The President’s nominee, through the Attorney-General, for the position of Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng on Thursday 22nd July 22, 2021, faced Parliament’s Appointments Committee after the Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament Alban Bagbin’s referral to the Committee for consideration and vetting.
He will carry out the extraordinary responsibility of independently fighting corruption and will have full authority to initiate investigations into all suspected corruption-related offences of all persons in public service if approved by Parliament.
As part of its mandate, the Special Prosecutor’s Office is mandated with the authority to investigate and prosecute all suspected corruption and corruption-related offences as pertaining to public officers, politically exposed persons, and persons in the private sector alleged to have been involved in any corruption and corruption-related offences.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo accepted the nomination of Kissi Agyebeng to the Special Prosecutor’s Office with a charge to him to deal with public sector corruption and by a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, dated 29th April 2021, sought Parliament’s approval of the appointment.
It may be recalled that President Akufo-Addo on November 16, 2020, accepted the resignation from office of Mr Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor and, in accordance with section 13( of the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), is required to appoint a replacement within six (6) months of the position becoming vacant.
To this end, the Attorney General, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, on 16th April 2021, nominated Mr. Kissi Agyebeng, under section 13(3) of Act 959, to the President for consideration as the second occupant of the Office of Special Prosecutor.
The President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo, therefore accepted his nomination as Special Prosecutor and has by letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin, dated 29th April 2021, sought Parliament’s approval of the appointment.
Mr Agyebeng has been a law lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana Legon since October 2006, teaching and researching Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law, International Law, Corporate Law, and Legal Research and Writing.
Called to the Bar in October 2003 and also engaged in private law practice, Mr. Kissi Agyebeng holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Ghana and Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Dalhouse University and Cornell Law School.
He was born on July 02, 1978, and awarded the Bentsi-Enchill prize for Best Graduating Student of the University of Ghana School of Law in 2001 and E.N. Sowah Memorial prize for best student in Family Law at the Ghana School of Law and has participated in several international arbitration hearings.
The President’s nominee has consulted for public sector institutions, including the Attorney General’s Department, Exim Bank Ghana Ltd., Youth Employment Authority, National Lottery Authority, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Trade Fair Company Limited, and the Ghana Olympic Committee.
Lawyer Kissi is also an Associate at the African Centre for Cyber Law and Cyber Crime Prevention, and the National Moot Court Co-ordinator for the Commonwealth Moot Court Competition on International Criminal Justice and also the Vice-Chairperson of the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association.
A Managing Partner of Cromwell Gray LLP, a reputable law firm in Accra, the legal practitioner is the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal taking over from Justice Samuel Kofi Date-Bah who resigned from the Tribunal on July 1, 2019.
He has argued numerous cases before the Superior Court of Ghana and has also been engaged in several international business transactions in addition to overseeing the affairs and adjudication of appeals at the Electronic Communications Tribunal as stipulated in the Tribunal’s Act 775 of 2008.
The Special Prosecutor nominee during the over four-hour long session responded to myriads of questions from members of the Committee with National Democratic Congress Minority members under the command of the Caucus’ Leader, Haruna Iddrisu and Minority Chief Whip Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak asking the most questions.
The former prosecutor Martin Amidu had criticised the nomination of Kissi Adjabeng and said the 43-year-old lawyer is a surrogate of Africa Legal Associates, a firm founded by the President’s cousin, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, who, according to him, played various roles in the botched Agyapa Royalty deal.
The nominee refuted these claims that he was a surrogate for the law firm involved in the controversial Agyapa deal saying all those making such claims are uninformed reinforcing that those who know him would never make such allegations and added he took all these allegations that came up as coming from uninformed positions.
The 43-year-old nominee responding to questions from the Committee further indicated making corruption a costly venture by counting on his experience, training and competence to manage the Office and revealed he has developed strategies to fight corruption, conflict of interest and others if approved.
In comparison with Martin Amidu he said he will draw on his own experience to lead the Office and will rather prefer to wear his own shoes in the sense that he is his own man, going to the Office with his own experiences and professional training, conscience and learning of the law as his strategy.
He underscored the fact that he is not naïve to say he is going to stop the Herculean task of corruption at the Office of the Special Prosecutor since, according to him, God himself will not even acclaim to that, but is going to make corruption very costly to engage in.
The nominee vowed carving a unique style of fighting corruption in the country when given the nod and refused falling into a-so-called heavy shoes of his predecessor Martin Amidu rather preferring to wear his own shoes and as his own man coming with his own experiences and professional training.
Acknowledging that the mission of combating the corruption practice will be difficult, Kissi Agyebeng expressed his commitment to ask what he termed, the tough questions and hold public officers accountable to save the country’s purse.
However, he was quick to add that he is going to make corruption very costly and submitted to institute, what he called, pressure for progress, in which quest there is going to be a systemic review of all public agencies and the development of integrity plans.
He confidently assured the Committee his intention to set up a public corruption perception index to rank public sector agencies against each other, a move which he said will help fish out institutions performing well and those that are not doing well in terms of corruption.