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General News of Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Martin Amidu defends Special Prosecutor job despite criticizing the law

The Special Prosecutor nominee, Martin Amidu, has revealed that President Nana Akufo-Addo convinced him not to reject the offer despite his reservations with the law that set up the office.

After discussions between him and President Akufo-Addo, he came to the conclusion that the fundamental purpose of the Special Prosecutor’s office to eradicate corruption has not been compromised.

In a 2017 article, Mr. Amidu raised concerns with the Special Prosecutor Bill, which was later passed into law to become Act 959.

Among other things, he cited the inclusion of a clause that he said sought to limit the Special Prosecutor to specific crimes, the equation of the office to the judiciary, and the appointment of the office’s staff by the President.

He also notably argued that whoever was appointed as the Special Prosecutor did not need parliamentary approval.

Mr. Amidu’s critique led to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) criticizing him for what it called the neglect of his own principles by accepting the nomination.

But responding to questions on his 25-page critique of the office during his vetting today [Tuesday], he recounted that, President Akufo-Addo said to him:
“You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, that meant that, in spite of what I said, once the Supreme Court hasn’t made a ruling on it [the Special Prosecutor Bill], and the law had been passed, and he wanted me to be his nominee, it meant I had to subject myself to the approval of Parliament and once I had nothing to hide, I said no problem.”

He added that, he came to understand that “it is better to fight the canker ourselves in a democratic regime than to allow it to fester and some opportunists will use it as an excuse as has been used in the past.”

Aside from this, Mr. Amidu said that, “most of his critique [of the Special Prosecutor Bill] have been taken care of.”
“As far as I am concerned, the law in its current form is doable, and as I wrote in my critique, what the president was suggesting was doable and as long as it is doable, I go with it,” he added.

Amidu touts integrity

Mr. Amidu’s vetting has been marked by him asserting his competence for the Special Prosecutor job.

He said his acceptance of the nomination was not about attaining any high status, but about continuing his mission to rid Ghana of corruption.

He also said he was more preoccupied with setting an example for Ghanaians with his integrity than collecting awards.

Mr. Amidu said his firm stance against corruption makes him best man for the job, but the Appointments Committee could disqualify him if they wanted “somebody who will look the other way.”

Mr. Amidu’s nomination as the Special Prosecutor was met with widespread acclaim from all sections of society.

He earned himself the moniker ‘Citizen Vigilante’ for his no-nonsense stance and campaign against corruption, particularly in the NDC administration.