Lawyer calls for disassociation of public prosecutions from duties of Attorney-General
This, he said, would ensure effective public prosecution and restore confidence in the country’s judicial system.
Article 88 (1) of the 1992 Constitution establishes the Attorney-General as a Minister of State and the principal legal adviser to the Government.
Section (3) of the Article stipulates that: “The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences, while section (4) said, “All offences prosecuted in the name of the Republic of Ghana shall be at the suit of Attorney-General or any other person authorised by him in accordance with any law.”
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, on the sideline of a National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) constitution review engagement, organised for members of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Customs Division, in Accra, Mr Brobbey, said prosecutions were technical duties which must not be left in the hands of political actors.
“Prosecutions are not political things, they are technical things, either the person has committed the offence or not, so, you don’t want the political person being the ultimate persona in all decisions,” he said.
He noted that in some countries, steps had been taken to decouple this position from the Attorney-General, particularly the prosecutorial role, adding that many countries had independent director of prosecutions that was separate from the Attorney-General.
He said, going forward, and when the time for a review of aspects of the constitution arrived, Article 88 must be looked at, and the necessary changes made, to decouple this role from the duties of the Attorney-General.
“So, one thing that we certainly need to look at is…and creating a role for a public prosecutor that is separate from that of the Attorney-General, like we did in 57 and 1960.” Mr Brobbey proposed.
The engagement formed part of NCCE’s annual constitution week activities, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of the Constitution.
It also sought to solicit inputs from Ghanaians to enable the Commission compile a report to demand for constitutional review.
Government, in 2010, established a Constitution Review Committee to solicit from Ghanaians, their views on the operation of the 1992 Constitution, particularly its strengths and weaknesses.
Also, the recommendations was lead to the drafting of a bill for possible amendments to the Constitution.
However, more than a decade after the Commission presented its report and recommendations to the Government, it was yet to implement them.
This has led to intensified calls in recent times on the need for government to revisit the recommendations and implement them.
Mr Brobbey who is the Head of Law Department at the Lancaster University, Ghana, supported the call for a review of the country’s constitution, to enable it to meet current demands.
He noted that after 30 years of its implementation, it was only logical that the Constitution was reviewed to meet the changing times, saying: “Every country constantly reforms and reviews their constitutions to make it better to adopt to changes and circumstances, and we in Ghana should do the same, and hopefully it’s given more priority in the coming years.”
He encouraged Ghanaians to continue to make demands for the review of the Constitution to better governance.
Ms Lucille Hewlett Annan, Greater Accra Regional Director, NCCE, said Ghanaians must take keen interest in the country’s democracy and actively participate to strengthen its tenets and ensure that it delivered the necessary development to the people.
“We do not want to see only the politicians playing their parts in democracy,” she said.
“We need citizens to actively participate in democracy, so, whenever a call is made on them to ask or participate actively in democracy, they should also rise up in justification and give their views.” Ms Annan emphasised.
She urged the Government to listen to the voices of Ghanaians in their call for a constitutional review as that would encourage citizens’ participation in the country’s democracy.