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Prosecutions will start soon — Martin Amidu

Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu
Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu

The Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has assured the public that the office will soon start prosecuting corruption-related cases.

He said he could only successfully execute his mandate with tact and not with emotions and reckless speed.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Amidu said the Office of the Special Prosecutor had been working very hard, in spite of challenges, adding: “An investigation well done over a period is better than one that is badly done within a short time.”

Some Ghanaians, including former President Jerry John Rawlings, have expressed concern about the delay in the prosecution of corruption-related cases by the Special Prosecutor.

But Mr Amidu said: “We have been working around the clock. We pick information on the quiet, meet informants on the quiet and investigate on the quiet. We have made a lot of progress by completing some cases. We are now engaging prosecutors to take over prosecution.”

Prosecution

Asked when the office would prosecute its first case, Mr Amidu said: “It will be difficult for me to say we are going to see the first prosecution tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. As we sit now, I am yet to engage prosecutors. I have a few investigators and prosecutors who will handle whatever dockets are completed.

“But I can assure the public that I have a mandate to fulfil and when I am certain that a citizen has to lose his right by being put before a court to answer for an offence, you will hear it.
“The problem is that I don’t think it is proper for me to announce that somebody has been arrested and is being investigated, since it is unprofessional.”

 Independent investigations

Mr Amidu said the office had resolved to, henceforth, conduct its own investigations, explaining that “you lose control when you farm out the investigation to another agency”.

“You lose control over officers who are doing investigations when you are not leading them. We have the mandate to direct investigations,” he said, adding that although the office would collaborate with other agencies, it would not cede its right to investigate matters.

Read Also: Special Prosecutor's office allocated GH¢180m

Challenges

Mr Amidu complained of not having enough investigators but gave an assurance that he would manage until funds were released to enable the office to recruit more staff.

The Special Prosecutor said the office would recruit about 251 people and purchase modern investigative gadgets within one year.

He also said there had been instances when issues not related to the mandate of the office had been referred to him for investigation.

For instance, he said, the banking crisis was brought to his attention but said he could investigate the issues only if they were corruption related.

Mr Amidu said one challenge experienced recently was the leaking of a letter he wrote to a high office in Ghana, an issue which, he said, was being investigated.

He said he was very much aware that some people in government and out of government did not like the fact that he had been appointed the Special Prosecutor but noted that that would not deter him from fulfilling his mandate.

Rawlings

Touching on  concerns expressed by former President Rawlings, Mr Amidu said the former President was not worried and that he (Rawlings) knew what he (Amidu) was about.

He said Mr Rawlings had confidence in him and he (Mr Amidu) would perform creditably.

“What former President Rawlings said was to send a message that you better help that guy to do his job. That is the message he was sending. People who think they can ride on that to create enmity between him and me are turning around to say he says I am not doing my job – I wish they knew about what he thinks I am doing.

“Anybody who thinks President Rawlings was attacking me does not know President Rawlings. He has a system of rhetorics. That is the message he is sending and you can go and ask him,” Mr Amidu added.

Gratitude

The Special Prosecutor expressed his appreciation to the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, for believing in his office and putting all measures in place to make his work successful.

He said his office had a mandate to execute and would ensure that it was done to the letter.
 
Background

Mr Amidu was sworn into office as the first Special Prosecutor on February 23, 2018, after he had received approval from Parliament, despite an earlier request for the House to suspend the approval because of a writ against Amidu’s nomination which was pending at the Supreme Court.

He is a man of few words but can write pages when an issue of national concern crops up.

He fears no one and says it as it is. He did not spare his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), when issues of corruption came up when the party was in government.

He led a crusade against a known financier of the NDC, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, and succeeded in securing a judgement against the businessman to refund the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to him after introducing the word ‘gargantuan corruption’ first in Ghana’s political landscape.

Education

Mr Amidu graduated with an LL.B (Hons) from the University of Ghana in 1976 and a Barrister at Law (BL) from the Ghana Law School in 1978.

He also holds a master of Arts degree in Conflict Resolution from the Antioch University, Ohio, USA.

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