Retired judge, Francis Emile Short, has bemoaned what he says is the dwindling excitement that greeted Martin Amidu’s appointment as Special Prosecutor.
Speaking Wednesday on the Corruption Watch segment of Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, the respected anti-graft campaigner said although Mr Amidu’s track record as ‘Citizen Vigilante’ is impeccable, a myriad of factors can be blamed for his inability to meet public expectations of his office.
“Many people were expecting that by this time, we would have seen a number of high profile cases being prosecuted in the courts.
“So far as Mr Amidu is concerned, I don’t have any doubt about his integrity, his competence and his ability to discharge his mandate,” he added.
– Emile Short
He said he is unable to tell whether Mr Amidu inability to meet public expectation was due to logistical and financial challenges – which Mr Amidu himself has spoken about many times – or it was due to Mr Amidu’s lack of interest to continue the fight against graft.
President Nana Akufo-Addo’s nomination of the former Attorney-General as the Special Prosecutor in 2018 created a public buzz, with many taking to social media to commend the President for what they described variously as a bold step.
In 2011 Mr Amidu was Attorney-General during the administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the main political opponent of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).
While a handful of the public comments suggested that they were opposed to the appointment because Mr Amidu is a well-known card bearing member of the opposition NDC, many more Ghanaians supported the appointment.
The setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor was in fulfilment of a campaign promise of the then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo.
Ghana’s poor performance on CPI
Commenting generally about corruption in Ghana, the former Commissioner of the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) also outlined factors that he believes led to the country’s ranking on the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
He said although the laws in Ghana can adequately fight corruption, their implementation remains a challenge.
“We have not taken seriously the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan,” he told Daniel Dadzie, host of the Super Morning Show.
“The Executive has the primary responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the plan but there has been no indication that the executive is taking this responsibility very seriously,” he added.
– Ghana’s performance on the CPI
Since 2018, Ghana has scored the same points, 41 out of a possible 100, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report released by Transparency International.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana tied with West African counterpart Benin on 10th, a statement from the local chapter of the organisation, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has said.
The country performed better than 37 other Sub-Saharan African countries including Burkina Faso 40, Lesotho 40, Ethiopia 37, Gambia 37, and Tanzania 37.
Mr Emile Short explained that there is a need to pass very strict bills to check crimes of manipulation crimes by public officers.
He cited the conduct of Public officers bill 2013, which deals with declaration of assets, conflict of interest and also deals with gifts “which is another critical area in the fight against corruption”.