Ghana begins process to criminalise unexplained wealth
London, Jan. 10, 2020 (AltAfrica)-As part of anti-corruption programme President Akufo-Addo, Ghanaian government is pushing the agenda for the criminalisation of unexplained wealth across the length and breath of the country
When successful, it will lead to the amendment of the Special Prosecutor’s law to place the burden of proof on public servants and private individuals to explain their excess earnings and failure to do so would lead to prosecution.
The Special Prosecutor would also be empowered to investigate bank accounts of persons suspected to have committed any of the 11 offences under the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).
Under the current laws of the country, unexplained wealth is not a criminal offence and the agenda to criminalise it will, therefore, require an amendment of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).
To this end, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has implored all relevant bodies and institutions to give the Office of the Special Prosecutor the maximum support towards the realization of its agenda this year.
The call was contained in the committees report after its members met the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, and other officials of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) on its 2020 annual budget estimates.
Failure to provide information
When he appeared before the committee, Mr Amidu also expressed concern about the challenges his office was encountering in accessing critical information to aid investigations into alleged corruption or corruption-related offences
He complained that most of the requests made under the statutory authority of the OSP for information or production of documents from ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to assist in investigations were not complied with.
The committee, therefore, charged Mr Amidu to utilise all the powers at his disposal in Act 959 to subpoena information which could assist in the fulfilment of its mandate.