By Frank Amponsah
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, after he received and accepted the nomination of former Attorney General under the late President John Evans Atta Mills government, Martin Alamisi Amidu, for the coveted Special Prosecutor job from the Attorney General, Gloria Akufo, yesterday, let out some kind words and what appeared to be the reason for his acceptance of the nominee.
Martin Amidu, the President said, has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of the new office.
Announcing the appointment of Mr. Martin Amidu at the Flagstaff House, President Akufo Addo described the former deputy Attorney General under the Rawlings government as a prominent legal personality who was commended even by the Supreme Court itself for his public spiritedness in ensuring the protection of public purse.
He pointed out that the discharge of one of the important function of his government was the fight against corruption in public life, hence the nationwide demand for the creation of special office to fight the growing cancer.
The establishment of the special prosecutor and independent non-partisan prosecutor with relevant capabilities to lead the fight and hold public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardships of public finances, he said, is the first stage of the fulfilment of his promise to the people of Ghana.
President Akufo Addo said he could also personally vouch for Mr. Amidu’s public spiritedness, saying that “We were on opposite sides in a series of landmark constitutional cases in the period leading up to and in the early years of the 4th Republic, well known to students of constitutional law, which helped shape the evolution of the Constitution of the 4th Republic. As Deputy Attorney General, as he then was, he conducted those cases with the fairness which should be a cardinal feature of the conduct of any self-respecting lawyer.”
Nana Akufo-Addo also averred that in recent times, the stench of corruption in public life was such that there was a general, nationwide demand for the creation of additional, focussed instruments to fight the canker of corruption that was visibly troubling at the heart of the nation.
“The response of the New Patriotic Party to this demand was, inter alia, to pledge, in its manifesto for the 2016 general elections, the establishment of the Office of Special Prosecutor, an independent, non-partisan body with the relevant professional capability, to lead the fight, and hold public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardship of public finances,” he reiterated.
Read President Nana Addo: “I, thus, have the honour to submit to Parliament, when it reconvenes, the name of Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, for its approval for appointment as Special Prosecutor. It is my hope and expectation that the praiseworthy speed and dispatch, with which Parliament acted on my nominees for ministerial appointment last year, will characterise its handling of this nomination to enable Mr. Amidu, as soon as possible, enter into office to begin the important work that awaits him.”
Martin Amidu’s appointment is expected to eliminate the fear of many who suggested that the Office of the Special Prosecutor would be compromised, and not function effectively and fairly, if any loyalist of the governing NPP was appointed to occupy the position.
When fully operational, the Special Prosecutor’s office will be independent of the Executive, which observers believe will allow it to adequately deal with corruption-related issues which have plagued past governments.
The Office will have the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63 and other corruption-related offenses implicating public officers, political office holders and their accomplices in the public sector.
The Prosecutor will also be mandated to trace and recover the proceeds of corruption.
Meanwhile, former President Jerry John Rawlings has in a congratulatory message to Martin Amidu stated that “The President couldn’t have made a better choice”.
Read Flt Lt Rawlings’s message below:
RAWLINGS CONGRATULATES AMIDU
Former President Rawlings has congratulated Mr. Martin Amidu on his appointment as the Special Prosecutor at the office of the Independent Prosecutor.
Mr. Rawlings who was hopeful that Parliament would approve the appointment said, “The President couldn’t have made a better choice”.
“The president by this appointment has risen above partisanship and recognized a highly principled citizen.
“Mr. Amidu has proven to be a fearless anti-corruption crusader whose pursuit of truth and justice has won him national admiration.
“I call on all Ghanaians to offer the appointee the required support and information in pursuit of what will undoubtedly be a challenging role,” the former President said.
Flt Lt Rawlings urged Ghanaians to pray for God’s guidance and strength for Mr. Amidu as he works to restore the wheels of justice.