The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) is displaying its incompetence on an amended writ filed by lawyers for Charles Bissue, as the basis for an adjournment of hearing to March 13, 2023, by the court.
The OSP, in its usual media tactics, hastened to report on Facebook that the plaintiff, Charles Bissue, is seeking to withdraw its earlier application filed on December 23, 2022, and has filed an amended affidavit in support of an application filed on January 4, 2023.
It is rather appalling given the fact that the adjournment was occasion mainly by the failure of the OSP to file its statement of case after the 14 days period given them by the court to file their application to set aside the Amended Writ filed by Mr Bissue elapsed.
With all the time and resources at its disposal, and with that conviction of having concluded its investigations into the matter, the OSP had no excuse for failing in this regard.
Lawyers of the OSP told the court today, they are just about finalizing their statement of case, and pleaded for more time to respond appropriately. While at this, a supplementary application has been filed by lawyers of Charles Bissue.
This new application, according to sources, has cited the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng, for conflict of interest and bias. Reference is made to Kissi Agyabeng as being a partner to Anas Aremeyaw Anas in a private legal firm, Cromwell Gray LLP.
It also cites the fact that, Kissi Agyabeng, acting through that firm, served as the lawyer for Anas Aremeyaw Anas when the OSP under Martin Amidu conducted its investigations.
The OSP had published in 24 January 2023 via its various platforms that, they have concluded their investigations into the purported galamsey fraud video as produced by Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Tiger Eye P.I.
The report as signed by the Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng, added that the office is ready to prosecute Mr Bissue based on evidence uncovered.
The OSP who had earlier argued the case be discarded, is now playing delay tactics in responding to the court’s demands. Obviously, Kissi Agyabeng and his office are struggling to put up anything substantial in defense of the claims made by the lawyers for Charles Bissue.
On December 23, 2022, Charles Bissue filed an application to prevent the OSP from investigating him in connection with the alleged Galamsey fraud documentary. An amendment was later filed to further restrain the OSP from investigating and prosecuting the plaintiff on the grounds that the matter had already been investigated by the police.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas and Tiger Eye P.I published this documentary in 2019 accusing Mr Bissue, who was a Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) of taking bribes and circumventing processes in granting an illegal mining firm; ORR Resources, the right to engage in mining.
After this publication, the government directed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to conduct a full-scale investigation into the matter. While investigations were ongoing, Anas Aremeyaw Anas petitioned the OSP to investigate and prosecute all person including Mr Bissue for corruption.
The CID investigation was concluded months later and established that Mr Bissue is not liable for any offense as argued by Anas Aremayaw Anas and his team.
Dr George Domfeh, a development economist and Research Fellow, has advised the government to exempt pensioners who purchased government bonds with small amounts of money from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
He observed that the above group depend mostly on the interest on their bonds for their daily activities, especially to purchase their medicines while in pension, hence the advice.
Since its introduction, some groups, organisations and entities including the Christian Council, labour Unions, have kicked against the debt exchange programme.
The pensioners have also mounted pressure on the government to exclude them from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.
Unfortunately, the government could not accept the demands entirely.
Addressing some retired bondholders who went to picket at the Ministry of Finance on Monday, February 6, 2023, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, appealed to individual bondholders to accept the revised terms from the government to complete the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP) and pave the way for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.
He said the five-year maturity on offer was favourable given that a third of them held instruments with maturities of more than 12 years, despite an interest rate cut to 15% from an average of 18.5%.
He mentioned that the current term is the best the government can offer individual bondholders.
According to the government, those under the age of 59 are being offered a 10% coupon rate.
“Look into your heart and ask whether what has been offered is so injurious versus your contribution to our economy,” the Finance Minister told five of the protesters after a larger group had left their earlier demonstration.
“Hand on heart I feel (the deal offered) is good for you and good for the nation,” he added.
Speaking on Atinka FM’s morning show, AM Drive with Kaakyire Ofori Ayim, Dr George Domfeh said,”I will also plead with the government that there are some of the pensioners whose money is small, some of them purchased about GHS50,000 and the whole year, the profit they get, which is about 10,000 is what they spend, and that is what they use to buy their medicines during pension, so if the government exempts those small small monies from the domestic debt exchange programme, it will help,” he said.
He continued, “Some have about 20 billion and they have been taking an interest for about 20 years; the government can connive with them; but for those who have just about GHS 50,000, the government should exempt them because that is what they feed on and their money is small.”
Meanwhile, he also appealed to the people, especially the pensioners, to accept the programme and give the government their full support for the good of the entire nation.