Honorary Vice President of IMANI-Africa has said that government could have done better in terms of the initialisation of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Bright Simons said prior to the establishment of the office, government should have made some essential provisions including recruitment of staff, providing infrastructure (in terms of an office for operation), as well as made provision of funds to enable the smooth running of the OSP.
“Government had all the time in the world until February 2018 when it hired the Special Prosecutor, to put in place the requisite infrastructure so that by the time the Special Prosecutor is in office, the Special Prosecutor at the very least is ready to go,” he said on the Super Morning Show, Wednesday.
His comment follows the resignation of the Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor.
Prior to his resignation, Mr Amidu had raised concern over issues which hampered his efficient functioning including lack of an appropriate office, and issues with lack of funds to enable his office run.
In his resignation letter, he also stated among other things that he was working with seconded staff whom he had no control over and this as well hampered his duties.
Reacting to this, Bright Simmons argued that issues around budget implementation difficulties have been a long-standing problem of government agencies, organisations and MDAs.
However, government had a responsibility of ensuring that all these provisions were made before a Special Prosecutor was appointed.
Meanwhile, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who was also on the show clarified that the initialisation of the office is a joint responsibility of “the one who who sets up office, i.e government and the persons who are ceased with the powers to have the office functioning.”
Funding and Financing of OSP
Bright Simons further touched on other matters including source of funding for the OSP.
On issues of financing, Mr Simons said owing to the fact that a law established in 2016 makes it clear that making payments without going through the GIFMIS system is illegal, government had a responsibility to ensure that the Special Prosecutor was moved on to the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).
“The point is that money voted for a course in the public sector in this country is almost a meaningless concept giving how often the monies are not released on time or released at all. The issue that, several preconditions must be met before the money can actually be used for work.
“The problem that SP had was that they were not setting him up on GIFMIS. The Controller and Accountant Generals Department was the only organisation that migrates you on to GIFMIS. None of these things are within the power of the Special Prosecutor; he doesn’t control these computing systems.
“His own access needs access to computing capabilities and the likes to access GIFMIS and then, they have to create the necessary accounts so that he’s operational.
“And the Special Prosecutor has no power to go the Accountant General’s department to make this request. It is the duty of the President to do that,” he said.