Lawyer Downplays Amidu’s Appointment As Special Prosecutor
A Private Legal Practitioner and Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer of the NDC, Edudzi Tamaklo has raised doubts over Martin Amidu’s ability to deliver on his mandate as Special Prosecutor given his limited success when he served as Attorney General.
Martin Amidu was named as the Special Prosecutor by the President on Thursday January 11, 2018.
He is expected to be approved by Parliament in the coming days.
Though many have since commended the President’s nomination, with some describing it as a masterstroke, Mr. Tamakloe believes Mr. Amidu will not bring anything new to the table, given that he failed to prosecute many corruption-related cases when he served as Attorney General under former President, John Evans Atta Mills.
“What we cannot also take away is the fact that the conduct of the person appointed is there for all to see. You cannot dismiss those concerns. With the greatest respect, he was the Attorney General from 1992 to 2000 until he became running mate to Prof. Mills. Maybe. Can you tell me the number of corruption cases that he prosecuted? Having become the Attorney General to Prof. Mills, we all do know the number of criminal cases that he prosecuted so where is this business?”
Mr. Tamakloe’s comment comes despite a call by the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey for the NDC to celebrate the nomination of a member of their party, Martin Amidu, as the country’s first Special Prosecutor.
According to him, the NDC should be happy because President Akufo-Addo has found the kind of quality needed to fight corruption in the country within the opposition party, describing it as a good sign.
“…It is good for the party to rather celebrate that they have a person that they made, that they shaped. He stood against them on principle and it’s good that their opponent who is in power now has seen that quality and wants to put it to greater use of the country. I think that is commendable,” he added.
About Special Prosecutor office
President Akufo-Addo signed into law, the Bill setting up the Special Prosecutor office after it was approved by Parliament in November 2017.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor marks the fulfilment of a major campaign promise of Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 elections aimed at fighting corruption.
But members of the opposition NDC had complained that the office cannot be independent if the Special Prosecutor was going to be a loyalist of the NPP.
The President in announcing Amidu, said he received the nomination from the Attorney General Gloria Akuffo, and has accepted the nominee, whose name will be forwarded to Parliament for approval when the House reconvenes from recess.
“The Attorney General is by a letter dated to me Thursday 11th January 2018 addressed to me exercised her power of nomination and submitted to me for my acceptance the name of the proposed special prosecutor. I have accepted the Attorney General’s nomination and will, in turn, submit for Parliament’s approval when it reconvenes on 23rd of January 2018 for its first meeting of this New Year the name of Martin Alamisi Benz Kaiser Amidu to be the first Special Prosecutor under the law,” he said.
The President noted that, Mr. Amidu has the requisite integrity and independence of character to occupy such challenging office.
“I have done so because I am fully convinced that Mr. Martin Amidu, a prominent legal personality who held the high office of the Attorney General of the Republic in the government of the late President John Evans Attah Mills has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this office.”
More About Martin Amidu
Martin A. B. K. Amidu was the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from January 2011 till January 2012 under the late President John Evans Atta-Mills.
Amidu, a member of the NDC, served as the Deputy Attorney-General for about the last four years of the Provisional National Defence Council military government.
After civilian rule was established in the Fourth Republic in January 1993, he continued to serve in the government of Jerry Rawlings as Deputy Attorney-General. This he did for both terms lasting eight years until January 2001.
In the December 2000 presidential elections, he stood as the running mate of John Atta Mills. They both however lost to President John Kufuor that year.
In January 2010, following a cabinet reshuffle, President Mills replaced Cletus Avoka with Martin Amidu as the Minister for Interior. As Amidu is a Builsa, some people raised questions as to his neutrality in dealing with the Bawku conflict. He, however, went successfully through vetting by the Parliament of Ghana and has since assumed his post.
Following the second major cabinet reshuffle by President Mills, Amidu became the Attorney general and Minister for Justice of Ghana.
Removal from Office
Martin Amidu was relieved of his post on Thursday January 19, 2012, by President John Evans Atta Mills under circumstances described by aides as ‘his misconduct’ at a meeting chaired by the president at the Osu Castle on January 18, 2012.
He made allegations relating to alleged financial impropriety on the part of another cabinet minister, allegations he was asked by the president to substantiate.
Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General, single-handedly challenged the legality of the payments after being relieved off his post at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money as Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney-General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
Following the delays in retrieving the money, Mr. Amidu in 2016, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to examine Alfred Woyome, on how he would pay back the money, after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government under the New Patriotic Party under the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo and his Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo’s assurance to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals Mr. Woyome in response prayed the Supreme Court to stay proceedings on the oral examination since he had filed for a review on the case.