as well as in public service. It is deeply rooted and dealing with it has been a thorn in the back of all governments. Former President Kuffuor for example is noted to have said: “corruption is as old as Adam” demonstrating his frustration to deal with the menace.

The consequences of the country’s inability to win the battle against corruption is actually mind bugling as we have all come to understand as a nation. Indeed, we can, but for nothing, not sit to allow few people enrich themselves from the tax payers’ money through any dubious means. Action is needed now and the nonsense must stop so the country can have enough resources to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure, help businesses to grow, create jobs for the unemployed and reduce the huge indebtedness of the country.

As a state, we have never been oblivious about fighting corruption. Every government at one stage or the other have tried their hands on something, however, none have yielded any substantial result. There have been established institutions such as the Economic and Organize Crime Office (EOCO), the Police CID, Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the National Investigative Bureau (NIB) and National Security mandated by law with powers to arrest investigate and prosecute corruption related matters. None of these have given the nation the result that is needed. These institutions, at one time, are supposed to be independent with no interference from any individual, but only God knows how they have fared.

With the establishment of the OSP with a legal barking Act 959, many thought the age old phenomenon will be a thing of the past or much will be achieved but that cannot be said to be the case since the first occupant of the office had to abandon it, citing several challenges and bottlenecks in the way of the OSP such as lack of office accommodation, lack of personnel, and more importantly, political interference.

The aim of the specialized agency is to investigate acts of corruption involving public officers, politically exposed persons, and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of corruption. The office also has the power to prosecute persons engaged in acts of corruption on the authority of the Attorney-General as per the object for establishing it.

The establishment of this office and the appointment of whoever to head the place is not the ultimate to bring corruption to an end in this country. It only shows commitment by the government to deal with people who are corrupt and actually, it is an addition to what already existed. Thus, if existing institutions on several occasions are unable to deal with the problem, then one can effectively conclude that corruption is a nightmare for the OSP.

The question is; what makes the special prosecutor’s office special from all the other agencies that already exist? The office is going to work under the authority of the Attorney General who forms part of the executive arm of government. For many of us, if the Attorney General is independent, then, the special prosecutor will be independent. But that is not the case because, the Attorney General, in accordance with the constitution forms part of the Executive and sits in cabinet to take part in cabinet deliberations. this makes it difficult for such a person to prosecute his/her own colleagues in government when they are found to be corrupt.

The most independent body supposed to fight corruption without fear or favour, is the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice. This is a constitutional body, however, to some extent, the office has been compromised politically and have not successfully delivered on it mandate for the nation. The institutional bottlenecks with CHRAJ and EOCO is the lack of prosecutorial powers to deal with incidence of corruption.

It must be understood that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is an addition to institutions already mandated by law to help fight corruption. should all the existing institutions be given the independence they require according to the law that created them, we should be able to make great improvement in our fight against the menace.

The solution to the problem now as a nation is by strengthening the existing institutions. This is because, ability of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to fight against corruption is not guaranteed. We need to enhance accountability in governance. There must be effective separation of powers to ensure all the various arms of government are working with no compromises. Parliament must at all times be prepared to provide its oversight responsibility on the Executive, this can effectively be done when the 1992 constitution is amended in order not to appoint ministers of state from among members of parliament. And, the Judiciary must be prepared to adjudicate matters with no fear or favour.

The Special Prosecutor is not the ultimate to stop a deeply rooted problem like corruption which cut across all aspects of our lives. All other institutions must contribute their bits in the fight and maybe, we can make progress.

In conclusion, to make the OSP more independent to fight corruption without interference, parliament must work to amend Article 88 of the 1992 constitution which ties the responsibility of the Attorney General with the Minister of Justice. This will make the Attorney General more independent than the Special Prosecutor who can truly take on corrupt officials even when they are still in government.


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Ghanaian Kuffuor OSP Office of


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