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Why Martin Amidu resigned from the special prosecutor job

For seven years, he was named to lead the battle against corruption, but after almost three years of being sworn in the Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu resigned.

In a letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo released on Monday, November 16, 2020, Mr. Amidu said he was resigning because of a lack of respect for the integrity of his office.”

He cited as the final push that led him to resign the reaction he received from the Presidency on the corruption risk assessment he carried out on the Gold Royalties Monetisation Transaction scheme, popularly referred to as the Agyapa agreement.

Inadequate workers

In the letter, Mr. Amidu further stated that his resignation was also based on the small number of employees sent to his outfit.

The compulsion to use a small number of seconded staff in the accommodation of a three-bedroom and boys’ quarter compromised the accomplishment before Parliament of the objects of the office and my undertaking on oath.’

The letter added, “One should not seriously continue to avoid and tackle corruption by relying on two-year-long seconded workers who look forward to and/or over their shoulders to returning to their main employers, who may therefore have more control over them than the Special Prosecutor under whom they are supposed to work.”

Context

On February 23, 2018, Mr. Amidu was sworn into office by President Akufo-Addo after being properly vetted and accepted by Parliament.

This was followed by the passing of the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) Act, 2017 (Act 959), which granted the OSP powers of investigation and prosecution to combat, deter and prosecute actions relating to corruption and corruption.

The Special Prosecutor was expected to hold office for a seven-year non-renewable period pursuant to Act 959.

The appointment of Mr. Amidu was not smooth sailing but was fraught with controversy.

One significant one was the Supreme Court’s legal action questioning the eligibility of Mr. Amidu to be the special prosecutor on the basis of his age.

Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, former Deputy Attorney-General and Member of Parliament (MP) of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for Bolgatanga East, filed the complaint, alleging that Mr. Amidu was 66 years of age at the time of his appointment and was thus legally barred from holding any public office, such as the Special Prosecutor.

However, in May of this year, in a 5-2 majority decision, the Supreme Court dismissed the suit.

The apex court held that Mr. Amidu was entitled to be the special prosecutor because, as provided for in Articles 190, 195, and 199 of the 1992 Constitution, his office could not be equated to the public service which is caught at the retirement age of 60.

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