The call by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for circumspection among the media in reporting about the office and its activities (as captured in our story on page 45 cannot pass as pedestrian chatter.
The rare insight into the issues bothering the OSP, the Daily Graphic believes, may have been provoked by rumours surrounding the activities and operations within the office.
The rumours, we concede, are an indication of the public’s special interest in the office, and even the effort to ‘set the records straight’ may not drive away the interest and any future rumours.
This scenario may not have come as a surprise.
Ever since Mr Martin Amidu in particular was named for the Special Prosecutor’s job, the office has attracted public interest, given his background as an anti-corruption crusader, a leading member of the opposition National Democratic Congress and how much he sought to fight corruption as a citizen vigilante, even when he was not clothed with the powers he wields today.
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Nonetheless, we view the public interest in the work of the Special Prosecutor in very positive terms. The office, it appears, has the trust of the public to ‘deliver the goods’ in the fight against corruption in the country.
It is one state institution that appears to elicit the goodwill and confidence of the public to honestly and genuinely chase corruption out of the window of public office.
Without questioning the integrity of the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the police and other state investigative agencies, we believe the character of the OSP and its lead personality, Mr Amidu, arouse confidence.
Indeed, until now, the efforts of all those investigative bodies had been tainted by allegations of political influence. The consequence is that some of their investigations suffer stillbirth, while many others never reach the desired destination.
The OSP, in our estimation, has assumed a middle ground in the current politically poisoned environment, hence the anticipation by the public, with bated breath, for the start of action to deal with corruption “in high places”.
Yet, we are minded about the dangers of unfounded anxiety about the work of the OSP.
The state having laboured without real success to hold corruption – even in the sense of mere perception – in check, the OSP appears to be the one last chance to contain one of the biggest factors that have undermined the effort of developing nations.
For, we shudder to think that the unfortunate rumours about the work of the OSP may take on political colouration and then scupper the larger project, just as other noble intentions had been derailed by politics.
Examples of such cases abound in the history of Ghana since the start of the Fourth Republic, and the worst thing that could happen to the fight against corruption will be to situate it in politics and unfounded rumours.
So while the public, particularly the excited media, itch for the first cases of the OSP, it will be prudent not to apply unnecessary pressure that will ignite some negative passion in the fragile emotions of any sections of the public.
We would urge the OSP to be guided by high professional standards in its investigations and close its ears and eyes to public commentaries that have the potential to distract it from its primary focus.
The media and the public in general must give the OSP the serenity of mind to tackle the pertinent issues for the good of Ghana.