Former President John Rawlings has reiterated his approval of the appointment of Martin Amidu as the country’s first Special Prosecutor, stating that the former Attorney General will restore the integrity of governance in the country.
Mr. Rawlings chided the NDC governments under the late Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama for failing to take full advantage of the expertise and abilities of the outspoken anti-corruption campaigner.
He commended President Akufo-Addo for appointing Amidu to head the new office, stating that the new Special Prosecutor possessed the qualities needed to root out corruption in the government.
“To think we could have utilized somebody like Martin Amidu many years ago from Prof. Mills to our friend John Mahama. Instead we avoided him, we ostracised him the way we do with people like my wife and me. It takes somebody from a party completely opposed us, Nana Akufo-Addo to come and appoint him, not as a Minister of State but as [Special] Prosecutor. We ought to give him credit,” he told journalists at the State House during the final funeral rites of the late mathematics and science Professor, Francis Allotey.
“[Martin Amidu] will help to clean up the situation. He’s going to help us restore integrity back into governance that you can’t get into government and with impunity, steal and corrupt institutions and get away with it. If you don’t trust Martin Amidu, then don’t trust anybody.”
Mr. Amidu was sworn in on Friday, February 23, 2018 at the Flagstaff House by President Akufo-Addo in the presence of the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia; Chief of Staff Frema Opare; Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo and other government officials.
The former Attorney General received unanimous approval from Parliament earlier this week, despite a pending suit at the Supreme Court over his eligibility for the position.
The Deputy Ranking Member on Constitutional Affairs, Dr. Dominic Ayine, is seeking a declaration that Mr. Amidu, who is 66-years-old, cannot hold public office because he has exceeded the mandated age limit per the 1992 constitution.
But the former President dismissed those claims, describing it as an insult to suggest that Martin Amidu’s age could stop him from carrying out his mandate.
“Do judges stop thinking? Judges can stay on till they are 70. The President is above 70 and I am as well. It’s an insult. Maybe there’s something wrong that needs to be changed as far as those figures are concerned. He’s a man to be very proud of,” he said.
‘Integrity and honour’
Following his swearing-in, Martin Amidu promised not to fail in delivering on his mandate to fight corruption in the country, saying that not even claims that he will embark on a political witch-hunting drive will deter him from working.
“I have given Mr. President my word of honour that I will discharge the duties of the burdensome you have entrusted to my care with similar integrity and honour with your support. Mr. President, I want to assure you that the propaganda about witch-hunting will not daunt me from prosecuting all corruption crimes without reference to political considerations…I will treat crime as crime and nothing else,” he assured.
President Akufo-Addo also reassured Martin Amidu, that the independence of his office will not be compromised by the executive or any other arm of government.
He said the office will be provided with the needed assistance to effectively deal with corruption and eliminate same.
“I want to assure him that not only will the Executive including the Attorney General respects scrupulously the independence of his office, but will also provide him with whatever assistance is required to enable him to discharge his high duties effectively in the interest of the Ghanaian people,” he said.
About the Office
The setting up of the office of the Special Prosecutor was one of the key campaign promises made by President Akufo-Addo ahead of his election victory in 2016, and it is aimed at tackling corruption effectively.
The Special Prosecutor’s office will be independent of the Executive, which observers believe will allow it to adequately deal with corruption-related issues which have plagued past governments.
The office of the Special Prosecutor has 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 in the public sector.
The Prosecutor is also be mandated to trace and recover the proceeds of corruption.
By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana