Parliament on Tuesday unanimously approved the nomination of Madam Cynthia Naa-Koshie Lamptey as Deputy Special Prosecutor for a second five-year term.
Madam Lamptey was appointed in 2018 as Deputy Special Prosecutor for a five-year term pursuant to Section 16(2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) and with prior approval of Parliament.
The said appointment lapsed in May 2023.
In a letter dated 6th July, 2023, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, communicated to Parliament that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in furtherance to Article 195(2) of the 1992 Constitution, and Section 16(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), has in June, 2023, delegated to him his power to re-appoint Madam Lamptey as Deputy Special Prosecutor for another term, subject to the approval of Parliament.
In accordance with Article 195(2) of the Constitution, Section 16(3) of Act 959 and Standing Order 172, the Speaker of Parliament on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, referred the nomination to the Appointments Committee for consideration.4
Pursuant to Standing Orders 6 and 17(2), and in line with the decision in the Supreme Court case of Joseph Henry Mensah versus Attorney-General, which stated that “prior approval” is a term of art, the Committee varied its normal procedure.
The vetting of Madam Lamptey was, therefore, held behind closed doors.
Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, the First Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the Appointments Committee, in his report to the House, said Madam Lamptey had assured the Committee that her belief in the independence of persons appointed to the Office of Special Prosecutor was unquestionable.
During the vetting, the Committee raised concerns about the effects of publishing cases under investigation referencing the identity of the persons involved before charges were proffered.
The nominee, in her response, explained that because the publication list only cited the Attorney-General against the person under investigation, in her view, the publication did not constitute culpability.
Mr. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader, and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, who moved the Motion for the House to adopt the report, said the nominee had, so far, discharged her duties without any adverse report from either her boss or the public.
“We’ve neither received any contrary views about her professional conduct.”
Looking at the Constitution, the Committee found Madam Lamptey worthy of consideration; therefore, it had no hesitation at all to recommend her to the House for approval, he said.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Tamale South, called for the criminalisation of unexplained worth, putting the burden of proof on the accused person.
Mr. Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, NDC MP, Asawase, expressed concern over the precedent that was set in the vetting of Madam Lamptey.
“Mr Speaker, I have been in this House since President John Agyekum Kufuor’s tenure, simply because people are being renominated does not mean that they should be vetted in camera,” he stated.
He noted that in the case of the Appointments Committee, the Standing Orders declare that vetting should be held in public, Mr. Muntaka said.
“I am not saying that what you have done is wrong or it negates what you are doing but the moment we keep doing this, tomorrow, another minister or somebody else will use that as a base to say that why am I not going to be vetted in camera?”
After the contributions, the House, by a voice vote, unanimously approved Madam Lamptey’s nomination when the First Deputy Speaker, Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu, presiding, posed the question.
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