Buaben Asamoa discredits Amidu’s interference claim against Akufo-Addo

Buaben Asamoa Freshhhh Yaw Buaben Asamoa

Wed, 18 Nov 2020 Source: The Herald

The Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has refuted the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu's claim that the government interfered in his duties or investigations.

Yaw Buaben Asamoa has denied the claim, insisting that Mr Amidu was given enough freedom to operate independently.

Amidu revealed that he met with Nana Addo Dankwa 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.

It is not clear if Yaw Buaben Asamoa was present in that meeting.

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu on Monday, November 16, 2020, served notice of his resignation from office with immediate effect.

In a letter addressed to President Nana Akufo-Addo, Martin Amidu said his resignation had been occasioned by President Akufo-Addo's inability to ensure his independence and freedom of action.

But Yaw Buaben Asamoa had this to say "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. No political office holder has interfered in the administration of that Office."

"Indeed, his actions appear to impact both the incumbent and immediate past governments vindicates the wisdom of the mandate and powers of the Office which he occupied. An Office hinged on the independence of thought and action," Yaw Buaben Asamoa's statement added.

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 to 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) age page Agyapa Royalties Transaction".

Other parts of the public statement indicate 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."

Source: The Herald
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