The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has dismissed allegations of interference by the Presidency in the work of Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr Martin Amidu.
Mr Amidu, turned in his resignation on Monday, citing among other developments, his report on the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions and related matters which he described as a “traumatic experience.”
According to him, his resignation was to “enable Your Excellency to take steps to appoint a replacement to that position as required by law.”
But in a statement signed by its Communications Director, Yaw Buabeng Asamoa, the NPP insists that the embattled SP was offered enough room and support to effectively discharge his duties within the law and that “no political office holder has interfered in the administration of that Office.”
The party contends that by his resignation, Mr Amidu had missed a “golden opportunity of establishing a brand-new effective agency, having had the best part of three years to demonstrate and cement his undoubted anti-corruption credentials.”
In the view of the NPP, in as much as the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) was independent, it was not infallible and immune to public scrutiny as had happened in the case of the Agyapa report.
“In short, the very independence and authority of the Office demand that its conclusion hold up to scrutiny. In this regard, much as the OSP has the power and right to issue the report, the recipient President also had a duty to engage the Minister of Finance who in his memo requested by the President in response, clearly engages very transparently on the issues raised in the report,” it said in the statement.
The NPP, according to the statement, was confident President Akufo-Addo had “created the largest space for civil society participation in governance in the Fourth Republic and as architect of the repeal of the criminal libel under President Kufuor, he has enabled the media to modernise and blossom, creating not only a culture of aggressive inquiry into public affairs but also numerous jobs and opportunities for growth and self-actualisation.”
It thus urged the President to accept the resignation of the Special Prosecutor and initiate processes to find a successor to continue “the sensitive and important job of realising the true ambit of the powers of the OSP in order to ensure the success of the fight against corruption.”
Meanwhile Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and some political activists have reacted to the resignation of Mr Amidu and its implications on the fight against corruption going forward.
The Co-Chair of the Citizen’s Movement against Corruption (CMaC), Edem Senanu, who expressed disappointment in the turn of events wondered what “else could be happening at the corridors of power” aside the Agyapa deal which had resulted in the resignation of the SP.
Speaking on Joy FM monitored by the Ghanaian Times on Monday, Mr Senanu said, “the subsequent proceedings make it clear to me that he was never expected to provide an independent report on this matter.”
A legal practitioner, Edudzi Tamakloe, sided with the fact that the death of former President Jerry John Rawlings, who he described as the anchor for Mr Amidu had taken away that “anchor, shield, and protection and the word of encouragement from him.”
Ranking Member of Parliament’s Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Inusah Fuseini said the resignation was a manifestation of the President’s lack of commitment in fighting corruption.
Mr Fuseini who was part of the individuals who crafted the Legislative Instrument for the Establishment of the OSP noted that the insulation of the Office from any form of control was undermined.
He mentioned that, “In a whole year, Martin Amidu could not access money from the Ministry of Finance to be able to put his office in place,” a situation he said was detrimental to the operation of the office and the fight against corruption.
The SP on November 2, 2020, announced the completion of corruption risk assessment on the Agyapa Royalties deal and forwarded its recommendations to the Office of the President.
In his report, Mr Amidu had argued that consultations over the agreement were not comprehensive and innovative enough as the involvement of Data Bank Financial Services Limited in the Agyapa Agreement smells of “bid-rigging.”
BY TIMES REPORTER