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General News of Saturday, 17 February 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

When I heard Amidu appointed Special Prosecutor, I ran away - NPP MP

Adentan New Patriotic Party MP Yaw Buabeng Asamoah has suggested it is an unthinkable move for an African president to appoint his political rival to be in charge of prosecuting corrupt officials.

Hailing the nomination of Martin Amidu as the "most audacious move an African president could ever make", the NPP MP said it proves the President is "purely" interested in restoring public trust.

Amidu has built a reputation as a man of principle and is not likely to succumb to pressure from politicians.

Once highly regarded by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after leaving the Atta Mills-led NDC administration in 2012 over the judgment debt saga.

Martin Amidu, the longest-serving deputy Attorney-General and one-time Vice-Presidential candidate to late President John Evans Atta Mills went to court single-handedly, to secure a judgment ordering an NDC financier to return more than ?51.2m in wrongful payments.

In his lonely battles and fiery letters, Amidu exposed the Mahama-led NDC administration as a lethargic, excuse-giving government when it came to fighting corruption.

He is facing disciplinary action within the NDC with some keen to have him expelled from the party for helping the NPP win the 2016 general elections.

After six years out of a public service he spent more than 20 years in, Amidu has landed a post that has endorsed his politically suicidal decisions to fight political corruption.

The Special Prosecutor, a creation of the NPP government is to make the fight against political corruption a non-partisan one.

Yaw Buabeng Asamoah revealed he was in disbelief when he first heard of the shocking appointment.

He said he had just walked out of the Cash-for-seat committee meeting to address the media when a journalist relayed the breaking news to him on January 11, 2018.

"One young man rushed to me and said Martin is the Special Prosecutor, it didn't click". The legal practitioner said the journalist pressed him for a comment

"I run away from the mic", he laughed explaining he had to collect his thoughts.

"What has the president done?", he said he processed the news.

Yaw Buabeng gave three reasons to back his satisfaction of Martin Amidu as the President's choice.

Gleaning from the nominee's vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament, the NPP MP said Amidu although temperamental shows a very consistent understanding of the law and commitment to good governance.

He said this means the fight against political corruption would not be a witch-hunt as some have expressed fears.

Yaw Buabeng said he was also impressed with Amidu's commitment to use plea-bargain. It is an arrangement between prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or an agreement to drop other charges.

Plea bargain helps to recover ill-gotten gain without going through a lengthy exhausting criminal trial.

He praised Amidu's take on the issue of asset declaration by political office holders.

Some experts have criticised the current state of the law, pointing out that it does nothing to remove the perception that politicians use power to amass wealth.

This is because the declaration is almost a top secret and cannot be checked or verified unless a High Court so orders.

He said with perceptions that Amidu has a bullish suspicion of politicians, he thought the nominee would back the push for full disclosure.

But Amidu told the committee while he has no worry about disclosing his 'little' assets he appreciates those who have a lot but are unwilling to put it all out in public.

Amidu said some public-spirited Ghanaians may shun public service opportunities if they are made to declare their assets in public.

"The man has a nuanced approach", Yaw Buabeng.