Political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has fired back at the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, insisting that suspects are not criminals.
According to him, the Special Prosecutor must exact due diligence in investigating the matter involving Prof Frimpong-Manso thoroughly before labelling suspects in any case.
“… I wish to say this as a matter of common sense: Suspects are not criminals; whistle blowers are not saints; and everyone must be treated as innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent.”Ransford Gyampo
Providing clarifications regarding the operations of his office in his fight against corruption and related offences in response to his invitation and subsequent arrest of former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who was later granted a GH¢2 million bail last month, Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, explained that he has a distinct approach when inviting informants, compared to individuals considered as suspects.
Mr. Agyebeng revealed that individuals categorized as suspects are generally requested to appear with their legal representatives.
“We treat everybody in the same manner when you appear before us. The nature of how you come to us is very crucial and very important. If you are my confidential source, whistleblower, there is a way I will contact you, and there is a way I will invite you. There is a way I will talk to you because I need information from you. But if you are appearing before me as a suspect, there is also a way. I do not invite you, I direct you to show up because it is a criminal investigation. You are directed to show up. And in the direction to show up, you are specifically told, what we are investigating and the subject matter of what we are investigating”.Kissi Agyebeng
Special prosecutor clarifies investigation on Prof Frimpong-Manso
Mr Agyebeng emphasized that in the direction for one to come to the OSP, he is told he is person who is considered necessary for the investigation. Additionally, he explained that there is a specific direction for him to show up at a specific address for the interview.
“Then you are told of your rights, that when you are coming, you may come with the counsel of your choice”.Kissi Agyebeng
Moreover, Mr. Agyebeng noted that whistleblowers are not required to appear with their lawyers, whereas suspects are instructed to bring their legal representatives.
“If I see you as a whistleblower, I consider you as a confidential source, I will not be telling you that when you are appearing before me, come with your lawyer. Why would you need a lawyer if you are coming to divulge some information which I may be interested in? But immediately I tell you that you are directed to show up and that come with a lawyer, then you should know that you are a suspect. And that goes for everyone who appears before us in that scheme of affairs.”Kissi Agyebeng
Furthermore, Mr Agyebeng noted that the Office of the Special Prosecutor does not operate in a military style unless it is compelled to. He however stated the office hardly operates in that manner. He additionally highlighted that going for an arrest warrant from the court cannot count for a military style approach, and that the office should rather be applauded for following legal processes. In certain instances, he explained that he restricts himself from exercising the powers of the office.
“We do not conduct ourselves in a military style. I am saying that if you give us the cause, we will come for you. If you give us the cause, we will storm your premises.”Kissi Agyebeng