He was appointed to lead the fight against corruption for seven years, but after nearly three years since he was sworn into office, the Special Prosecutor, Mr Matin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu, has resigned.
In a letter issued Monday, November 16, 2020 and addressed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Mr Amidu said he was resigning due to “the lack of respect of the independence of his office.”
He cited the reaction he got from the Presidency on the corruption risk assessment he conducted on the Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction arrangement, popularly referred to as the Agyapa deal, as the final push that led him to resign.
Mr Amidu accused President Akufo-Addo of trying to direct him on how to proceed with the corruption risk assessment the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) had conducted on the Agyapa deal.
According to him, President Akufo-Addo allegedly tried to convince him to take a response of the Finance Minister to the corruption risk assessment, which he refused, adding “that would have compromised my independence as the Special Prosecutor.”
“It thus became abundantly clear to me that I cannot continue under your government as the Special Prosecutor in the performance of the functions of my office in preventing and fighting corruption and corruption-related offences,” the letter alleged.
Mr Amidu further stated in the letter that his resignation was also premised on the limited number of staff sent to his outfit.
“The compulsion to use a limited number of seconded staff in a three-bedroom and boys’ quarter’s accommodation undermined the achievement of the objects of the office and my undertaking on oath before Parliament.
“One cannot seriously continue to prevent and fight corruption by depending on seconded staff of a two-year duration who are looking forward to and/or over their shoulders to returning to their main employers, who consequently may have more influenced over them than the Special Prosecutor under whom they are supposed to work,” the letter added.
Mr Amidu was sowrn into office by President Akufo-Addo on February 23, 2018 after he was duly vetted and approved by Parliament.
That followed the passage of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Act, 2017 (Act 959) which gave the OSP investigative and prosecutorial powers to fight, prevent and prosecute acts of corruption and corruption related activities.
Per Act 959, the Special Prosecutor was supposed to hold office for a seven-year nonrenewable term.
Mr Amidu’s appointment was not smooth sailing but was fraught with controversies.
One notable one was the legal action at the Supreme Court challenging Mr Amidu’s eligibility to be the special prosecutor on the basis of his age.
The suit was filed by Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, a former Deputy Attorney-General and National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East, who argued that Mr Amidu was 66 years as of the time he was appointed, and therefore, he was constitutionally barred from holding any public office such as the Special Prosecutor.
However, in May, this year, the Supreme Court, in a 5-2 majority decision dismissed the suit.
The apex court held that Mr Amidu was eligible to be the Special Prosecutor because his office cannot be equated to the public service which is caught by the retirement age of 60 as prescribed under Articles 190, 195 and 199 of the 1992 Constitution.
Source: Graphic online