Several people, including three top lawyers, have painted a gloomy picture for the office of the Special Prosecutor(SP) with the appointment of Martin Amidu, as its first boss.
While former Lands Minister, Inusah Fuseini, says President Nana Akufo-Addo, is in a fix with Amidu’s nomination likening it to holding onto the tail of a lion which he cannot let go, but continues to hold on to at his own peril, astute private legal practitioner, John Ndebugre, predicts he can see Martin Amidu walking out of office as the SP soon, due to certain provisions in the law establishing his office that might frustrate the effective discharge of his mandate.
Yet another renowned lawyer and Lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, Moses Foh-Amoaning, has said President Akufo-Addo has taken a political risk that might in the future cost his own New Patriotic Party (NPP), following his appointment of Martin Amidu, a staunch member of the National Democratic Congress ( NDC) party as the SP
President Akufo-Addo last week Thursday, named the former Attorney General as the Special Prosecutor, subject to Parliamentary approval.
This comes after the President assented to five Acts, including that of the Special Prosecutor on January 2, 2017, which were passed by Parliament last year.
Parliament passed the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill in November last year, which allows for the establishment of an independent anti-corruption institution to deal with public officials, who have been deemed or found liable to corrupt dealings.
Mr. Amidu’s office, will have the mandate to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act 203 Act 63 and other corruption-related offences implicating public officers, political office holders and their accomplices.
But Inusah Fuseini, who is a lawyer by profession on Joy FM’s news analysis show Newsfile, last Saturday, cautioned “Martin Amidu will go after anybody…he will even fight an empty room, if he believes the air in the room is associated to corrupt practice.”
According to him, the former Attorney General, always has his reasons to fight when he is convinced that something wrong has been done.
The Tamale North MP, said the appointment was not a political masterstroke as people are alluding to, because the newly appointed Special Prosecutor, will not do any political party’s bidding.
Mr. Fuseini believes it is misplaced to look at the appointment of Mr. Amidu with political colours, since the law relating to his nomination does not recognize that.
He explained his unwillingness to accept the appointment of Akoto Ampaw and Phillip Addison from the government for the Special Prosecutor’s job.
“I said that he [Ampaw] was very qualified, but he was a victim of association as people will see a further entrenchment of the family and friends government…he has done very good cases in court, but he is a victim.
“For Addison, I could not say same for him, because he has been very partisan,” he added.
Mr. Fuseini also warned that Ghanaians should be careful of their expectation of Mr. Amidu when he is approved by Parliament, because there are different parts of the person.
“Clearly, Martin Amidu as the political activist, Amidu as a lawyer doing cases in court and Amidu as the anti-corruption crusader as different persons unless you don’t know him,” he noted.
According to Ndebugre who is a former MP for Zebilla, he identified certain provisions in the law establishing the office of the Special Prosecutor that will create a conflict situation in the work of the latter.
He noted that knowing Mr Amidu for well over forty years and having worked with him, he sees the former Attorney General exiting his office because his work is going to be frustrated by the Board of the Office of Special Prosecutor.
“…There is at once a conflict situation, the mandate has been given to the office and some sanctions have been given to the Special Prosecutor, there’s a sub-section which claims that notwithstanding the fact that the Special Prosecutor accountable to the board, he has full control of bla bla bla, it’s a conflict situation. The Board is going to insist on its authority and the Special Prosecutor is going to insist on his independence. Knowing the person who has been nominated, the first few cases will have problems I can predict, and then Martin will simply walk out and then we’ll go back to square one. If you look through the Act the conflict situations are many,” Ndebugre said on News File on Joy FM Saturday.
The former PNDC Secretary (Regional Minister) for Upper East Region was confident Mr. Amidu whom he describes as fiercely independent will be neutral in the discharge of his work and pursue persons engaged in corruption no matter whose ox is gored.
According to Moses Foh-Amoaning, Martin Amidu, in the future could likely become a NDC Presidential candidate if he is able to deliver his mandate to the admiration of Ghanaians and wins their trust, adding that, that is why some NPP people might be opposing his (Amidu) selection.
Commenting on the subject on ‘Boiling Point’ on Oman FM, Lawyer Foh-Amoaning, said the true NDC members and supporters will rather be happy with Mr. Amidu’s appointment as he represents the core NDC party tradition and values of probity and accountability.
“Martin Amidu who stands for probity and accountability in the NDC, if he comes and does a good job by prosecuting those who have stolen state monies and wins the trust and admiration of Ghanaians, being a political animal and with his history as a former vice Presidential candidate, he could be a likely NDC Presidential candidate.
In fact that is why some NPP people will oppose his choice. If you’re NDC member and a deep thinker, you’ll not be worried by the choice. It is only NDC officials who engaged in corruption while in office who will be bothered by Amidu’s appointment.
“Any deep political thinker will say Akufo-Addo is risking the political future of his own political party. But even with that, if Amidu succeeds as a Special Prosecutor, the question will also be asked, who appointed him? the obvious answer is President Akufo Addo who belongs to the NPP tradition. So if you think about this, ultimately the nation Ghana wins.”
Meanwhile, The Herald, has picked up signals that some NDC members are in the process of petitioning the party leadership to revoke Mr. Amidu’s membership card or have it returned to the party, since he is supposed to be apolitical per the terms of his appointment as the Special Prosecutor.