Parliament approves GH¢170.5m for the Office of Special Prosecutor

Kissi Agyebeng – Special Prosecutor

Parliament has approved GH¢170.5 million for the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to implement its programme of activities for the 2022 fiscal year.

The breakdown of the total amount of GH¢170,504,000.00 in respect of programmes include GH¢116,818,925.00 for Management and Administration, whereas GH¢53,685,075.00 was for Anti-Corruption Management.

With regards to budgetary allocations by economic classification of the total sum: GH¢65,000,000.00 be expended on compensation of employees, GH¢40,504,000.00 on goods and service, while GH¢65,000,000.00 would be spent on capital expenditure (Capex).

Mr Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, Chairman, Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who presented the Committee’s report to the House, said the Committee observed that all the budgetary allocation of GH¢124,103,085.00 for the 2021 financial year, had been released to the OSP, but only GH¢58,461,165.53, representing about 47 per cent had been utilized as at November 2021.

He said the OSP explained that the low utilization was largely occasioned by the resignation of the former Special Prosecutor which stalled the operations of the Office during the year under review.

“He (The Special Prosecutor) however, informed the Committee that the remaining budget had already been committed for their intended purposes and would be expended before the year ends,” the Chairman stated.

Mr Antwi noted that the Special Prosecutor expressed serious concerns about the inadequacy of the 2022 budgetary allocation of GH¢170,504,000.00 to the OSP.

He said the Special Prosecutor explained that the Office was a new establishment which was yet to operationalize its functions.

The Chairman said according to the OPS, procurement of security, surveillance, counter-surveillance and intelligence equipment; retrofitting of its newly acquired building to accommodate installation of relevant information and communication facilities; forensic laboratory; cyber detection devices; and procurement of computers and vehicles were the basic capital projects required to be able to commence operations.

He said the OSP estimated GH¢1.2 billion would be required to fully operationalize and effectively carry out the mandate of the Office.

Mr Antwi said in view of the various difficulties in securing all the required funding in the 2022 financial year, the Committee recommended to the OSP to prioritize the expenditure such that aspects of the functions of the Office could be fully operationalized, while gradually bringing the other functional areas on stream.

With regards to staffing Mr Antwi noted that Section 19 of the OSP Act, 2017 (Act 959) empowered the Governing Board to establish four main divisions namely Finance and Administration Division; Investigations Division; Prosecutions Division and Asset Recovery and Management Division in addition to other divisions that the Board might consider necessary to effectively carry out the functions of the Office.

He said the OSP indicated that the target for 2022 was to operationalize the four mandatory Divisions and create additional two Divisions by mid-year.

He said accordingly, the Office plans to recruit and train 249 staff to work in the six Divisions.

The Chairman said the Special Prosecutor informed the Committee that at the moment there was only one Staff who was on the Government payroll – the one Prosecutor and the Investigator were all retirees who were on contract terms, adding that the supporting staff were all seconded.

Touching on the lack of a Governing Board for the OSP, Mr Antwi said in furtherance of Article 190 (3) of the Constitution, Section 5 of the OSP Act, 2017 (Act 959) provides for the establishment of the Governing Board, to among other things, formulate policies necessary for the effective performance of the mandate of the Office, which includes procurement and recruitment of competent Staff.

He said the Committee was informed that the Governing Board was yet to be constituted pursuant to Article 70 (1) (d) (iii) of the Constitution.

He said the Committee recommended to the President to, as a matter of urgency, constitute the Governing Board to facilitate the operationalization process of the Office.

“The Committee, having examined the budget estimates of the OSP for the 2022 fiscal year, is of the view that the programmes of activities outlined for the year would go a long way to facilitate the operationalization of efforts of the Office and its quest to earnestly prevent corruption, investigate and prosecute specific cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences, and recover the proceeds of corruption and corruption-related offences.”

Source: GNA

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