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General News of Thursday, 11 January 2018


Appointing Amidu as Special Prosecutor ‘wise and prudent’ – Emile Short

A former Commissioner on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, CHRAJ, Emile Francis Short, has commended the President on the appointment of Martin Amidu as the country’s first Special Prosecutor pending parliamentary approval.

According to him, this is a clever and judicious decision on the side of the President in his efforts to fight corruption, saying the President should be congratulated.

“Well, I am very pleased with the appointment, and think we should all congratulate the president for this wise and prudent appointment. In my view, it demonstrates the president’s personal commitment in his fight against corruption to pick someone like Martin Amidu, who is a fervent anti-corruption crusader “he said.

He noted that Martin Amidu is competent for the special prosecutor role, and his appointment will be universally acclaimed by all anti-corruption crusaders.

“He [Martin Amidu] is independent-minded and I am sure he is someone who will not be influenced by political or party consideration. H is someone who has been proven to be very objective, he is very capable and competent as a lawyer and as a prosecutor, ”he said.

Emile said this decision by the President is going to boost the fight against corruption in terms of effective investigation and prosecution of persons implicated in acts of corruption.

He also noted that even though Martin Amidu fell out with the previous National Democratic Congress [NDC] government, and may be bitter against them, this will not disrupt his sense of judgment in prosecuting anyone from any political party.

“Well, my knowledge of him is such that he will be prepared to prosecute both people in previous administration as well the current administration, that is what is important. We need someone who would have the moral courage to prosecute persons implicated in corruption irrespective of their political affliations, so I see him as somebody who will be prepared to prosecute anybody that is implicated whether that person belongs to the NPP or NDC, and I think that is the kind of person some of us were hoping will be appointed to this position,” Emile said.

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 today [Thursday], after an emergency cabinet meeting at the Flagstaff House.

The President in announcing the name, said he received the nomination from the Attorney General Sophia 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 also noted that Mr. Amidu, although a retired public officer, has accepted the nomination. He added 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 Atta 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 aids 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 His Excellency 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.