Minority pressure causes the withdrawal of Special Prosecutor Bill from Parliament

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The loud calls by the Minority caucus in parliament for the withdrawal of the of a Bill that seeks to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor has yielded results as the government has sharply withdrawn the document from the House against its earlier stands.

It is, unclear if the Bill will be re-laid anytime soon as Parliament is scheduled to go on break from August 4.

The Parliamentary, Constitutional and Legal Committee of Parliament last week declined a request by the government for the Bill to be taken through a certificate of urgency and passed in parliament. It was the view of the Committee that the Bill is not as urgent as it is being made to appear.

Led by the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority caucus was concerned with sections of the document, emphasizing that the Bill had not been gazetted at the Assembly Press time it was first laid in the House; on July 18.

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor as envisaged in the Bill will transcend different political regimes, hence, the need for the Committee to engage in broader consultations with Civil Society Groups and other key Stakeholders to solicit their inputs.

“The Committee acknowledges that the Attorney-General’s Office is overburdened in the discharge of its duties and therefore the need to carve out some of its investigative and prosecutorial duties to the proposed Office of the Special Prosecutor. The Committee however, does not see any vacuum created by the absence of the Office of a Special Prosecutor to warrant the Bill to be treated as urgent,” the Committee’s report stated.

Ahead of the 2016 general elections, President Akufo-Addo, who campaigned largely on perceived corruption in the administration of former President John Dramani Mahama, stated on several platforms that should he win the elections, he will ensure an office of a special public prosecutor is created within six months to prosecute ‘certain’ corrupt cases in the public sector.

A Bill to establish a Zongo Development Fund which was laid in the House last week has also been withdrawn by the government. No specific explanation has been given for that action.

Source: Jeorge Wilson Kingson || ghananewsonline.com.gh

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