A United Kingdom-based legal practitioner Kofi Opare Hagan has said Ghana’s Special Prosecutor Kissi Agyebeng is a “comedian” who is also incompetent.
The lawyer berated the Kissi Agyebeng for issuing a poster declaring some people wanted for “vote buying” when in the laws of Ghana there is no crime like vote buying.
The OSP declared six people wanted for their alleged involvement in corruption and corruption-related offences during the parliamentary elections organised by the governing New Patriotic Party.
Issues of vote buying were rife as delegates flaunted monies received from aspirants on camera. The OSP has thus commenced investigations into the incidents declaring the six people wanted.
But the UK-based lawyer believes the OSP is engaged in “comedy skits” by Declaring the six wanted over “vote buying”.
According to the lawyer, when the OSP goes to court with this case and loses, he may blame the judiciary but he presented a bad case.
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It appears that the OSP is still continuing with his comedy skits. In the ‘wanted notice’ he issued, he accused certain individuals of committing the offence of ‘vote buying’. However, if such a crime were to exist, it would be more accurate to accuse the person who received money for selling their vote as being engaged in ‘vote selling’.
In reality, there is no such offence recognized by the Laws of Ghana. The only relevant offence is ‘corruption of and by Public Officers’ under Section 139, which the OSP is mandated to investigate and prosecute. However, Section 139 is a results crime and not a conduct crime. It applies where the voter, ‘agrees or offers to permit’ their conduct as a voter to be influenced by the gift, money or promise they have received.
Section 244 then creates a rebuttal presumption that where the gift or other consideration is given ‘secretly’, the voter is presumed to have acted corruptly in respect of their public duties.
In simpler terms, if the money is given openly and admitted as received, the Section 244 presumption would not apply. Therefore, the OSP seeking to prosecute under Section 139 would have to prove that the voter was influenced by the money in the performance of their duties. This is almost impossible to prove, especially against the voter, since votes are cast secretly in Ghana and the preference of the voter is not recorded alongside their vote.
It seems that the OSP has made a hasty decision based on a news report and poorly captured screenshots. He has declared people wanted for a crime that does not exist, which is yet another golden indication of his populist incompetence. He will rush those individuals to Court, they will be acquitted and guess who he will blame? Not his three-piece multi-colour suits.