The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, has referred the President’s nomination of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor to the Appointments Committee of the House.
This follows an official communication of his nomination for the position by the President to Parliament earlier today [Wednesday].
It is however unclear when Martin Amidu will appear before the Committee to be vetted.
The President entreated the House to deal with the nomination with as much dispatch as it had done with ministerial appointments.
“It is my respectful hope and expectation that the dispatch which characterized the approval of my Ministerial-nominees by Parliament last year will be extended to the consideration of Mr. Martin Amidu’s appointment,” a letter from the Pesident to the House, read by the Speaker said.
Amidu was named as the country’s first Special Prosecutor earlier in January by President Nana Akufo-Addo at a short ceremony in Accra.
His appointment is subject to Parliamentary approval, but it is widely expected that he will be passed by the House to take up the position.
The appointment has been hailed by experts and ordinary Ghanaians as a ‘masterstroke’ by the President, with many people commending the President for appointing a well-known member of the opposition NDC to head this crucial establishment.
Ghana’s first President in the Fourth Republic, Jerry John Rawlings also commended the appointment, describing Martin Amidu as “fearless.”
Mr. Rawlings said President Nana Akufo-Addo had “risen above partisanship and recognized a highly principled citizen.”
Ghanaians took to social media to commend the President for his selection of the ‘Citizen Vigilante’ to head the Office.
His appointment has also been described as the “most objective political appointment” in the Fourth Republic.
Amidu’s contempt for corruption and governments he felt were condoning corruption-related acts has been well publicized.
His pursuit of businessman Alfred Woyome in order to ensure the retrieval of monies wrongfully paid him by the state has attained widespread public praise.
Amidu was also an ardent critic of the NDC government, and he boldly asked Ghanaians to vote against them in the last election after he described them as corrupt.
Special Prosecutor doesn’t need MPs approval – Martin Amidu
In one of his epistles critiquing the Special Prosecutor Bill before it became law, the Former Attorney General explained that whoever is appointed as the Special Public Prosecutor will not need parliamentary approval.
He said “the Constitution has clearly delineated the type of public officers who shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament. Public officers in the category of the Special Prosecutor do not fall under that category and it is unconstitutional for Parliament to partake in the unitary and exclusive appointment powers of the President.”
It is thus unclear whether he will allow himself to go through that parliamentary process, now that he has been appointed.
About Special Prosecutor office
President Akufo-Addo signed into law, the Bill setting up the Special Prosecutor office after it was approved by Parliament in November 2017.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor marks the fulfilment of a major campaign promise of Nana Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the 2016 elections aimed at fighting corruption.
But members of the opposition NDC had complained that the office cannot be independent if the Special Prosecutor was going to be a loyalist of the NPP.
The President in announcing Amidu, said he received the nomination from the Attorney General Gloria Akuffo, and has accepted the nominee, whose name will be forwarded to Parliament for approval when the House reconvenes from recess.
“The Attorney General is by a letter dated to me Thursday 11th January 2018 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 of January 2018 for its first meeting of this New Year the name of Martin Alamisi Benz Kaiser Amidu to be the first Special Prosecutor under the law,” he said.
The President noted that, Mr. Amidu has the requisite integrity and independence of character to occupy such challenging office.
“I have done so because I am fully convinced that Mr. Martin Amidu, a prominent legal personality who held the high office of the Attorney General of the Republic in the government of the late President John Evans Attah Mills has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this office.”
More About Martin Amidu
Martin A. B. K. Amidu was the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from January 2011 till January 2012 under the late President John Evans Atta-Mills.
Amidu, a member of the NDC, served as the Deputy Attorney-General for about the last four years of the Provisional National Defence Council military government.
After civilian rule was established in the Fourth Republic in January 1993, he continued to serve in the government of Jerry Rawlings as Deputy Attorney-General. This he did for both terms lasting eight years until January 2001.
In the December 2000 presidential elections, he stood as the running mate of John Atta Mills. They both however lost to President John Kufuor that year.
In January 2010, following a cabinet reshuffle, President Mills replaced Cletus Avoka with Martin Amidu as the Minister for Interior. As Amidu is a Builsa, some people raised questions as to his neutrality in dealing with the Bawku conflict. He however went successfully through vetting by the Parliament of Ghana and has since assumed his post.
Following the second major cabinet reshuffle by President Mills, Amidu became the Attorney general and Minister for Justice of Ghana.