Mr Peter Birkett, a Senior Criminal Silks and Queen’s Counsel in the United Kingdom, says the law for the Office of the Special Prosecution should serve as a blue-print for prosecuting corruption cases in the country.

Therefore, he said, the selection of a Special Prosecutor should not be based on political grounds or considerations. He said the law should be based on the fundamental laws of the land and must be potent and realistically deterrent against corruption in the future.

Mr Birnett, who was a resource person at a Stakeholders’ Meeting on Draft Bill of the Office of the Special Prosecutor, in Accra, said the Office of the Special Prosecutor must work in tandem with other public agencies to ensure effective and efficient prosecution of cases.

The meeting was organised by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Office to solicit stakeholders’ inputs and recommendations to shape the draft bill before its presentation to the Cabinet for approval, and subsequently laid before Parliament for consideration.

The event brought together lawyers, legal luminaries and drafters of legislations and discussed topics such as ‘Assets Confiscation, Getting Value for Money’, ‘Overview of the Draft Bill of the Office of the Special Prosecutor’ and ‘Complaints, Proceeds of Corruption and Corruption Related Offences.’

Mr Birnett, a member of the General Council of the Bar from 1999-2001, urged stakeholders to ensure that the provisions in the law set a clear criteria for selecting a Special Prosecutor devoid of any political influence and must have clearly defined remits.

Mr Birkett who is also the Vice President of the Advocacy Training Council of England and Wales has developed and delivered advocacy training programmes in a variety of foreign jurisdictions.

He is Master of the Bench (Inner Temple) in 1996 and Recorder of the Crown Court in 1989.

Madam Gloria Afua Akuffo, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, in an address, said the establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor was a top priority of the New Patriotic Party government because it would provide a tool for the fight against corruption in the country.

She said corruption had dire socio-economic consequences on the nation and her international reputation and, therefore, required collective efforts of all stakeholders to contribute diverse views towards the development of a holistic and sound legal framework.

She noted that corruption killed the spirit of entrepreneurship and risk-taking and undermined hard work and merit-based competition and, thus, rewarded the unqualified, the mediocre and the incompetent.

According to her, it robbed the State of the revenues needed to fund public administration and national development and undermined trust in government and encouraged citizens to evade their taxes and other legal and civic obligations towards the State.

GNA