The opposition National Democratic Congress [NDC], has suggested that there is a case of hypocrisy on the part of Martin Amidu for accepting the nomination of President Akufo-Addo to become Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor.
The NDC in a statement reminded that, Mr. Amidu, a former Attorney General, criticized the Special Prosecutor Bill in 2017.
“Our issue with the nomination of Mr. Martin Amidu is based purely and solely on important matters of principle. We note among others that Mr. Amidu has previously published a document challenging the constitutionality of the newly established Office of Special Prosecutor, the very office he has accepted to occupy,” the NDC statement said. In a 2017 article, Mr. Amidu punch holes in the Special Prosecutor Bill, but did not rubbish its importance or question its constitutionality.
In his 25-page paper critiquing aspects of the Bill, Mr. Amidu questioned the inclusion of a clause that he said sought to limit the Special Prosecutor to specific crimes.
He also argued that, whoever was appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor did not need parliamentary approval.
NDC doesn’t fear reprisal
Mr. Amidu has become a vehement critic of the NDC’s perceived acts of corruption within its ranks, since he was sacked as Minister during the late Mills’ tenure in 2012.
This has led some expressing concern that Mr. Amidu may seek to settle scores and exhibit some bias against the NDC if he becomes the Special Prosecutor.
But the NDC in its statement said “we are not at all concerned, contrary to the insinuations of some that he [Amidu] should now be handed the full authority of state power to possibly pursue this agenda.”
The opposition party has instead stressed the need to have an impartial Special Prosecutor.
“We believe that it is in the supreme national interest that the appointment of the person to head such an important institution be carefully thought-through, that above all such an individual should enjoy the respect and confidence of all sides of the polity, and must have the impartiality and objectivity of a judge and the integrity of a clergyman.”
Vetting on Feb 13
Mr. Amidu is to be vetted on Tuesday, February 13, by the Appointment’s Committee of Parliament for the position.
President Akufo-Addo nominated him to the Office of the Special Prosecutor in January, with a charge to him to deal with public sector corruption.
His nomination of the Former Attorney General was met with widespread acclaim from the public.
Find below the full statement
STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS (NDC) ON THE SCHEDULED VETTING OF MR. MARTIN AMIDU TO THE
OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR.
The Office of Special Prosecutor has recently been setup, and Mr. Martin Amidu a former Attorney General and one-time NDC running mate for Professor Atta Mills nominated as Special Prosecutor.
As a party with rich knowledge of the workings of machinery of state, we respect all national institutions including especially those that are designed to assure good governance, probity, accountability and judicious use of the country’s resources.
We note that the Office of the Special Prosecutor adds to already existing institutions performing similar functions such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Criminal and Investigations Department of the Police Service (CID), Parliament’s Oversight Committees and indeed the Office of Public Prosecutions which falls under the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office.
We observe that after falling out with the NDC administration, Mr. Martin Amidu was allowed free rein to express his opinions without let or hindrance, something he did by openly castigating and issuing threats to the NDC and its leadership.
We are not at all concerned, contrary to the insinuations of some that he should now to be handed the full authority of state power to possibly pursue this agenda.
Our issue with the nomination of Mr. Martin Amidu is based purely and solely on important matters of principle. We note among others that Mr. Amidu has previously published a document challenging the constitutionality of the newly established Office of Special Prosecutor, the very office he has accepted to occupy.
We believe that it is in the supreme national interest that the appointment of the person to head such an important institution be carefully thought through, that above all such an individual should enjoy the respect and confidence of all sides of the polity, and must have the impartiality and objectivity of a judge and the integrity of a clergyman. The office must not be seen or treated as a political outpost for witch-hunting or the performance of hatchet jobs for an incumbent administration. That would most definitely lead to needless socio-political tensions and national instability.
Article 296 (a) and (b) of the 1992 Constitution states that where discretionary power is vested in any person or authority (as in the case of a Special Prosecutor)
1.That discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid
2. The exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary. Capricious or biased whether by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law.
The NDC therefore expects that when the time comes for the vetting of the nominee for the position of Special Prosecutor, Parliament will discharge its obligation mindful of the above constitutional provisions. In the interest of good governance, accountability, probity and fair play, we urge that the national debate and the forthcoming vetting of the nominee be guided by these principles and not by the rather shrill partisanship that we have begun to witness among the rather predictable sections of the political spectrum.
Finally, we wish to state that the NDC remains committed to the fight against corruption both in respect of the past and even more especially the present.
Hon Johnson Asiedu Nketiah