Intense Grilling Awaits Special Prosecutor At Thursday’s Vetting -Gabby & Anas’ Names To Pop Up

Mr. William Kissi Agyebeng Mr. William Kissi Agyebeng

Barring any last minute changes, the Appointments Committee of Parliament, will on Thursday, July 22, subject the nominee for the position of Special Prosecutor, to hours of grilling to test his suitability for the position.

But key amongst the issues that Kissi Agyebeng, will be tested on are his association with Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, President Nana Akufo-Addo's cousin and certain jobs that they have done together as lawyers.

Among the jobs are Ghana National Petroleum's (GNPC) liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification project located in Tema, where Kissi Agyabeng's law firm, Cromwell Gray LLP, was mentioned as one of the legal advisors in addition to White & Case LLP.

Under the structure of the deal, Gazprom Global LNG Limited, a global subsidiary of global energy giant PAO Gazprom (Gazprom), the world's largest gas producer, was to supply LNG and convert it into gas through a regasification terminal at Tema, before selling the converted natural gas to GNPC.

It is unclear, what the status of that transaction is currently. But what is interesting is that, while Gabby's wife, Nana Adwoa Hackman was on GNPC board at time, Gazprom's country rep, was President Akufo-Addo's younger brother, Edward 'Bumpty' Akufo-Addo.

Gabby Asare Otchere Darko, has a tight relationship with White & Case partner Joshua Siaw, who doubles as director of the firm's Africa Practice.

White & Case, was involved in the botched Agyarpa Royalties transaction, with Gabby's law firm; Africa Legal Associates, as one of the legal advisors on the controversial transaction which was heavily laden with conflict of interest that stretched all the way to include Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta's private company Databank, as one of the financial advisors on the deal.

The Herald's investigation into the Agyapa transaction, drew a letter from Kissi Agyabeng's law firm Cromwell Gray LLP on behalf of Gabby.

The Herald is also picking up information about his legal representation of investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, particularly involving the High Court judges accused of collecting the bribes. There are claims that some of the judges captured in some of the videos, were spared.

They were not shown in the videos, hence could not be hauled before the Disciplinary Committee set up by the then Chief Justice Georgina Wood, and sacked after the investigation. It is unclear, if some of these videos were used to get some of the spared judges to render unwarranted legal favours.

It is also not clear, if Kissi Agyebeng's role as the Chairman of the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) per the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775), will also come into play during the vetting.

In a press statement dated July 12, the Committee stated that the vetting will take place at Committee rooms 1, 2, and 3 of the New Administration Block of Parliament at 10:00 am.

According to the statement, the public hearing of Mr Agyebeng is, "to consider the nomination by his Excellency the President of the republic, for the appointment of the Special Prosecutor."

On November 16, 2020, President Akufo-Addo, accepted the resignation from office of Martin Amidu, as Special Prosecutor.

Under section 13(8) of the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959), the President is required to appoint a replacement within six months of the position becoming vacant.

Subsequently, the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, on April 16, 2021, nominated Mr Agyebeng, under section 13(3) of Act 959, to the President for consideration as the second occupant of the Office of Special Prosecutor.

Although affable, Kissi Agyebeng's nomination was greeted with criticism. He was considered by some, as unfit for the office.

According to Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central, Murtala Mohammed, the nominee's relationship with some bigwigs in the incumbent administration, will create a conflict of interest and subsequently rob Mr Agyebeng of the ability to go after people close to him, who have engaged in any wrongdoing, if given the nod.

But President Akufo-Addo, deems Mr Kissi Agyebeng as eminently qualified to become Special Prosecutor. This is because, he was called to the Bar in October 2003, holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Ghana and Master of Laws (LLM) degree from Dalhousie University and Cornell Law School. He is a Criminal Law lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon, and also engaged in private law practice.