The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has clarified why it is not prosecuting former Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, Charles Adu Boahen, despite claiming it has sufficient evidence of influence peddling.
According to the OSP, Ghana currently has not criminalized influence peddling; hence, the office lacks “the legal mandate to pursue prosecution in this matter.”
The OSP closed its investigation into corruption allegations levelled against Adu Boahen after the case was referred to it in November 2022 by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Mr. Adu Boahen was captured in a documentary put together by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, and his Tiger Eye PI team claiming Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia could be paid $200,000 as an appearance fee for investors.
Mr. Adu Boahen was subsequently sacked by the President after the issue came to the fore.
In its report on Monday, October 30, 2023, the OSP said it decided to close the case because it found that, although Adu Boahen engaged in influence peddling, he didn’t engage in any actual criminal activity that warrants an action by the Special Prosecutor.
After the report was released, several persons took on the OSP, saying the office had cleared the former Minister.
In a statement clarifying the issue, the OSP explained that: “Influence peddling or trading in influence is a significant index of corruption worldwide, and it is deprecated under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). Though Ghana is a state party to the UNCAC, the nation has yet to specifically prohibit influence peddling or trading in influence as a criminal offence. Consequently, the OSP lacks the legal mandate to pursue prosecution in this matter.”
The office joined calls for the passage of a Corrupt Practices Act and a Conduct of Public Officers Act.
According to the OSP, “These legislative measures are essential for the establishment of a stronger legal framework and more effective mechanisms to combat and penalize corruption and corruption-related offenses.”
Tiger Eye PI investigations into influence peddling led to the removal of the Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Charles Adu Boahen.
According to Tiger Eye PI investigations, Mr. Boahen told undercover journalists that Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia could be paid $200,000 as an appearance fee for investors.
This led to the Vice President dissociating himself from the alleged conduct of Mr. Boahen.
Dr. Bawumia in a post on Facebook in November 2022 said Mr. Boahen should be dismissed and investigated if the revelation were accurate because his position would be untenable.
Minutes later, President Akufo-Addo sacked the minister and referred the claims to the Special Prosecutor for further investigations.
Mr. Boahen denied the claims of corruption in the story and said there was an attempt to entrap him in 2018.
The initial revelations were published in the New Crusading Guide ahead of the screening of an exposé on illegal mining.
In a statement on November 16, 2022, the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, said his office has promptly commenced an investigation into the actions of Mr Adu Boahen and any other implicated person.