On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, Parliament unanimously endorsed the reappointment of Madam Cynthia Naa-Koshie Lamptey as Deputy Special Prosecutor for a second five-year term.
Madam Lamptey initially assumed the position in 2018 for a five-year term, as per Section 16(2) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), with Parliament’s prior approval. Her first term expired in May 2023.On July 6, 2023, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, informed Parliament via a letter that President Akufo-Addo had delegated his power to reappoint Madam Lamptey for another term in accordance with Article 195(2) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 16(3) of Act 959. The reappointment was subject to the approval of Parliament.Following Standing Order 172 and in accordance with Standing Orders 6 and 17(2), and considering the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Joseph Henry Mensah versus Attorney-General, which clarified the term “prior approval” as a term of art, the Appointments Committee varied its usual procedure and conducted the vetting of Madam Lamptey behind closed doors.
In the vetting process, Madam Lamptey assured the Committee of her unwavering belief in the independence of individuals appointed to the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
During the vetting, concerns were raised about the effects of publishing cases under investigation that reveal the identity of the persons involved before charges are filed.
In response, the nominee explained that the publication list, citing only the Attorney-General against the person under investigation, did not imply culpability from her perspective.
Mr. Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin, the Deputy Majority Leader and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Efutu, moved the Motion for the House to adopt the report. He stated that Madam Lamptey had performed her duties without any adverse reports from her superiors or the public, making her worthy of consideration based on the Constitution.
Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for Tamale South, called for the criminalization of unexplained wealth, with the burden of proof placed on the accused person.
Mr. Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, NDC MP for Asawase, expressed concern about the precedent set by the in-camera vetting of Madam Lamptey. He emphasized that the Standing Orders of the Appointments Committee dictate that vetting should be held in public, and he worried that the practice of in-camera vetting could set a problematic precedent for future nominees.
In a voice vote, the House unanimously approved Madam Lamptey’s reappointment when the First Deputy Speaker, Mr. Joseph Osei Owusu, presiding, put the question forward.