Ghana: 10 things about Kissi Agyebeng, the special prosecutor on corruption

By Kent Mensah
Posted on Wednesday, 24 August 2022 11:54

Special ProsecutorKissi Agyebeng
Special Prosecutor-nominee Kissi Agyebeng/ rights reserved

Ghana special prosecutor on corruption Kissi Agyebeng is trying to make the vice less attractive to government officials. It is a full time job.

A year of silence, carefully reviewing documents with his team, Agyebeng is now dominating media headlines as he goes after public sector workers allegedly involved in corruption.

He has ordered the commissioner of customs to stop all auction sales until he concludes a probe into their activities from 2016 to August 2022.

He has also recovered $100,000 from Labianca Foods, owned by a member of the council of state – an advisory body for the president – for allegedly paying lowered taxes with the help of customs officials.

Here are ten things you should know about the special prosecutor:

1. Modest upbringing

Kissi Agyebeng was born on 2 July 1978 in Kwahu-Tafo in the Eastern Region of Ghana. His father, Sefah Agyebeng, is a retired assistant commissioner of taxes and a teacher for much of his adult life. His mother, Mary Akua Ntiriwaa, belongs to the royal Asona Clan of Kwahu-Nkwatia. She is a seamstress and a trader at the Kantamanto Market in the central business district of Accra.

The young Agyebeng is the second of five siblings. His childhood was characterised by a very modest existence at La and Teshie in Accra. He picked the traits of academia and street-smart self-improvement from his parents – he regularly accompanied his father to several lecture halls and his mother on the rail lines running through the famous Kantamanto Market – known worldwide as the biggest second hand cloth hub in West Africa – as she plied her trade.

2. Academic high flyer

He holds a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Cornell Law School in Business Corporations, Securities Regulation, International Commercial Arbitration and International Business Transactions. He holds another Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Marine & Environmental Law. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the University of Ghana School of Law where he graduated with First Class Honours. He undertook his high school education at the Accra Academy between 1989 and 1996, where he sat for the GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations.

3. Prolific writer

At the age of 28 he started life as a lecturer. Since October 2006, Agyebeng has been a lecturer at the University of Ghana School of Law in Criminal Law, International Humanitarian Law and Legal Writing.

He has several publications in law journals and co-authored a textbook on Conflict of Laws in Ghana. He completed a double-masters degree in 18 months.

4. Private Law practice

After several years in private practice, Agyebeng set up his law firm, Cromwell Gray LLP, in 2014 operating from Accra. One of his landmark cases was the football corruption scandal that hit the continent in 2018.

5. Football administrator

Agyebeng served as the vice chair of the Appeals Committee of the Ghana Football Association between 2017 – 2018.

6. Electronic Communications Tribunal

He served as the chairman of Ghana’s Electronic Communications Tribunal – an ad hoc appellate tribunal that hears appeals in respect of the regulation of electronic communications, broadcasting and the use of the electro-magnetic spectrum.

7. Social life

Agyebeng is a member of Lions Clubs International – a service organisation which seeks to improve the world through kindness. He is an avid power walker and he loves sports cars. He loves partying. “I miss them,” he once said in a radio interview.

8. Hidden name

Kissi Agyebeng dropped his English name William officially at a point.

When he was asked for the reason in a radio interview recently, he said: “I ain’t English! My father had the same name so it was a bit uncomfortable dropping it.

After a while I had a discussion with him that this is where we part names in terms of the English. He is cool with that because he hasn’t been using his English name for a while.”

9. Defender of press freedom

Until his appointment, Agyebeng was the defence counsel for arguably the most controversial investigative journalist in Ghana, Anas Aremeyaw Anas – who uncovered the football-related scandal mentioned above.

Some of the landmark cases he engaged in for the award-winning journalist included the judicial corruption probe leading to the removal of high court judges and 20 lower court judges.

10. International connections

He is a fellow of the Institute of African Studies at Cornell University and the Canadian International Development Agency Fellowship for the Marine and Environmental Law Programme at Dalhousie University.

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