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General News of Thursday, 22 February 2018

Source: classfmonline.com

It's unacceptable for card-bearing Amidu to be Special Prosecutor – Valerie Sawyerr

Dr Valerie Sawyerr, former Deputy Chief of Staff in the past National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, has stated that: “It is unacceptable for a card-bearing member of a Political Party to be appointed as a Special Prosecutor”.

Special Prosecutor nominee, Martin Amidu, refuted claims that he has resigned from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to join the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Mr Amidu said he considers himself as a foundation member of the NDC and believes in the ideals upon which the NDC was founded.

“I have not joined NPP but I believe that parties can collaborate to ameliorate the ills that plague society. That is why we as political parties, each try to see how best we can develop the country,” Mr Amidu told parliament’s Appointments Committee on Tuesday, 13 February 2018, during his vetting.

However, Dr Sawyerr in her latest article titled ‘Bird of the Night (Part III)’ insist that Mr Amidu’s political position “goes against the expectations of ‘independence’ that attend the office”.

She maintained: “President Akufo-Addo must insist that you officially give up your membership of any political party before he appoints you as Special Prosecutor. That is, if the Supreme Court will allow him to appoint you at sixty-six years old”.

Below is her full article:

BIRD OF THE NIGHT (Part III)

I hear the hoot of the Great Horned Owl, the Bubo Virginianus! Alamisi, where are you running to? Did you think I had forgotten about you? It is unacceptable for a card-bearing member of a Political Party to be appointed as a Special Prosecutor.

It goes against the expectations of ‘independence’ that attend the office.

President Akufo-Addo must insist that you officially give up your membership of any Political Party before he appoints you as Special Prosecutor. That is, if the Supreme Court will allow him to appoint you at sixty-six years old.

Let’s break it down to basics:

The 1992 Constitution provides that the retirement age for public officers is 60 years;

The 1992 Constitution provides options for extending the retirement age for an extra five years;

The 1992 Constitution provides that an Appeal Court Judge should vacate his post when he/she is 70 years old;

The 1992 Constitution equates the terms and conditions of certain specified officers to those of an Appeal Court judge – these officers are specifically mentioned in the Constitution;

The 1992 Constitution does not include the Special Prosecutor in this category;

The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017 (Act 959) provides that the Special Prosecutor will enjoy the terms and conditions applicable to an Appeal Court Judge;

Can the 70year clause in the 1992 Constitution be applied to the Special Prosecutor;

Will Act 959 override the 1992 Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land?

... 1992 Constitution - 60 plus 5 years (unless otherwise stated in the Constitution); ... Act 959 - 70 years for Special Prosecutor;

Special Prosecutor is not mentioned in the Constitution; ... Can Act 959 amend the 1992 Constitution?

This seems to be the gravamen of the Supreme Court suit filed by Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine.

The Supreme Court has, in the past, held in a similar case that the terms and conditions of an Appeal Court Judge would apply only in relation to salary and other emoluments, and not in relation to the 70year retirement age. Will the Supreme Court follow or vary its earlier position? We will wait patiently for their ruling!

What about the age limit under the Legal Service laws? Martin, do you remember Madam Estelle Appiah? She was Head of the Drafting Department at the Ministry of Justice when you were appointed Attorney General? A great lady and a professional gem to the nation! Efforts were made to extend her contract when she turned 60 years but as Attorney General you engaged in a horrendous tussle to drive her out of office, and you succeeded.

Do you remember Martin? Your argument to remove her from office was based on the age factor. You would not even tolerate the option of her being given an extension based on her mastery over that department and the ‘exigencies of the service’.

She headed a department under the Attorney General; some have described the office of the Special Prosecutor also as a department under the Attorney General.

I salute you Estelle! Wherever you are, God is smiling upon you. “To go in the dark with a light is to know the light, To know the dark, go dark, Go without sight and find that the dark too blooms and sings, And is travelled by dark feet and dark wings”. (Wendell Berry)

Alamisi, as the self-proclaimed Defender of the Constitution, I expect you to tell the President that you do not think it is legally right for you to take up post before the Supreme Court gives its ruling in the case of Dr. Dominic Ayine v The Attorney-General & Martin Amidu.

Calm down bro. Why have you started throwing tantrums so soon? Let me go back into hibernation mode before you make any assault attempts, because you can rest assured that any such move will be met squarely with Chimpanzee kingdom huffs and puffs directed at your ‘bofrot’ … Pan Troglodytes Style!!! Shalom!

I am for peace!