President Akufo-Addo With Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia (middle) Welcoming Martin Amidu To The Flagstaff House Yesterday Ahead Of The Announcement
The speculation over who gets to be nominated and appointed to the highly coveted position of Special Prosecutor came to an end yesterday when President Akufo-Addo announced the name of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice under the Mills/Mahama administration, Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu.
The man, who is fondly called Citizen Vigilante after securing judgement for the state in the infamous Woyome scandal that took the nation by storm, was full of excitement, as President Akufo-Addo gave him the mandate to do the job that he (Amidu) likes most – chasing suspected corrupt public officials.
Amidu had had cause to expose a number of deals in the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration.
As a former running mate to the late President Atta Mills and from the NDC stock – and not from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NPP), Mr Martin Amidu is therefore seen as likely to escape the tag ‘political witch-hunting’ when he assumes duty – as there appears to be general acceptance of his nomination and appointment by civil society groups.
Prior to the announcement, the names of prominent lawyers like Akoto-Ampaw, Phillip Addison and Yoni Kulendi – who had all worked at the chambers of Akufo-Addo Prempeh and Co. under President Akufo-Addo as likely candidates for the position.
But the president took the whole nation by surprise when he mentioned a name other than any of those mentioned above.
It followed a letter sent to him by Attorney General Gloria Akuffo dated Thursday, January 11, 2018 in which she nominated Mr Amidu for appointment by President Akufo-Addo as the proposed Special Prosecutor.
That would, however, be subjected to the approval of parliament.
At a brief press conference at the Flagstaff House yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said, “I have accepted the Attorney General’s nomination, and will, in turn, submit for parliament’s approval, when it reconvenes on 23rd January, 2018, for its first meeting of this New Year, the name of Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu to be the first Special Prosecutor under the law.”
Speculations were rife that Mr Amidu would be supported by Cynthia Lamptey, a former Director of Public Prosecution at the Attorney General’s Office.
President Akufo-Addo said he was fully convinced Mr Amidu, “a prominent legal personality, who held the high office of Attorney General of the Republic in the government of the late President Prof. John Evans Atta-Mills, has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this new office.”
He recounted the commendation given by the Supreme Court about Mr Martin Amidu for his public spiritedness in the case of Amidu vrs Attorney General, Waterville & Woyome [2013-2014] 1 SCGLR 112 @ 166.
The president recalled how the respected Supreme Court judge in that case – Justice Jones Victor Dotse – stated, “…The role of the Plaintiff, Martin Alamisi Amidu, a distinguished former Attorney General of this country, needs to be highly commended as was done in the lead judgment of the court. The Plaintiff, in my opinion, must be highly commended for his vigilante role in protecting the wanton dissipation of the public purse…”
The Court also, in a related suit, had this to say about Martin Amidu: “… the Plaintiff (that is to say Mr. Amidu) is to be commended for his public spiritedness which has fuelled his meticulous and industrious presentation of this case…”
President Akufo-Addo said he could also, personally, vouch for the public spiritedness of Mr. Amidu.
“We were on opposite sides in a series of landmark constitutional cases in the period leading up to and in the early years of the 4th Republic, well known to students of constitutional law, which helped shape the evolution of the Constitution of the 4th Republic. As Deputy Attorney General, as he then was, he conducted those cases with the fairness which should be a cardinal feature of the conduct of any self-respecting lawyer,” President Akufo-Addo recounted.
Mr. Amidu has since indicated his willingness to accept the appointment as Special Prosecutor.
He was hopeful the praiseworthy speed and dispatch with which parliament acted on his nominees for ministerial appointments last year, would characterise its handling of this nomination to enable Mr. Amidu, as soon as possible, assume duty to begin the important work that awaits him.
The country eagerly waits the approval of Mr Amidu in the coming weeks.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent