Government has allocated an amount of Ghc 180 million to the Office of the Special Prosecutor to function effectively.
According to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who announced this in the 2018 budget statement presented to Parliament on Thursday, the money is to assist the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the fight against corruption in the country.
Since the swearing in of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor in March 2018, he has complained bitterly about the non-allocation of funds to his office – a situation he said was hampering his ability to deliver.He also warned that the office will not be able to fully discharge its duties if the situation was not addressed as soon as possible.
Ken Ofori-Atta said the Special Prosecutor’s Office is one of the highest priorities of government, and that aside from the allocation, government will in the course of next year provide more resources for the Special Prosecutor to perform his duties without hitches.
“In line with Government’s promise to protect the public purse, His Excellency the President remains committed to the fight against corruption. In this budget, the Special Prosecutor’s Office has been allocated an amount of GH¢180 million from GoG with a commitment to provide additional resources during the course of 2019 to enable the Special Prosecutor’s Office to carry out its mandate.”
Prior to the presentation of the budget, Citi News had reported that it had in its possession of a letter from the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, expressing appreciation to the Finance Minister for an apparent pledge for a budgetary allocation in the 2019 budget.
“I have noted with sincere appreciation and gratitude the content of your letter and decision you made in respect of this Office for 2019 in spite of the very tight financial circumstances you inherited and which you are managing judiciously for the national good,” the letter said.
These developments come after months of lamentations from the Special Prosecutor about financial resource constraints in running the anti-corruption office.
Recently, Martin Amidu in one of his articles titled “The Whitaker scenario – Stifling independent investigative agency of funds” reiterated the need to resource his office.
But Martin Amidu in his appreciation letter said, “The Office of the Special Prosecutor appreciates efforts of His Excellency the President and your good self in supporting this Office to be able to establish and operationalize to the best international standard to decrease the incentive and increase to the highest level the risk for corruption towards the attainment of the agreed national anti-corruption vision for our dear country”.
Many have called on the Special Prosecutor to resign from the office since his office has been deprived of funds to enable it to run effectively.
But Martin Amidu’s letter suggests that the allocation will partially solve some of the pressing financial, accommodation and logistical needs that impeded his office’s work.
“It is my determination to build and equip this Office with such capabilities and infrastructure as will enable it to execute its mandate successfully and recover such assets as are the fruits of corruption that may more than payback to the national purse any budgetary allocations you could eventually make for establishment and operations of this Office,” the letter also said.
Restructuring Internal Audit
Ken Ofori Atta also underscored the need for Ghana to adopt a robust internal audit system within the public sector, as a way of achieving the objectives of government.
“There is the need to restructure and strengthen the Internal Audit Function in the public sector to play its expected role in ensuring effective risk management, control and improvements in governance processes in the public sector.”
“The Ministry of Finance is currently supporting the Internal Audit Agency to conduct extensive stakeholder consultations as part of the key processes that will lead to restructuring the Internal Audit Agency. This will help to align the activities of Internal Auditing to national objectives,” he added.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office was established under the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017 (Act 959)’