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General News of Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Source: classfmonline.com

I’m nobody’s poodle – Amidu to Buaben

Special Prosecutor Mr Martin Amidu has said he will not kowtow to the whims and caprices of any political party and that if the Communication Director of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa thinks he (Amidu) is talking too much, the Adentan MP should have him removed from office.

Mr Amidu’s reply followed a call made by the lawmaker on him to stop complaining and just go ahead and do his job.

According to Mr Amidu, Mr Buaben Asamoa has been pretending to be directing “me as an ignoramus on how to perform the duties of my office”.

“I wish Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa to understand that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is governed by statute and I am mandated to lead it in the achievement of that mandate. I do not need any direct or indirect instructions from any officeholder of any political party like him. It is time for him and others like him from other political parties to stop confusing the fact that I was appointed by the President of the Republic to mean that it created a vested right in the political party which supported him to win the elections to instruct or direct me as the Special Prosecutor.

“I was appointed by the President in his capacity as the Executive Authority of Ghana under the 1992 Constitution and not as the flag bearer of any political party. Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa should understand that by my oath at my vetting in Parliament for the appointment, I was not going to be the poodle of any political party and he, as the Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party, should not try to test my resolve. Should he think that I am talking too much and not doing my job, the simple solution is for him to have me removed from office. Until then, he should leave me alone to continue to exercise the independent duties of my office in accordance with my oath before Parliament and my oath at my appointment as the Special Prosecutor,” Mr Amidu wrote in his latest epistle.

Below is the full epistle

THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IS NOT A POODLE OF ANY POLITICAL PARTY: BY MARTIN A. B. K. AMIDU

Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa as the Communication Director of the Governing political party has on several occasions sought to create the impression in the public mind that he has authority as the Communication Director of his political party to tacitly instruct the Special Prosecutor in the media on how to perform the functions of his office.

The latest attempt by Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa, Member of Parliament for Adentan, in his capacity as the Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party to tacitly direct and control my functions as the Special Prosecutor is contained in interviews he gave to the media in response to clarifications I made in an interview with Citi FM Breakfast Show on Monday when I was called and asked about the status of Mr Charles Bissue’s case which the public already knew was being investigated by my Office. Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa latched on my explanation and information to the public through the interview to run to the defence of the Criminal Investigation Department as though it is a Department of deaf and dumb.

Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa did this by pretending to be directing me as an ignoramus on how to perform the duties of my office:

“I don’t think it’s useful to be at opposite ends of the table with the CID. I think it is better for him to pick up that report, look at its flaws, if any he finds per his purview, he finds per the Special Prosecutor’s Act and move on to deal with those issues. Nobody has asked him not to work on Mr Bissue’s report, nobody has stopped him from moving to investigate the matter and nobody can stop him. Why is he complaining all the time, let him do his work, it’s simple as that…”

Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa, as the Communication Director of his party, on a previous occasion had the audacity to use the media to instruct me to prosecute “the low-hanging fruits”, whatever that means.

Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa, as the Communication Director of his party, thinks that Ghanaians are so foolish that they may not suspect that his verbal attack on my office in the media on Monday may be construed by rational citizens as a subtle way of defending the CID and a party colleague who was the subject of the alleged exoneration. He appears to pretend not to understand that there are several subtle ways of interfering with and indirectly stopping a fair investigation.

The Ghanaian public has a right to know that political appointees serving as public officers are not allowed to choose their own forum for the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences even when the suspect is both a political appointee and political party colleague. Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa also thinks that Ghanaians are so naïve that they cannot see in his tacit instructions and attacks on me a defence of the CID by him and on behalf of his political party.

Why come to the defence of a public institution when it is capable of defending itself except to score political points?

I wish Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa to understand that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is governed by statute and I am mandated to lead it in the achievement of that mandate. I do not need any direct or indirect instructions from any officeholder of any political party like him. It is time for him and others like him from other political parties to stop confusing the fact that I was appointed by the President of the Republic to mean that it created a vested right in the political party which supported him to win the elections to instruct or direct me as the Special Prosecutor.

I was appointed by the President in his capacity as the Executive Authority of Ghana under the 1992 Constitution and not as the flag bearer of any political party.

Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa should understand that by my oath at my vetting in Parliament for the appointment I was not going to be the poodle of any political party and he as the Communication Director of the New Patriotic Party should not try to test my resolve. Should he think that I am talking too much and not doing my job the simple solution is for him to have me removed from office. Until then he should leave me alone to continue to exercise the independent duties of my office in accordance with my oath before Parliament and my oath at my appointment as the Special Prosecutor.

Background

Mr Asamoa had asked Mr Amidu to stop complaining and just go ahead and do his job.

On Monday, 22 July 2019, the state-owned Daily Graphic reported that the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service had exonerated Mr Charles Bissue of any wrongdoing in the Galamsey Fraud documentary of investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in which the former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was caught allegedly dishing out instructions to his subordinates to circumvent laid-down procedures in licensing a make-believe mining firm.

He allegedly received GHS35,000 for that as a bribe.

Following his exoneration by the CID, Mr Amidu granted an interview to Accra-based Citi FM in which he said the presidential staffer has not been cleared of the corruption allegations levelled against him.

According to him, the CID Director-General, COP Maame Tiwaa Addo Danquah wrote to him claiming she had been instructed by the Minister of Science, Environment, Technology, and Innovation, Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng; and the Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery to undertake the parallel investigation.

Mr Amidu said: “We commenced investigations but before I could invite the suspect, I read a newspaper publication in which Charles Bissue said that the CID was investigating his case and that the complainant should go there and make their evidence. So, I wrote to the Director-General of the CID to tell her that the offences of corruption have been apportioned to the Office of the Special Prosecutor. We have been petitioned, we have indicated that we are going to begin investigations, there shouldn’t be duplicity of our efforts, so, she should stop it.

“She writes to me to say she’s been instructed by the Minister of Environment, who is the Chairman of that organisation [IMCIM] and the Ministry for the Interior to investigate. So, investigations continued.

“I wrote objecting very strongly and then I began the investigations. I wrote to the Chief of Staff to release Bissue. A statement was taken from him. Andy was invited. A statement was taken from him. We have by then taken a statement from the complainant, who came here with his lawyers. There was a video which was sent. I haven’t watched it because I’m not an investigator. I don’t get involved in this. I don’t know what was written to the investigators and the docket hasn’t reached where it will come to me. They viewed it with everybody there and I’m sure whosoever came must have viewed it and the investigators are dealing with the matter.

“There are some knotty points which have to be thrashed out before the docket will be brought to us because the complainant has given a statement. Mr Anas Aremeyaw Anas sent us a letter a few days ago that he wanted to be a witness and I told him I couldn’t guarantee the conditions under which he wanted to be a witness but he could bring a written statement. He came for statement forms. He is to submit them. When all that is done – because the complainant and the suspects have all given evidence, the material which is the video is there, I don’t know what it says – [and] when we’ve gone through that process, we shall make a decision whether there’s a corruption offense committed or not.

“So, the case is with us. I’ve told the CID that they don’t have jurisdiction. I’ve written to the Minister for the Interior, I’ve copied the Jubilee House, and said that we cannot concurrently investigate it. You either want to set up an office to investigate corruption or when it suits you, you send it to the police. So, the matter is being investigated by us. When the docket is brought up, we shall make a decision whether or not there’s a case to answer.

“You can’t investigate a case when you haven’t heard both sides and this is not the first time this type of obstruction, which I’ve referred to in my write-up, is happening. People choose to interfere with my corruption investigations when they think it doesn’t suit them but we have to do professional work – impartially. I have been brought here to do a job and that’s what I’m going to do.

“And the police know that I’ve told them they can’t do it. And the Minister for the Interior knows that I’ve told him that for them to direct the police to do it is a political decision. If I’ve been set up to investigate without political direction, why will politicians send the case to the police when they know I’m supposed to handle it? We either want to set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor or we don’t.

“I’ve told you I wrote to the Director-General, CID, that it wasn’t her jurisdiction. I’ve written to the Minister for the Interior. I’ve copied the Presidency. I wrote to the Chief of Staff to release Bissue, and I asked that” ‘Treat a crime as a crime, I don’t care who is involved’.

“The point is, as far as I am concerned, the police have no jurisdiction in the matter, and no minister can refer cases which belong to me to them. The President said he was appointing me so that there won’t be political interference, so, why will a minister bypass me and refer a case to the police?

“My investigators will handle it. When they are ready, they will give the dockets to us as prosecutors, we’ll assess it and we’ll make a decision. And then I’ll see who will stop me”, Mr Amidu noted.

Responding to Mr Amidu, Mr Asamoah, who is also the Communication Director for the governing New Patriotic Party, said: “I think he [Mr Amidu] can take advantage of their investigations and they can carry it even further to satisfy himself on whether or not they did a good job… I don’t think the CID’s work ousts Mr Amidu’s jurisdiction in anyway at all.

“… You have power to prosecute politically-exposed persons, the matter is on your table, nobody has stopped you from investigating the matter. Why is he not investigating it and carrying it on?

“Why is he complaining all the time, let him do his work, it’s as simple as that. Has the president told Mr Martin Amidu to stop working? No. Has the minister who wrote the letter to the CID told Martin Amidu to stop working? No. Has the CID in its report told Martin Amidu to stop working? No. Mr Amidu, nobody can direct him [about] what to do and that office was set up by this government. It’s a very bold decision. I don’t think it’s useful to be at opposite ends of the table with the CID. I think it will be better for him to pick up that report, look at flaws, if any he finds per his purview, he finds per the Special Prosecutor’s Act and move on to deal with those issues”, he said, adding: “Nobody has asked him not to work on Mr Bissue’s report, nobody has stopped him from moving to investigate the matter and nobody can stop him”.