Martin Amidu exposes Akufo-Addo’s selective approach to corruption fight

Akufo Addo, President Of Ghana1212 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Thu, 19 Nov 2020 Source: theheraldghana.com

To the ordinary mind, Martin Amidu merely resigned but to the well informed, the Special Prosecutor did not just resign but destroyed the cloak of incorruptibility built around President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

He revealed that the President's fight against corruption was a sham as it has been selective with family members shielded while others are toasted with alacrity.

According to Amidu, he refused to be a "poodle", and insisted that the President was interfering in his work in an effort to cover up the roles of his family members in the Agyapa Royalties deal.

President Akufo-Addo, he said on several occasions, tried to get him to either freeze the report or add the comments of his cousin, Ken Ofori-Atta, who doubles as Finance Minister to the corruption risk assessment report, but he did not budge.

Amidu's revelations come after the President some two years ago sacked Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko, over the Africa Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI) novation agreement which was going to get the country to lose almost US$900 million.

Same President Akufo-Addo, had sacked the CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei following an investigative documentary which revealed a company he co-owned, has been selling government contracts it won through single-source and restrictive tendering, to the highest bidder.

But such decisive actions by President Akufo-Addo are not showing in the Agyapa scandal, and in a letter addressed to President Akufo-Addo, Martin Amidu, said his decision to resign was to "enable Your Excellency to take steps to appoint a replacement to that position as required by law," adding the President was acting as a judge in his own case.

Mr Amidu paints a sad picture of President Akufo-Addo's act of desperation to cover up the involvement of Ken Ofori-Atta's Databank and Gabby Asare Otchere Darko's African Legal Associate.

The attempt to cover up the corruption, bid-rigging, nepotism, conflict of interest and favoritism in the deal by President Akufo-Addo, has seen the President sending a copy of the report to Ken Ofori-Atta to react to, shortly after the confidential report was submitted to him.

Ken Ofori-Atta's written response, which had claims different from his pronouncements on radio, as well as those made by Gabby OtchereDarko, were handed over to Amidu to be included in his report, but he turned it down, setting the stage for a head on collision with the President, who doesn't punish wrongdoings of his appointees.

"The one condition upon which I accepted to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor when you invited me to your Office on 10th January 2018 was your firm promise to me that you will respect and ensure same by your Government for my independence and freedom of action as the Special Prosecutor," Martin Amidu said adding "The events of November 12 removed the only protection I had for carrying out the anti-corruption assessment on the Agyapa transaction..."

He added: "More importantly, Your Excellency was acting as a judge in your own court in usurping my functions to take any independent follow-up actions on the anti-corruption assessment report when you knew from my 13-page letter of 16 October 2020, conveying the conclusions and observations of the anti-corruption assessment report to you that negative anti-corruption assessment had been made against the conduct of your office in the procedure adopted in granting the Executive Approval dated 24 March 2020 and your assent of the Minerals Income Investment (Amendment) Act, 2020 (Act 1024) on 27 August 2020 intended to retroactively impact the parliamentary approval of the transactions document granted on 14 August 2020.

He suggested that, President Akufo-Addo, has not been able to ensure his independence and freedom of action, insisting there was a fundamental disagreement over how the Special Prosecutor's office should be operated.

Indeed, Mr Amidu, on Monday, November 16, 2020, sent his resignation letter to the President and issued a public statement announcing his resignation.

In the letter to the President, Amidu revealed meeting Nana Akufo-Addo on October 23, 2020 in his office where he was told by the President to hold on to the Agyapa Corruption risk assessment report for one week.

He further revealed that, although he reluctantly agreed to the demand, he told the President he could not continue being the Special Prosecutor due to his interferences into his work.

".....Your Excellency insisted that I should withhold any further action on the report for one week. I reluctantly agreed to your terms but gave you notice immediately that I did not intend to continue as a Special Prosecutor because of your interference in the performance of my functions under the law", Amidu's letter said.

He continued that "You eventually invited me to your office in the evening of Sunday 1 November 2020 where I again asserted that I was not going to bargain over the Independence of my functions as the Special Prosecutor. I refused to take the copy of alleged comments from the Minister of Finance you offered me as that would have compromised my independence as Special Prosecutor.

I also refused to shelve my report to enable you handle the matter which explains my press release to the public on the morning of 2nd November 2020 and follow-up with the distribution of the full sixty-four (64) page Agyapa Royalties Transaction".

Other parts of the public statement indicates that his resignation was as a result of his recent corruption risk assessment of the controversial Agyapa Royalties agreement in which some key government appointees and close associates to the government were fingered.

According to him, the conduct of the exercise did not go down well with the powers that be, an experience he described as traumatizing.

"I should not ordinarily be announcing my resignation to the public myself but the traumatic experience I went through from 20th October 2020 to 2nd November 2020 when I conveyed in a thirteen (13) page letter the conclusions and observations on the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment on the Report On Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions and Other Matters Related Thereto to the President as Chairman of the National Security Council cautions against not bringing my resignation as the Special Prosecutor with immediate to the notice of the Ghanaian public and the world".

Citing an example of one of the triggers for his resignation and the decision to make it public, the former Attorney General, said he has had a "traumatic experience" between 20th October 2020 and 2nd November 2020, after releasing his corruption risk assessment on Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions.

He said, while he believed that he was executing his mandate independently, the reactions he has received concerning the work, makes him convinced that he was not expected to exercise his independence as a Special Prosecutor and that makes his work untenable.

"In undertaking the analysis of the risk of prevention of corruption and anti-corruption assessment I sincerely believed that I was executing an independent mandate under the Office of the Special Prosecutor, Act, 2017 (Act 959) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L. I. 2374)."

"The reaction I received for daring to produce the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption report convinces me beyond any reasonable doubt that I was not intended to exercise any independence as the Special Prosecutor in the prevention, investigation, prosecution, and recovery of assets of corruption. My position as the Special Prosecutor has consequently become clearly untenable," Martin Amidu's statement said.

Martin Amidu in the statement revealed his frustration, saying although his appointment was announced in 2018, he only received his appointment letter on February 5, 2020, adding there has also not been any effort to give him the emoluments and benefits due him per his appointment letter.

Martin Amidu, said while he was not too bothered about the fact that he had not been given any emoluments, the "Deputy Special Prosecutor has also not been paid any emoluments since her appointment, and there is the need to redress that situation for her now that I am out of the way."

The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice said although he had intended to delve into his anti-corruption assessment report as it shows very serious issues, he however could not go further because of the President's political interference with his work.

According to Mr Amidu, "The 64-page analysis of corruption and anti-corruption assessment report, discloses several serious corruption and corruption-related offences in respect of which I intended to open full investigations as the Special Prosecutor."

"I cannot do that now after your political interference in the performance of functions of the office for two weeks – from 20 October 2020 to 1 November 2020 – culminating in your directives on how the anti-corruption assessment report of Agyapa Royalties Limited Transaction by this office should be handled by the principal suspects disclosed by the anti-corruption assessment report".

Meanwhile, the President has accepted Martin Amidu's resignation letter as the Special Prosecutor. This announcement was contained in a press release signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare dated Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

The statement said, "This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated November 16, 2020 (Ref: OSP/2/AM/14), addressed to the President of the Republic conveying to him your decision to resign from office as Special Prosecutor, which he has accepted".

Source: theheraldghana.com
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