CSOs call for broad public consultation on OSP Bill

Accra, 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.

Source: Ghana News Agency