THE PRESIDENT of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has nominated Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu as the Special Prosecutor, subject to the approval of Parliament.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, by a letter dated Thursday, January 11, 2018, exercised her power of nomination, and submitted to him, for his acceptance, the name of Martin Amidu as the proposed Special Prosecutor.
“I have accepted the Attorney General’s nomination, and will, in turn, submit for Parliament’s approval, when it reconvenes on January 23, 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,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known yesterday at a press conference at the Flagstaff House.
The President told the media that the appointment of Mr Amidu as Special Prosecutor is because he is fully convinced that 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.”
President Akufo-Addo recounted the commendation given by the Supreme Court to Martin Amidu for his public spiritedness in the case of Amidu vrs Attorney-General, Waterville and Woyome [2013-2014] 1 SCGLR 112 @ 166.
It would be recalled that in that judgement, the respected judge, Dotse JSC, of the Supreme Court stated that “…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 Mr 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 told the gathering that 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,” he said.
The President noted further that Mr Amidu has indicated his willingness to accept the appointment as Special Prosecutor.
“I, thus, have the honour to submit to Parliament, when it reconvenes, the name of Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, for its approval for appointment as Special Prosecutor,” the President said.
He said he was hopeful that the praiseworthy speed and dispatch with which Parliament acted on his nominees for ministerial appointment last year would characterise its handling of this nomination to enable Mr Amidu, as soon as possible, to enter into office to begin the important work that awaits him.
“I congratulate him on his deserved nomination, and wish him Godspeed in the valiant efforts he will undoubtedly be making to enhance the quality of governance of our country. The Ghanaian people will be the beneficiaries of that,” the President concluded.
Profile of Martin Amidu
Martin A. B. K. Amidu is a Ghanaian politician. He was the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from January 2011 till January 2012. He is the man who introduced the word ‘gargantuan’, into the lexicon of Ghanaian politics, when he opened the can of worms about the Woyome scandal which was set to be the worst financial scandal in Ghana’s fiscal history at the time.
Amidu served as the Deputy Attorney-General for about the last four years of the Provisional National Defence Council military government. Amidu is a member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
After civilian rule was established in the Fourth Republic in January 1993, he continued to serve in the government of Jerry John Rawlings as Deputy Attorney-General. This he did for both terms lasting eight years until January 2001.
Minister for Interior
In January 2010, following a cabinet reshuffle, President Mills replaced Cletus Avoka with Amidu as the Minister for Interior. As Amidu is a Builsa, some people raised questions as to his neutrality in dealing with the Bawku conflict. He, however, went successfully through vetting by the Parliament of Ghana and assumed his post.
Following the second major cabinet reshuffle by President Mills, Amidu became the Attorney General and Minister for Justice of Ghana.
Removal from Office
Amidu was relieved of his post on Thursday January 19, 2012 by President John Evans Atta Mills under circumstances described by aides as ‘his misconduct’ at a meeting chaired by the president at the Osu Castle on January 18, 2012.
He made allegations related to alleged financial impropriety on the part of another cabinet minister, allegations he was asked by the president to substantiate.
Amidu, the former Attorney General, single-handedly challenged the legality of the payments at the Supreme Court after having been relieved of his post.
The Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr Woyome to pay back the money as Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney-General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr Woyome to refund the cash to the State.
Following the delays in retrieving the money, Mr. Amidu in 2016 filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to examine Woyome on how he would pay back the money, after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017, however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government under the New Patriotic Party led by His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo, and assurance by his Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo, to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to Mr Woyome were the reason for his decision and prayed the Supreme Court to stay proceedings on the oral examination since he had filed for a review of the case.
Woyome’s lawyer, Ken Anku, argued that his client would face an irreparable damage if the oral examination was allowed to take place but the Deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, opposed the application, describing the reasons as incompetent and unmeritorious.
Amidu has also been in private legal practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana and also as a private, professional conflict resolution consultant.
He has authored at least six outstanding legal publications discussing issues like the power of a court to convict an accused person for a lesser or included offence other than charged; the qualification and the constitutional position of the Attorney-General; and the scope and effect of judicial power in the enforcement and defence of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
His new calling as ‘citizen vigilante’ found expression in his introduction late last year, of the now very hackneyed word ‘gargantuan’ into Ghana’s politics, a word he used to describe the scale of fraud he insisted had been perpetrated by his colleagues in government against the State, especially in the fraudulent payment of court judgement debts to organisations and individuals.
Unlike many high-profile lawyers of his generation, Mr Amidu did not attend the best of second cycle schools.
After elementary school, he gained admission to a private educational institution in Tamale housed in makeshift structures and designated a commercial school by its founder and headmaster, Mr Ben Gogoe.
As the years went by, Mr Amidu became obsessed with books, especially political science books. He fed ravenously on Marx and Engels.
After law school, Mr Amidu, like many young intellectuals of the time who had the outlook of ‘progressives’, drifted into the emerging leftist politics of the June Four Movement.
Mr Amidu graduated from the University of Ghana in 1976 with an LLB (Hons) and the Ghana Law School in 1978 with a Barrister/Solicitor at Law (BL) degree.
He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Conflict Resolution from the Antioch University, Ohio, USA. The former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice joined the NDC in 1992.
He was the party’s vice-presidential candidate in the December 2000 presidential elections which the NDC presidential candidate, Professor J.E.A Mills, lost to the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) John Agyekum Kufuor.
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