Amidu’s Resignation: Amidu lost a ‘golden opportunity’ – NPP replies letter

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The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has slammed Martin Amidu for resigning as the Special Prosecutor.

Amidu resigned from the position on Monday citing lack of independence in doing his carrying out his constitutional mandate.

Reacting to the development, the NPP expressed shock and dismay over Amidu’s resignation.

“Shock because Mr. Amidu chose to walk away from the 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 doing so,” the NPP said in the statement on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Amidu chose to resign. The NPP believes he had all the room he needed by law and mandate to operate, notwithstanding anything anybody did, especially the President,” the statement added.

According to the party, Amidu’s actions appear to impact both the incumbent and immediate past government vindicates the wisdom of the mandate and powers of the Office which he occupied. An Office hinged on independence of thought and action.

“The NPP is however dismayed that the Special Prosecutor’s action appears founded on a desire to build a culture of infallibility in executing the mandate of the Office. Independence cannot be infallible. Independence is the absolute right to act within the given powers of the Office. Infallibility is the assumption that nothing from the Office can be questioned under any circumstances.

“That would mean abandoning the sacred rule of “Audi Alteram Partem”, enabling an accused whose liberty and reputation is at stake the basic opportunity to protect their reputation and defend their right to different freedoms. “Audi Alteram Partem” is also directly hinged on the high burden of proof beyond doubt required to deprive a person of their freedom for criminal reasons. Reading Mr. Amidu’s letter of resignation, it would appear that he purposes to resign because H.E the President sought to apply “Audi Alteram Partem” rules to enable the Hon. Finance Minister state his part,” the statement said.

Read the full statement below

PRESS RELEASE BY THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY ON THE RESIGNATION OF MARTIN AMIDU AS THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has received with shock and dismay, the news of the resignation of the Special Prosecutor, Mr.Martin Amidu.

Shock because Mr. Amidu chose to walk away from the 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 doing so. Unfortunately, Mr. Amidu chose to resign. The NPP believes he had all the room he needed by law and mandate to operate, notwithstanding anything anybody did, especially the President.

Indeed, that his actions appear to impact both the incumbent and immediate past government vindicates the wisdom of the mandate and powers of the Office which he occupied. An Office hinged on independence of thought and action.

*INDEPENDENCE IS NOT INFALLIBILITY*

The NPP is however dismayed that the Special Prosecutor’s action appears founded on a desire to build a culture of infallibility in executing the mandate of the Office. Independence cannot be infallible. Independence is the absolute right to act within the given powers of the Office. Infallibility is the assumption that nothing from the Office can be questioned under any circumstances. That would mean abandoning the sacred rule of “Audi Alteram Partem”, enabling an accused whose liberty and reputation is at stake the basic opportunity to protect their reputation and defend their right to different freedoms. “Audi Alteram Partem” is also directly hinged on the high burden of proof beyond doubt required to deprive a person of their freedom for criminal reasons. Reading Mr. Amidu’s letter of resignation, it would appear that he purposes to resign because H.E the President sought to apply “Audi Alteram Partem” rules to enable the Hon. Finance Minister state his part.

In short, the NPP believes the singular most important challenge to the OSP is substantive verification on fair terms as to the law and interpretation of the intent and actions of persons of interest. In other words, the very independence and authority of the Office demands that its conclusions hold up to scrutiny. Without the scrutiny of fair hearing, the occupant of the Office may equate the powers to that of an enthroned demi-God, far superior to the dictates of human affairs which subject the powers of the Office to the competent jurisdiction of earthly judges. In this regard, much as the Office has the power and right to issue the Report, the recipient President also had a duty to engage the Hon. Minister of Finance, who in his Memo requested by the President in response, clearly engages very transparently on the issues raised in the report. This cannot be an attack on his independence severe enough to lead to resignation.

*THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITTMENT TO THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION*

The NPP believes the President has been forthright and the model of compliance. The approach of the OSP by way of an advisory assessment is novel, and therefore all the more significant that the President was very responsive. For the NPP led Government, the vindication of the President’s believe in the need for an independent office with sufficient power to act in the public realm, irrespective of status, implies major progress in fighting corruption.

Not only is the OSP independent of all political influence, it is also capable of initiating its own actions. As the Special Prosecutor himself says in the report;

“This is the first time an independent anti-corruption agency established by any Government in Ghana has undertaken an analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment of the processes leading up to the approval by Parliament of Public Agreements as part of its statutory mandate. This has been made possible by the courage and commitment of H.E. the President of Ghana in redeeming the promise he made to Ghanaians when he was a Presidential candidate of a political party to establish an independent anti-corruption statutory entity to make meaningful any real commitment to prevent and to fight corruption. The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) established this Office. The President ensured that in the teeth of strong opposition, the Special Prosecutor was able to have his way to have included in the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2374) the prevention of corruption regulations which to the best of my knowledge may be the first in Africa and meets international standards and best practices.”

Where then is the accusation of “poodle” affirmed? Who will appoint a card bearing member of the opposition party to this Office and expect him to be a poodle?

On the 27th October 2020, CHRAJ in his ruling on the Contracts for sale ruling had this to say about the conduct of the President.

“The Commission would like to commend H.E the President for promptly submitting the complaint together with the documentary and requesting expeditious investigations into the allegations of conflict of interest against the Respondent. This is the second time in the history of the Commission that a sitting

President has brought a complaint before the Commission in respect of his

own appointees. The first was former President Jerry John Rawlings in the mid-1990s.

We are encouraged by this exemplary conduct of the Office of the President and look forward to more of such commendable practices of using appropriate designated investigation bodies of State”

Our society, especially the political strata, needs to move away from merely shouting about who is the most corrupt and actually begin to fight corruption on a sustainable basis. League tabling corruption does not work. The NPP can recite as many so-called corruption scandals about the NDC as the NDC believe they can of the NPP. But the recitation and shouting loudest does not solve the political corruption problem of impunity that leads to blatant procurement and resource management issues.

The NPP insists that we have a better claim to good governance. We hold CSOs as our natural ally in delivering good governance and therefore must lay out the situation as it presumably is.

Cumulatively, from the era of President Kufuor, we have major transparency enhancing legislation, or sunshine legislation and case law being developed. Internal Audit, Procurement, OSP, RTI and the reformed Companies Act to mention but a few.

Beyond the OSP, with the setup of the Right to Information Commission, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has set the stage for a deeper, reflective and sustainable culture of transparency and accountability. The NPP is assured that H.E the President has created the largest space for civil society participation in governance in the Fourth Republic. As architect of the repeal of 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.

The NPP urges H.E 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.

…Signed…

Yaw Buaben Asamoa

(Communications Director)

Source: Daily Mail