Set up Special Prosecutor’s Office quickly – Ambassador Retzlaff (Ghana)

By Norvan Aquah | Business & Financial Times, Ghana September 29, 2017

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, Henry Christoph Retzlaff, has added his voice to calls for government to fast-track the setting-up of the Special Prosecutor’s office to help fight corruption in the country.

Ambassador Retzlaff, who spoke to the B&FT ahead of German’s National Unification Day, which falls on October 3, said good governance does not only mean having peaceful elections and smooth transitions but also requires an environment that is free of corruption which is still an issue in Ghana.

“Yes, modernisation requires good governance but good governance requires an environment that is free of corruption. This is still an issue in Ghana. It is something that has to be tackled very well in the country. And I will admit that it is not a problem in only Ghana but across the world. But Ghana must ensure that, the fight against corruption is fought well.

We think that, the initiative of the new government regarding corruption is in the right direction. We are waiting for the office of the special prosecutor which will fight corruption to be implemented. We understand that, there is a draft bill in Parliament right now.  We will like to see it implemented as soon as possible,” he stated.

Mr. Retzlaff, the German Ambassador further stated that: “Of course fighting of corruption, requires a change of mind on all levels of society. This is because you are just losing too much money and revenue in these corruption bit. So, this need to be improved.”

His call comes barely two months ago, when the U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Robert Porter Jackson, called on the government to fast- track the setting up of the special prosecutor’s office to help fight corruption in the country.

Ambassador Jackson, who also spoke to the B&FT ahead of America’s National Day, said: “Am not surprised at the level of corruption but am disappointed. But I would like to see the appointment of the special prosecutor sooner than later. Not because I wish to see anyone in jail but the fact that people are not being prosecuted sends a message that you can get away with robbery and that’s not acceptable.”

Ambassador Jackson has called for fast-tracking the setting up of the Office of the Special Prosecutor to deal with the 2015 Tema Central Medical Stores fire.

About US$80 million worth of medicines were burnt into ashes in 2015 when fire razed the Central Medical Stores at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.

About US$7million worth of American tax payer-funded medical supplies were part of the stock consumed in the Tema Central Medical Stores fire.

The German Ambassador, told the B&FT that, even though Ghana when we talk of governance or good governance, can be very proud of its democratic credentials and as a model for other democracies in the region of West Africa, the fight against corruption must be given the needed attention by the ensuring the needed capacity is built for the public and civil sector workers in financial management.

“Another sector that is very important is, financial management because you have to mobilise more domestic revenue as there is a serious macroeconomic challenge with Ghana.  It is also the question of capacity, which brings me to the sector of education. Ghana needs well education people and a world class educational system to be fit for the future.”

President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, July this year hinted that the office of the proposed special prosecutor will be up and running in six months’ time.

He then named lawyer Akoto Ampaw as the first person to fill the position of Independent or Special Prosecutor pending Parliamentary approval.

The respected lawyer has defended media freedom over the years and is said to have “accepted the post” pending the processes in setting up the office.

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