Professor Gyampo emphasizes the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The recent statements made by Ghana’s Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, over the weekend, have raised concerns, according to a Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana.

This according to Professor Ransford Gyampo, is because, despite the stance by Mr Agyebeng that there are no saints, the law indicates that all are innocent or “consecrated saints” until proven guilty.

He is, therefore, questioning the genesis of “this new alien legal maxim being propounded” by the Special Prosecutor and whether it should be allowed to be imposed “on us as a people.”

Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, Mr Agyebeng stressed that there were no saints or angels as far as his work is concerned.

He said, unlike the general public who have the luxury of describing some people as saints, he as the conscience of the people cannot afford to do same.

“I wish I were you to also have the luxury to consecrate someone or some person as a saint in respect of which nothing should be done to them but where I sit, I do not have that luxury to treat [someone] as a saint and when saints are being consecrated I don’t get the memo.

“I am the conscience of the nation, I am the spirit of the nation, the office is the conscience of the nation, the office is the spirit of the nation, where we sit we look at everybody in the same manner,” he explained.

In a reaction to this, Prof Gyampo in a write-up said: “Kissi’s claim that he, an individual, and a mortal human being, who isn’t a saint himself, is the conscience and soul of Ghana, sounds religiously and politically blasphemous and problematic, as he suddenly attempts to play God in Ghana.”

He stressed, “Such a dependent Special Prosecutor, cannot arrogate to himself the role of an Independent Public Prosecutor.”

“You cannot walk in the shadows of a partisan appointee and still describe yourself as the conscience and soul of the nation. Even the Citizen Vigilante, Martin Amidu, in spite of all that he did prior to his appointment and during his appointment as Special Prosecutor, never described himself as the conscience and soul of the nation.

The comment by Prof. Gyampo follows an exclusive interview granted by Mr. Agyebeng after the arrest and subsequent bailing of former Environment Minister, Frimpong-Boateng.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng was invited by the OSP on May 16 as “a person necessary for the investigations” into suspected corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of the activities and expenditure of the dissolved IMCIM.

However, he was arrested and granted a ¢2 million bail, for which a friend had to stand surety, and officers of the OSP had to follow the friend to verify his residence.

Critics of the OSP have since questioned why Prof Frimpong-Boateng who had rather named people in government allegedly involved in galamsey was arrested while those accused have been not invited or arrested.

Again, these critics had described Prof Frimpong-Boateng who is also a renowned heart surgeon as a nobleman with a high reputation.

But these attributes were rubbished by the Special Prosecutor, who said he was investigating every member of the IMCIM, hence the arrest of the renowned surgeon.

Find the full write-up by Prof. Gyampo below:

I have been pondering over the responses of the Special Prosecutor on Newsfile over the weekend. Though I initially thought the interview brought out some useful information, reflecting on the responses again in more sobriety, makes me a bit worried. Kissi Agyabeng says he doesn’t consecrate saints, and that he is the conscience and soul of Ghana. Not consecrating saints can be interpreted to mean every suspect is a criminal ab initio. But in his own law that he studied, there is a principle that all are innocent or “consecrated saints” until proven guilty. So, where from this new alien legal maxim being propounded and must we allow Kissi Agyabeng to impose it on us as a people?

Even though he admits and applauds the achievements and contributions of Prof Frimpong Boateng to Ghana, some of his comments surreptitiously rubbish such heroic contributions. We must guillotine this attitude of ingratitude and prevent it from festering, else no one will die for Ghana like the Special Prosecutor wants us to believe he’s currently doing, but which I honestly doubt.

Kissi’s claim that he, an individual, and a mortal human being, who isn’t a saint himself, is the conscience and soul of Ghana, sounds religiously and politically blasphemous and problematic, as he suddenly attempts to play God in Ghana. Per his own enabling act, he walks in the shadows of the Attorney General who is a partisan appointee. He can be directed and dictated to, by the Attorney General in the conduct of his work.

Such a dependent Special Prosecutor, cannot arrogate to himself the role of an Independent Public Prosecutor. You cannot walk in the shadows of a partisan appointee and still describe yourself as the conscience and soul of the nation. Even the Citizen Vigilante, Martin Amidu, in spite of all that he did prior to his appointment and during his appointment as Special Prosecutor, never described himself as the conscience and soul of the nation.

It may be possible for someone or an institution to emerge one day, as the soul and conscience of the nation. But even if this may be possible, trust for such institutions created by partisan executive presidents in Ghana can only be built over time, not at once, as aptly argued by Kofi Bentil on Newsfile over the weekend.

If politicians have succeeded in bastardizing and making even constitutionally created independent institutions nearly dependent, even to the point of ordering their staff to submit their CVs to them for scrutiny, then Kissi Agyabeng cannot force Ghanaians to trust him all of a sudden as being independent.

Back in school, he wasn’t a tough person. But of course, he may have built his psyche and grown to become a strong-willed person over the years, and this may be a positive attribute required to head the office he occupies. But granted this, mere talk, and display of a certain body language (that I do not want to describe as arrogance), cannot suddenly force all Ghanaians to believe that the Special Prosecutor is independent.

Let him truly go after all who are culpable in this galamsey menace; let him look into the faces of his friends and political appointees and refuse to favour them in his quest to help the fight against galamsey; and let him do these over a period of time, and he will surely win the hearts of all Ghanaians.

Yaw Gyampo
A31, Prabiw
PAV Ansah Street
Saltpond
&
Suro Nipa House
Kubease
Larteh-Akuapim

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