NDC Runs To Court Over Amidu

Martin A.B.K. Amidu 

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears determined to stall the President’s nomination of Martin A.B.K. Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.

He is expected to face the Parliamentary Vetting Committee today, but that might be postponed because one of the NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) has filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking to stop Mr. Amidu from being vetted to become Ghana’s first anti-corruption prosecutor.

Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East, claims Mr. Amidu, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice – who is credited for his crusade against corruption – has crossed the mandatory age limit required to hold such an office.

He filed the suit against the current Attorney General and Mr. Amidu himself yesterday, and he is being represented by Mr Tony Lithur, who represented former President John Mahama during the landmark presidential election petition in 2013.

Mr. Ayine, who was the Deputy Attorney General under the previous Mahama administration, wants reliefs, including “a declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (1) (4) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the requirement age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1) (d), is 60 years, anyhow not beyond 65 years.”

He also wants “a declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, no person above the age of 65 years is eligible for employment in any public office created under Article 190 (1) (d),” as well as “ a declaration that by reason of his age (66 years), Mr Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

The former Deputy AG further wants a declaration that “by reason of his age, Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be approved by Parliament as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

Furthermore, the plaintiff wants a declaration that “by reason of his age, Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be appointed by the President of the Republic as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2018 (Act 959).”

He also wants a declaration that “any purported nomination by the Attorney General or approval by Parliament or appointment by the President of Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2018 (Act 959) is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”

The suit indicates, “In the event Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu has already been vetted and approved by parliament and or appointed by the President as a Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959) prior to the final determination of this suit, an order annulling such nomination, approval and appointment.”

In his legal arguments, the plaintiff insisted among other things that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is “a creature of the Constitution to the extent that it is a direct offshoot of a power drawn from Article 190.

“Once parliament passed Act 959 and the President assented to it on 2nd January, 2018, the Office of the Special Prosecutor became part of the public service and governed by the constitutional provisions relating to the public service and public office holders.

“Whatever designation one gives the Office of the Special Prosecutor created under Article 959, it is clear that it forms part of the public service, and its employees and appointees, once appointed, become public officers.

“The plaintiff said that the Office of the Special Prosecutor has no special constitutional guarantees beyond what is prescribed under the 1992 Constitution for all public office holders. The Act, which creates the office, can therefore not give it any features or attributes beyond what is constitutionally prescribed for the public services in general.”

 

Martin A.B.K. Amidu 

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