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General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

‘My office was almost forgotten in 2019 budget’ – Amidu

The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in November 2018, announced a GH¢180 million budgetary allocation to the Office of Special Prosecutor to help it effectively undertake its mandate in 2019.

However, that wouldn’t have happened if the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu had not been persistent and taken personal initiatives in that regard.

Mr. Martin Amidu, who spoke exclusively to Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu and Mabel Aku Banneseh of the Daily Graphic a year after his appointment, said his office had been completely forgotten prior to the budget reading.
He explained that although his office should have been engaged much earlier in the year concerning the budget, they had not received any such notice, hence his decision to prepare a budget himself and submit it to the Finance Minister for consideration in October 2018.

“Many people don’t know how the budget went there [Ministry of Finance]. I myself on my own submitted the budget in October. Nobody asked for it. I was almost forgotten about. I was forgotten about entirely until I prepared my own budget and submitted it,” Martin Amidu said.

He also gave credit to the Finance Minister for considering his Office’s budget in the face of the dire challenges they were confronted with.

“The ideal process is that, I should have been in the budget preparation process since January last year. By October, nobody had submitted any request for me to submit anything, I did it on my own with people I had gathered round. My luck is that we had a gentleman as a Minister of Finance who understood my plight and when he noticed it, he took it up,” the Special Prosecutor said.

Martin Amidu, who was recently publicly criticized over his inability to prosecute any of the numerous alleged cases of corruption involving politicians of the previous and current government as expected by many Ghanaians a year after his appointment, expressed optimism that his outfit would be better placed and more efficient in fighting corruption with the approval of the budget, as they will not be able to purchase some equipment and recruit more staff when given clearance.

“It is not intended for me, it is intended to make sure that this year, if we are lucky to get clearance, we can buy the equipment that will make it positive for us to be as effective as the anti-corruption in Hong Kong or Singapore or in any other place,” he said.