Justice Gertrude Araba Sackey Torkornoo — Chief Justice, Kissi Agyebeng — Special Prosecutor
Justice Gertrude Araba Sackey Torkornoo — Chief Justice, Kissi Agyebeng — Special Prosecutor
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Respond to impeachment allegations -Chief Justice asks Special Prosecutor 

The Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, has written to the Special Prosecutor (SP), Kissi Agyebeng, for his response to a petition by his predecessor, Martin Amidu, seeking his removal.

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The response by the SP, according to the letter dated Thursday, May 16, 2024, is to assist the Chief Justice to determine whether there is a prima facie case against him for him to answer.

“This is to forward to you a copy of the petition dated 30th April, 2024 sent to the Office of the President which was forwarded to the Office of the Honourable Lady Chief Justice on May 6, 2024.

Kindly provide your comments to the matters raised to enable the Honourable Chief Justice to determine if a prima facie case has been made out,” the letter stated.

Petition 

On April 30, this year, Mr Amidu, who is also a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, seeking the impeachment of Mr Agyebeng as the head of the anti-graft agency.

President Akufo-Addo, who had seven days within which to forward the petition to determine its prima facie, forwarded it to the Chief Justice on May 6, this year, to take action pursuant to the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).

Although the Daily Graphic is yet to see the content of the petition, information gathered indicates that the grounds of petition by Mr Amidu include allegations of procurement breaches at the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), unlawful appointment of personnel, violation of the rights of individuals with regard to arrest and bringing the justice system into disrepute.

The latter allegation is believed to relate to a press conference in November last year during which Mr Agyebeng accused some judges of being “dismissive” of the work of his outfit, which, according to him, had frustrated the fight against corruption. 

Removal of OSP 

Section 15(1) of Act 959 states some of the grounds that could lead to the removal of the SP as stated misbehaviour and incompetence, incapacity to perform the functions of the office, wilful violation of the oath of office or secrecy and any conduct which is likely to bring the office into disrepute, ridicule or contempt.

The removal process for the SP under Act 959 follows the same pattern as the removal of Justices of the Superior Court and heads of constitutional bodies such as the Electoral Commission as stipulated by Article 146 of the Constitution. 

Under the process, the President acts as a conveyor, while the Chief Justice sets in motion the adjudicating process.

Pursuant to Section 15 of Act 959, when a petition is sent to the President, he must forward it to the Chief Justice within seven days to the Chief Justice who determines whether there is a prima facie case (case to answer) against the defendant, in this case the SP within 30 days.

In the event the Chief Justice determines that there is a prima facie case, she is enjoined by the same section to, within 14 days, establish a committee to investigate the allegations contained in the petition.

The committee must consist of a Chairperson who must be a Justice of the Supreme Court, a lawyer with 15 years standing at the bar, and another person with expertise in investigations.

Pursuant to Section 15 (5 & 6) of Act 959, the committee must complete its work within 90 days, and make recommendations to the President, through the Chief Justice.

The President is bound to act in accordance with the recommendations of the committee.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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