President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday expressed absolute confidence in the Special Prosecutor and said any attempt by persons cited for corruption to influence his work would be fruitless.
“To those who are sending chiefs and men of God to the Special Prosecutor to intervene on their behalf, to try and dissuade Mr Martin Amidu from conducting his investigations, from the little I know of the man, they are engaged in a fruitless venture.”
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at the graduation ceremony of Officer Cadet Course Intake 25 of the Ghana Prisons Service, at the Prisons Officers Training School in Accra.
He said Mr Amidu would not in any circumstance succumb to public pressure in the discharge of his duty.
He underlined the government’s determination to decongest prisons across the country.
The nation’s prisons, built to accommodate 9,875 inmates, had been exceeded by some 48 per cent.
“Nsawam prisons’, for example, was built to house 850 persons. Its current occupancy stands at 3,450 persons, of which 223 are remand prisoners. Originally, there was no provision for remand prisoners at Nsawam.
President Akufo-Addo added, “we need to do something about these figures, and my Government is determined to so”.
He said following the successes chalked under the Justice for All Programme, the programme was expanding steadily to cover prison facilities such as the Nsawam Medium Security Prison and to prisons in Tarkwa, Sekondi, Akuse, Obuasi and Winneba.
Under the programme, two projects – the construction of a 2,000-capacity remand prison at Nsawam, and the expansion of residential accommodation for staff at Ankaful Maximum Security Prison, had been started, and would be completed.
The President said he found it refreshing that the Prisons Service had chosen to focus on agriculture, which continued to remain the anchor of the nation’s economy.
The Service had already taken delivery of five tractors, four mechanical planters, and a number of other agricultural equipment to increase the production of cash crops and staples and he said those inputs would help it to take advantage of the “Planting for Food and Jobs”, programme.
This would serve the dual purpose of training inmates in modern practices of agricultural production and also help generate income to supplement government subvention to the Service.
President Akufo-Addo announced that the number of medical personnel assigned to the Service had been increased, and that all prison infirmaries were going to be upgraded and adequately resourced.
In addition to logistics and infrastructure, clearance had been given for the recruitment of 1,000 young men and women to augment the staff strength.
He pledged support to help change and sanitise the reformation and rehabilitation effort of the country’s prisons.
“It is important that we give them the assurance of a better life after prison, by upholding their dignity and human rights. Officers of the Service must, at all times, exhibit high levels of discipline and professionalism in the discharge of their duties.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that crime had become sophisticated and multi-dimensional and said the war against it could not be won if the security agencies engaged in needless tussle for supremacy.
He therefore urged the security services to guard jealously the peace, security and stability of the nation, saying, “Each one of you has a unique mandate towards the maintenance of peace and security of our country.”
“I can assure you also that, under my watch as President of the Republic, the laws of this land will be applied to the letter, and without recourse to the ethnic, religious or political affiliations of the person involved,” he added.