The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has dismissed claims by ‘runaway’ Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo interfered with his work during his corruption risk assessment of Agyapa minerals’ royalties agreement, which was approved by Parliament.
Mr Amidu tendered in his resignation letter on Monday 16th November, 2020, citing a litany of reasons for his decision including alleged interference from the presidency.
However, the NPP in a statement signed and issued by its Director of Communications, Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa, argued the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance have done everything to make the Office Special Prosecutor (OSP) operational, effective and independent contrary to claims by Mr Amidu in his resignation letter.
“No political office holder has interfered in the administration of that Office. Indeed, that his actions appear to impact both the incumbent and immediate past governments vindicate the wisdom of the mandate and powers of the Office that he occupied, which hinged on the independence of thought and action”, Mr Asamoa stated.
According to him, the decision to appoint Mr Amidu was a clear indication the President did not intend for the OSP to be headed by a lackey.
“Mr. Amidu has not resigned because any investigation of his has been interfered with by the Presidency or any member of the government.
“Since 2018, he has been offered all the room and support he needed by law and mandate and every money he has requested to set up an entirely new institution, which comes with its own challenges, and to operate the Office independently and efficiently,” Mr Asamoa maintained.
He argued that independence cannot be infallible and stressed that liberty does not mean actions of the OSP cannot be commented upon by the people as happened with the Agyapa report.
The NPP Communications Director pointed out that Mr. Amidu appeared to have resigned because the President applied the ‘Audi Alteram Partem’ rule to enable the Finance Minister to state his case after the anti-corruption risk and corruption risk assessment report on Agyapa.
He stressed that every independence and authority of the Office demands its conclusions are held to scrutiny in the principles of natural justice.
“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,” he said.
Mr. Asamoa questioned how this could be described as interference and stressed there is nothing said or done that stopped the Special Prosecutor from going ahead to undertake a full and proper investigation of Agyapa beyond the assessment.
“All he had to do was continue his mandate to undertake an investigation and continue with prosecution if a prima facie case could be established.”
“Otherwise, Mr. Amidu’s apparently noble gesture of resignation, may, sadly, smack of political grandstanding,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo, he said, has been forthright, sincere and honest in his conviction to fight corruption and the setting up of the independent OSP implies progress in fighting corruption.
Appoint Strong SP – NPP To Akufo-Addo
The governing NPP has called on President Akufo-Addo to accept the resignation of the Special Prosecutor and appoint a strong personality who will not abandon his job due to public scrutiny.
The party’s Communications Director urged the president to quickly initiate processes to find a successor to continue the sensitive and important job of realizing the true ambit of the powers of the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to ensure success of the fight against corruption.
Mr Buaben Asamoa expressed shock and dismay that 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 anti-corruption credentials.
NDC’s record on corruption
Mr Buaben Asamoa averred that Ghana’s political strata need to move away from merely shouting about who is corrupt and actually begin to fight corruption on a sustainable basis.
According to him, league tabling corruption does not work and stressed the recitation and shouting loudest does not solve the political corruption problem of impunity that leads to blatant procurement and resource management issues.
Mr. Asamoa stated that the NPP has a better claim to good governance than the National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose current leadership record on anti-corruption is the worst ever.
He pointed out that NDC’s “record on institutional strengthening is abysmal, as evidenced by the Audit Service Activity Report of 2014 lamenting the lack of financial and logistical support since 2012, thereby hampering their work.
“Their record on anti-corruption legislation is weak, the PFM having been passed under pressure, with massive abuses of sole sourcing under the legal procurement regime put in by the Kufuor administration.
“The highlight of NDC perfidy is the interoperability process where NDC was giving Ghana a bill of $1.2 billion. The NPP did it for $4.2 million.
“Before the OSP now is a clear criminal investigation on a judgment from a UK court which alleges that a brother of Government Official One served as an intermediary for a €5m bribe paid to Government Official One for a transaction to acquire airplanes for the Air Force”.
Mr Buaben Asamoa pointed out that NPP’s record that cumulatively, from the era of President John Agyekum Kufuor, has major transparency enhancing legislation, or sunshine legislation and case law being developed.
He cited the Internal Audit, Procurement, OSP, RTI, and the reformed Companies Act as examples
He argued that President Kufuor rightly diagnosed public procurement as a problem, whilst Nana Addo determined to assault impunity once and for all and stressed that between clean procurement and reduced impunity, Ghana’s fight against corruption would be over.