State capture, corruption, and fraud are a collective pandemic in our part of the world – Special Prosecutor

State capture, corruption, and fraud are a collective pandemic in our part of the world – Special Prosecutor

The Special Prosecutor (SP), Kissi Agyebeng has called on foreign partners to join in the fight against corruption, as the Office of the SP and its agencies cannot by themselves tackle the menace.

According to him, the canker of  state capture, corruption, and fraud, which he described as constituting a collective pandemic in our part of the world, has increased and it appears no one can really reduce or contain it since it is “stubbornly transboundary and cross-border”.

“There is much promise in Ghana in tackling these problems. We have a wonderful opportunity here to change the narrative and to get things effectively and efficiently working.

“However, no matter how well-intended and well-designed these agencies live up to their billing, they would not achieve much on their own in-country without the necessary cooperation from our foreign partners. No matter how one characterizes state capture, corruption, fraud, and asset recovery, one has to recognise that they are stubbornly transboundary and cross-border,” he said on April 28, 2023.

Speaking at the ICC FraudNet’s 37th International Conference in Accra on the theme; ‘State Capture and Corruption’, he explained that corruption was ingrained in the society as a ritual as a chunk of people were engaging in the act.

The SP added that these kingpins have adopted innovative ways to engage in corrupt acts and escape the law.

“To further sink ourselves in our ill progress, we are flighting away and secreting our illicitly gorged up bounties in other jurisdictions to avoid detection and to evade recovery. And it seems to me that no one can put an actual price tag on the attendant social and economic cost of state capture, corruption, and fraud,” he said.

He continued that “these are endemic in several sectors in the economy. The usual suspect is the extractive industry. Offshore, we are confronted with the scourge of oil bunkering.

“On land, we are bedeviled with wanton destruction of protected forests and real property and the mind-numbing pollution of our water bodies – mostly springing from illegal mining. Illegal capital flight and breaches of public procurement rules are rampant,” he added.

To tackle this menace, Mr Agyebeng said his outfit has established several agencies under key institutions such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO).

“CHRAJ is immense part especially in the context of corruption, the conduct of public officials, and conflict of interest.

“The EOCO monitors, investigates and prosecutes economic and organised crime and the recovery of assets. The Financial Intelligence Centre receives and analyses suspicious transaction reports, especially in respect of predicate crimes. We instituted the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan in 2014.

“It recommended the establishment of an independent prosecution authority to effectively tackle corruption. The prevailing thinking was that the Attorney General, being a member of cabinet and the chief legal advisor to the President, was not well-suited to investigate and prosecute members of a government to which he belonged,” he added.

Click on this link to read the Special Prosecutor’s address in full.