Kissi Agyebeng, the Special Prosecutor, has raised serious concerns about the recent judgment on the Labianca case, stating that it could potentially undermine the progress made in the fight against corruption in Ghana.
The High Court's decision to nullify a report by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) and impose costs against the OSP has raised alarms about the potential consequences for ongoing investigations.
Agyebeng, addressing the media at a news conference on Wednesday, November 29, expressed his apprehension about the precedent set by the ruling.
He warned that the judgment opens the floodgates for individuals under investigation to seek legal protection, hindering law enforcement agencies from carrying out their duties.
“The danger of this startling decision is again quite obvious. A judge has in the process granted two persons immunity from investigation and in effect immunity from prosecution. This decision opens up a calamitous deluge as every person under criminal investigation will be encouraged to take out suits to injunct investigation and prosecution bodies from investigating and prosecuting them,” Agyebeng remarked.
The Labianca case involved Col Kwadwo Damoah, a former Commissioner of the Customs Division at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and Joseph Adu Kyei, a former Deputy Commissioner of the Division.
The OSP's report implicated them in providing favourable tax treatment to Labianca Company, a frozen foods company.
However, the court, responding to a lawsuit filed by Damoah and Kyei, nullified the OSP's report, imposed costs of GH₵10,000 against the OSP, and issued a restraining order to prevent further investigation.
In response to the court's decision, Agyebeng defended the OSP's actions, emphasizing that the office acted within its mandate and did not overstep its authority.
He expressed his worry about the potential consequences of the judgment, stating, “With this development, it will not be long before a suspected murderer or armed robber will boldly walk to court with the unthinkable prayer that the court should injunct law enforcement agencies from investigating him.”