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14 July 2017

An expatriate for special prosecutor office? [Article]

History is littered with countless examples of sovereign states engaging professionals from different nations to man sensitive national positions.

The rise of Joseph to the position of Prime Minister in pharaoh’s Egypt is a classic example.

Mark Carney, the Governor of the bank of England and the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of England is a Canadian.

Our very own Dr. Edward Larbi Siaw, a Tax Policy Advisor to Ghana’s finance ministry was head of Revenue Authority in Uganda and later Rwanda. Her Ladyship Mrs. Justice Mabel Maame Agyemang, a Ghanaian, was the first female Chief Justice of Gambia.

Austin Neeabeohe Evans Amissah, the 9th Attorney General of Ghana was appointed a Judge in Botwana’s court of appeal from 1981-2001. The professionalism with which these persons executed their works even in foreign lands speaks for itself. If we have the men and women for the job, why then would anybody think of hiring an expatriate for the job of special prosecutor?

Believe it or not, the greatest danger/threat to the very existence of this beautiful nation of ours is neither Galamsey nor illiteracy. It is neither poverty nor unemployment.

But the single most potent threat to Ghana’s fledgling democracy is the ever growing polarization along political and ethnic lines. The scourge of corruption sometimes even pales in comparison to ethno-politico polarization. So polarized is the nation along these lines that, just the mention of one’s favorite food is more than enough information to tell ones ethnic group and political party.

The writer:  Michael Nana-Sasu

The writer: Michael Nana-Sasu

Criminals run to seek refuge behind the cloak of ethno-politico polarization and are well protected. Paramount chiefs intervene for and on behalf of their subjects when they (their subjects) fall foul of the law. The chiefs wade into the matter with their big sandals (Transliterate for effect).

Investigate any public/political office holder and suddenly they metamorphose into witches. Thus the term “witch hunting”. Such is the challenge in store for whoever gets appointed the Special Prosecutor to stand in the eye of the storm of corruption plaguing Ghana. An Independent Special Prosecutor in Ghana will be a nightmare to many a corrupt politician. But then I ask; independent of / from what?

The Attorney General, Madam Gloria Akuffo has on several occasions tried to assuage the fears of the general populace about the likelihood of the special prosecutor becoming a legal puppet of the ruling government.

She said “there will be no pussyfooting as the office will be free to prosecute corruption “expeditiously” and there will be no political interference or micromanagement” Do you honestly believe that? Because I don’t and I’m quite certain the NDC would not believe her too. Not after what the Justice Apau committee was set up to do. Indeed, Achebe was spot on when he said, an old lady can never be comfortable when dry bones are mentioned in proverbs.

A highly placed source at the corridors of power hints of the possibility of hiring an accomplished prosecutor from outside the shores of Ghana (preferably a white person; man or woman they just have to be white) to take up this delicate responsibility. For the first time in a very long time, I belong to a school of thought. I fully support such a bold and audacious move to hire an expatriate to lead the crusade to prosecute corrupt public officials in a bid to realize our full potential as a nation. I will personally advocate that the white expatriate special prosecutor be a strict vegetarian with high disdain for meat lest yaanom trap them with Sukoto Gudali.

I can understand this burgeoning idea of a white expatriate person for the sacred job of prosecuting deep in -the-hole corrupt Ghanaian officials does not sit well with many a politician. To them, it is akin to deploying a hearing impaired macho man from Hohoe at Accra sports stadium gate on a day Accra hearts of Oak is playing host to Bofoakwa United. “No amount” of Ga spoken at the gate can convince him to let you into the stadium to watch the match without you paying the required gate fee. As a way of protest, theywill jump onto any willing media platform in a bogus attempt to fight for jobs for the Ga people.

I suspect strongly that before the first cock crows three times, very seasoned lawyers and others assumed to be seasoned lawyers will advance succinct arguments why the President shouldn’t even attempt to hire an expatriate let alone a white person to prosecute corrupt government officials both in the past and present governments. They will argue that we are a sovereign state and that the black man is capable of managing and mismanaging his own affairs. Some will even suggest that the idea even bothers on neo-colonialism and the appendages of white supremacy. Mention will be made of the ICC and all of its history with some African leaders. These are all cogent and valid arguments but not enough to sway the school of thought that I belong to.

Sometimes, admitting that you have a problem and helpless is the first step towards recovery. The closest we’ve come as a nation to the medal zone of the world cup was in South Africa under the leadership of a white expatriate coach in 2010. But for Gyan’s missed penalty kick, we would’ve made history for the black man. Fast forward to 2014 in Brazil under the leadership of the most capable Ghanaian coach at the time and the shame is worthy of its own hearing. The indiscipline and huge corrupt deals of the Ghanaian politician and many a sports administrator that had been kept under check all these years suddenly erupted like a volcano in Brazil. Three years on and it’s still a shame to recount in detail what transpired in Brazil. In-fact some of the actors of the Brazil debacle might still be candidates of the Special Prosecutors court room.

Make no mistake; there are overly qualified Ghanaian prosecutors for this special job. I just do not think we will be fair to any of these special people.

In Chenue Achebe’s masterpiece “Things Fall apart”, the tragic hero Okwonko committed suicide. As his lifeless body hung swinging from the tree, his countrymen would have nothing to do with his body. It was a taboo. It appears to me that in our part of the world, nobody touches anybody. I don’t know about you, but if my daddy; Stanly Seth Nana-Sasu was the special prosecutor and found me guilty of a corrupt deal, my mother; Lady Diana would spare no time in reminding Daddy a night before the verdict that their son bought the white shirt Daddy would wear to court the following morning. What do you think the verdict will be? Your guess is as good as mine.

We cannot discount the challenges posed by the very constitution in Article 88 (3) and (4) as advanced by Ace Ankomah in an article captioned, Special Prosecutor; How Independent on Wednesday, 25th January 2017 on citifmonline.com. The quoted articles read:
(3) The Attorney- General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences.

(4) All offences prosecuted in the name of the Republic of Ghana shall be at the suit of the Attorney-General or any other person authorized by him in accordance with any law.

The Presidents unmistakable clarity in his decision to appoint an independent special prosecutor has demonstrated the depth of his vision for a prosperous nation and I salute him. But if the Ghanaian people under estimate the reach, connections, threat and will power of the corrupt public official, our fight will end even before it begins. Make no mistake, we are at war. We are at war on two fronts, fighting two separate but similar enemies; Galamsay and Corrupt public holders. Not many Generals will recommend fighting two wars at the same time but if you do, you must put your best foot forward.

Congratulations Dr. Kingsley Nyarko on your appointment as the new Executive Director of Danquah Institute.
God bless our homeland Ghana. God bless the special prosecutor and God bless our President.

By: Michael Nana-Sasu
Writer is a Research Fellow at the Danquah Institute

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