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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Columnist: Dr. K. Adusei-Fosu

The curious case of ex Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu – Part one

The former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu The former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu

I woke up one morning to read the news that Mr. Martin Amidu had resigned.

The first thing that came in mind was; aaah….is it because of health issues or his age that is why he has resigned? These were the only reasons that would have made sense to me about his resignation. But this wasn’t the case.

After speculations for his resignation “flew” around, there came a copy of a lengthy letter of resignation “raining” on every social media platform I found myself. This letter addressed matters of urgency to his role as Special Prosecutor and reasons why he “pulled the plug” for his role as the first Special Prosecutor of Ghana.

This role I think was important for the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo because it was one of the numerous promises, he made during his 2016 campaign as the presidential candidate for the now ruling NPP party in Ghana. He indeed fulfilled this promise, and “garnished” it with a “surprise package” by nominating a known face in the opposition NDC, Mr. Martin Amidu, to lead this new department established by the President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to take on corrupt activities in public sectors of the country as well as matters of interest to Ghana with regards to corruption in its entirety. I understand other readers of this article may argue that Mr. Martin Amidu was not in good terms with his political party, NDC at the time.

But the fact of the matter remains that Mr. Martin Amidu was known as a member of the NDC. So, I will suggest we save this argument for today and talk about the subject with reference to the title of this article. OK, so coming back to the issue of Mr. Martin Amidu, after his nomination followed a public hearing interview for Mr. Martin Amidu. It was an interesting interview the entire country watched as it was broadcasted nationwide. That alone set the tone for transparency to me with regards to how things were made public from nomination through to swearing-in of the Mr. Martin Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.

Most Ghanaians were shocked at why H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the first gentleman of Ghana would nominate someone from the opposition to independently scrutinize corrupt activities in the country. Indeed, this was a huge mandate given Mr. Martin Amidu to serve the country although he had hit his retirement age. But his age never stopped him from accepting the position.

After Mr. Martin Amidu was sworn into office as the Special Prosecutor, several challenges “rained” on his personality from the opposition NDC as well as some individual citizens and groups. The best person to lead this office of the Special Prosecutor, was definitely a person who was not aligned with the ruling NPP party, in my opinion. Hence to date, I strongly believe H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took an excellent step to nominate a known face in the opposition party to lead this office. The president had lots of “flowers thrown on him” by the late Ex-Prez. JJ Rawlings for taking such a bold decision. It is a matter of common sense to understand why every reasonable person who is not myopic would praise the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for putting Ghana’s corruption watch, in the hands of a vibrant outspoken opposition member Mr. Martin Amidu.

The President on the day of appointing Mr. Martin Amidu earned my respect and I had a certain level of trust in him that he was not in governance to tolerate corruption.

As time went down the line, after over two years in office, Mr. Martin Amidu resigned. The reasons he provided in the wrangling letter to explain reasons for resigning was very “confusing” to me. I could not believe it. I was disappointed in him for resigning from the position. His deputy is still at post and has not complained though. I am really looking forward to hearing more from the deputy of how the office was run during Mr. Amidu’s term in office because I still cannot fathom why he resigned with all those reasons he gave. It does not make sense to me.

In his resignation letter, he did not make mention of any step he took to address the challenges he was facing in his office to the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. I was expecting to read in several paragraphs like “I have sought support from the H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo several times, but he is not supporting me to put the structures or offices I need to set up in my office as the special prosecutor of Ghana”. My emphasis is on the word “Several Paragraphs”.

Unfortunately, No! there weren’t such paragraphs in one of the lengthiest resignation letters I have ever read. I was deeply disappointed for the reasons expounded Mr. Martin Amidu’s resignation letter. I thought these were not grounds to resign but, aah well, individual differences could have played a role, in that, we all handle situations differently. So, although I disagreed with his reasons, I respected his decision.

The one reason that makes me doubt his competence is the fact that he could not stand his ground as he has always shown to be in the eyes of most Ghanaians based on the reasons, he provided in his resignation letter. My question to Mr. Martin Amidu after perusing his “thesis-like” resignation letter is this; “Did Mr. Amidu ever thought of fighting corruption in Ghana like the way Lionel Messi dribbles footballers on the pitch during football match? What I mean is, was Mr. Martin Amidu, thinking of an easy homerun with prosecuting people found or alleged to be corrupt in Ghana? My humble answer to him is, “There was no way his office was going to be run without hurdles both with his staff in his office as a Special Prosecutor or outside the frame of his office”.

I was one of the happiest people to see him nominated into the office as the Special Prosecutor for Ghana. My happiness was embedded in the fact that at least the President of Ghana had nominated someone to keep an eye on his reign as President and for that matter every office in the public sector during his term. My joy was that the purse of Ghana would be saved from financial predators who found themselves in the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s cabinet.

However, Mr. Martin Amidu deflated that joy I first had upon hearing of his nomination and now I am not sure who the next Special Prosecutor will be. Is it again going to be someone from any of the opposition parties in Ghana? We wait to see who the next person would be. All I pray for is to be happy to know that Ghana is once again in the hands of a corruption watcher who has no strings with the current administration, and I trust the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo to do so.

My message to Mr. Martin Amidu is that he has failed our “mother”, Ghana, and should not have resigned from his role as the Special Prosecutor taking into consideration the context of his resignation letter. Unless there is something else, a major challenge he faced he could not let the general public know in the office as a Special Prosecutor, then, for the first time ever, I do not agree with this move Mr. Martin Amidu made.