Gloria Akuffo[/caption] Legal luminary Akoto Ampaw has called out the ignorance of some foot soldiers of the governing New Patriotic for demanding the dismissal of Attorney General for failing to put corrupt officials who served in the erstwhile NDC government behind bars. The foot soldiers under the name ‘Coalition of NPP Footsoldiers Against Corruption’ had argued that the failure of Ms. Gloria Akuffo to prosecute appointees under former president Mahama smacks of incompetence on her part, reason she should be shown the exit. But Mr. Ampaw who was a member of the President Akufo-Addo legal team in the landmark 2012 election petition case has jumped to the defence of the Attorney General and her team. In a write up to respond to the foot soldiers, the legal practitioner said their position amounts to “ignorance of what it takes to mount criminal prosecution”. He wrote: “Let me state from the onset that I can understand the frustration of the foot soldiers. Nevertheless, they completely miss the point and expose their ignorance of what is involved in criminal prosecution and the Attorney-General’s role and function in that process.” He rather wants state investigative bodies like the BNI, EOCO and Police blamed for starving “competent and worthy” Attorney General of “compelling” evidence to prosecute and win her cases. “Without such docket or report, not even the most competent and committed Attorney-General in the world can be effective and procure conviction of persons charged with looting the state,” he remarked. “The first question then that the foot soldiers and all those who honestly and wholeheartedly support the fight against corruption in Ghana ought to ask is: have the bodies charged under the law to carry out investigations done their job and submitted compelling dockets for the A-G to review the evidence in the light of the law so as to conclude that there is sufficient legal evidence, not political platform or beer bar evidence, to mount a successful or, at the very least credible, criminal prosecutions? “The answer to that question is, in my respectful view, a resounding NO! They have not. And without such legal ammunition, there is little the Attorney-General can do.” [caption id="attachment_102962" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Akoto Ampaw[/caption] Below is Akoto Ampaw’s write up Fight against corruption: In defence of the Attorney-General I have seen a recent press release said to be from a group of people calling themselves “Coalition of NPP Footsoldiers Against Corruption”. The release, which is doing the rounds on social media, is titled ‘Gloria Akuffo Must Start Prosecuting or Leave Post’. Indeed, when I saw the name of the group that is said to have issued the statement, “Coalition of NPP Footsoldiers Against Corruption”, my first reaction was to burst out into a loud and long laughter interspersed with uncontrollable chuckling. Ghana politics and foot soldiers I said in amusement!! I then proceeded to read the press release, and went through a series of mood swings – from laughter, and amusement, through disbelief and, by the time I had finished reading the press release, visceral anger.
Ominous Appeal The allegation was that there was a list of corruption cases that the NPP, while in opposition and on the campaign trail in 2016 had shouted it would investigate and ensure those implicated, are made to face the full rigours of the law, should it be voted into office. The complaint of the ‘NPP Footsoldiers Against Corruption’ was that after almost two years of the NPP in power, there was very little to show for the numerous corruption cases NPP alleged on the campaign trail in 2016. The group, therefore, concludes that either the Attorney-General and his deputies are not interested in prosecuting the list of cases or they are incompetent. The foot soldiers accordingly make the ominous appeal to the President “to order (sic!) the Attorney-General to live up to expectation or sack her and her lieutenants”! Ignorance of what it takes to mount criminal prosecution Let me state from the onset that I can understand the frustration of the foot soldiers. Nevertheless, they completely miss the point and expose their ignorance of what is involved in criminal prosecution and the Attorney-General’s role and function in that process. The first thing to note is that it is one thing to make allegations of corruption against one’s political opponents on the campaign trail and quite another to initiate criminal prosecution in a court of law. This is so because criminal prosecution is not based on allegations made on campaign platforms, but based on cogent and convincing evidence that is established through meticulous investigation and, above all, which can meet the acid test of legal evidence. It is not the function of the AG to conduct criminal investigations The second issue that our frustrated foot soldiers need to understand is that it is not the function of the Attorney-General to conduct criminal investigations. That rather falls within the purview and function of the state investigative bodies, foremost among which are the Ghana Police Service, the Bureau of National Investigations, Economic and Organised Crime Office, and the Financial Intelligence Centre, as well as the new Office of the Special Prosecutor, that is, after government has fully resourced that office with competent investigators, auditors, lawyers, experts in international financial transactions, and accountants all of whose integrity can, within limits be, vouched for.
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