The Special Prosecutor Act, (Act 959) which became law in Ghana on the 3rd of January 2018 after President Akufo-Addo assented to the Act has received it’s first and most important appointment, THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR.
The Attorney General Gloria Akuffo nominated in a letter to the President dated 11/1/2018 Mr. Martin L. Amidu for the position. The President accepted the nomination and has announced same.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NOMINATION OF MARTIN ALAMISI BURNES KAISER AMIDU, AS SPECIAL PROSECUTOR, ON THURSDAY, 11TH JANUARY, 2018
Let me welcome you warmly to the seat of the nation’s presidency, and begin by wishing you all a happy and productive new year. I have invited you here to announce to you, members of the media, and, through you, to the Ghanaian people, the discharge of one of the most important functions of my presidency.
As you will recollect, in recent times, the stench of corruption in public life was such that there was a general, nationwide demand for the creation of additional, focussed instruments to fight the canker of corruption that was visibly gnawing at the heart of the Ghanaian state.
The response of the New Patriotic Party to this demand was, inter alia, to pledge, in its manifesto for the 2016 general elections, the establishment of the Office of Special Prosecutor, an independent, non-partisan body with the relevant professional capability, to lead the fight, and hold public officials, past and present, accountable for their stewardship of public finances.
The enactment of the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, Act 663, 2018, by an NPP dominated Parliament, is the first stage in the fulfilment of that pledge. Satisfied of the constitutionality and propriety of the legislation, I assented to it on 2nd January, 2018.
The Act, pursuant to s.13(3), provides for the nomination by the Attorney General of a person fit for appointment by the President of the Republic, subject to approval by Parliament by an absolute majority of its Members, to perform the functions of the Office. The Special Prosecutor, once confirmed by Parliament, will carry an extraordinary responsibility, independently and impartially, to fight corruption. The Special Prosecutor, as the Act states in its Preamble, shall “…have full authority and control over the investigation, initiation and conduct of proceedings of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving public officers and politically exposed persons in the performance of their functions as well as persons in the private sector involved in the commission of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences.” The remit of the Office, as you can see, is broad and challenging.
The Attorney General has, by letter dated Thursday, 11th January, 2018, of today’s date, addressed to me, exercised her power of nomination, and submitted to me, for my acceptance, the name of the proposed Special Prosecutor.
I have accepted the Attorney General’s nomination, and will, in turn, submit for Parliament’s approval, when it reconvenes on 23rd January, 2018, for its first meeting of this new year, the name of Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu to be the first Special Prosecutor under the law.
I have done so because I am fully convinced that Mr Martin Amidu, a prominent legal personality, who held the high office of Attorney General of the Republic in the government of the late President Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this new office.
Indeed, the Supreme Court itself has had cause to commend the nominee for his public spiritedness in the case of Amidu vrs Attorney-General, Waterville & Wayome [2013-2014] 1 SCGLR 112 @ 166, when the Court, per the respected Judge, Dotse JSC, had this to say about him: “…The role of the Plaintiff, Martin Alamisi Amidu, a distinguished former Attorney-General of this country, needs to be highly commended as was done in the lead judgment of the court.
The Plaintiff, in my opinion, must be highly commended for his vigilante role in protecting the wanton dissipation of the public purse…” The Court also, in a related suit, had this to say about the nominee: “… the Plaintiff (that is to say Mr. Amidu) is to be commended for his public spiritedness which has fuelled his meticulous and industrious presentation of this case…”
I can also, personally, vouch for his public spiritedness. We were on opposite sides in a series of landmark constitutional cases in the period leading up to and in the early years of the 4th Republic, well known to students of constitutional law, which helped shape the evolution of the Constitution of the 4th Republic.
As Deputy Attorney General, as he then was, he conducted those cases with the fairness which should be a cardinal feature of the conduct of any self-respecting lawyer.
Mr. Amidu has indicated his willingness to accept the appointment. I, thus, have the honour to submit to Parliament, when it reconvenes, the name of Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, for its approval for appointment as Special Prosecutor.
It is my hope and expectation that the praiseworthy speed and dispatch, with which Parliament acted on my nominees for ministerial appointment last year, will characterise its handling of this nomination to enable Mr. Amidu, as soon as possible, enter into office to begin the important work that awaits him.
I congratulate him on his deserved nomination, and wish him Godspeed in the valiant efforts he will undoubtedly be making to enhance the quality of governance of our country. The Ghanaian people will be the beneficiaries of that.
Thank you, and may God bless us all and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.