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CSOs call for broad public consultation on OSP Bill

Accra, July 25, GNA – The Coalition of CSO has
called on the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs to exercise discretion under the Constitution to
allow for broad consultation on the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill,
2017 was laid before Parliament.

A statement issued in Accra by Nana
Osei-Bonsu, Chairman Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), said the Coalition
was concerned with the manner in which the Bill was laid before Parliament:
under a Certificate of Urgency, and the expectation that the Bill would be
passed before Parliament rises in the first week of August 2017.

It said the Coalition shares the same desire
with the President to see the Office established as soon as possible, that
desire should not undermine the need for broad public consultation and thorough
review of the Bill.

“Besides, a key objective of the Bill is to
establish an independent office that will be able to deal with corruption
involving political exposed persons and to avoid accusations of ‘witch
hunting’,” it added.

The statement said to accomplish that
objective required that opportunity was provided for groups and interested
citizens to make inputs into the legislation and this would ensure the
legitimacy of the office and needed public support.

The Coalition will use the opportunity during
the recess to engage with the Committee, Leadership of House and the general
public to ensure a credible Bill is passed with the full support of the public.

It said fortunately for Ghana, the creation of
an office of special prosecutor was one subject matter that both the New
Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democracy Congress (NDC) agree and ably
captured in their 2016 manifestoes.

“We also wish to commend the effort of the NDC
led 6th Parliament for adopting the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan
(NACAP) in 2014 as well as the 7th Parliament led by the NPP for committing to
implement the NACAP, which provides for the establishment of an Independent
Prosecution Authority under its Strategic Objective 4 (13),” it said.

The Coalition has, therefore, called on the
Speaker of Parliament and the Leadership of Parliament to reduce partisan
bickering on an idea that both sides of Parliament fully endorsed under the
NACAP and focus on the serious challenge of tackling corruption in Ghana, an
agenda that Ghanaians overwhelmingly support.

GNA

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