General News of Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Source: citifmonline.com

Parliament to vet Martin Amidu today despite lawsuit

The Appointments Committee of Parliament will today [Tuesday], vet President Akufo-Addo’s nominee for the Office of Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, despite a lawsuit challenging the nomination.

The former deputy Attorney General, Dominic Ayine, among other things posits that, Mr. Amidu, being 66 years of age, is too old to hold that office.

The lawsuit, which was filed at the Supreme Court yesterday [Monday], did not place an injunction on the vetting process, but is praying the court to annul the entire process if it finds merit in case against Mr. Amidu.

According to Dominic Ayine, it will be unconstitutional for Martin Amidu to be approved for the position.

In his argument, he said the Office of the Special Prosecutor falls under the broad category of public officers who by the constitution must retire by age 60 with a possible extension to 65 years.

Dr. Ayine contends that Amidu’s age thus disqualifies him from holding that office.

The Special Prosecutor is however under Article 145 of the constitution, given the conditions of service of Court of Appeal judges who retire at age 70.

But Dr. Ayine says the said provision does not apply to Martin Amidu. He is seeking a declaration that “by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4), and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retirement age of all holders of public office created pursuant to Article(1)(d) is sixty years, anyhow not beyond (65).”

He argued in his writ that, “any other interpretation would result in an unlawful amendment of Article 199 of the Constitution by legislation.”

Using the same sections of the constitution, he held that “no person above the age of 65 years is eligible for employment in any public office created under Article 190(1)(d).”

He is thus seeking a declaration from the Supreme Court that Mr. Amidu, “is not qualified or eligible to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

The defendants in the suit are the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, and Mr. Martin Amidu, the nominee himself.

Nana Addo names Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor

Mr. Amidu, a man who has earned the nickname ‘Citizen Vigilante’ for his no-nonsense stance and campaign against corruption particularly in the NDC administration, was named by President Akufo-Addo on January 11, 2018, after an emergency cabinet meeting at the Flagstaff House.

The appointment of Mr. Amidu, a known member of the opposition NDC who has been very critical of the then John Mahama administration for various corruption scandals, came as a shock to many.

Mr. Amidu was widely commended and celebrated for his fight against corruption, when he single-handedly pursued known NDC businessman Alfred Woyome to the Supreme Court, and secured a ruling for the retrieval of the Ghc51million judgement debt paid to him by the state under the NDC administration.

There have been concerns that the NDC is scared that Mr. Amidu may pursue a political agenda to jail members of the party. But the party has stated on several occasions stated that it harbours no such fears.

Most members of the NDC who spoke about Mr. Amidu’s appointment, however acknowledged his competence for the office.