At His Vetting
Parliamentary Vetting Committee was yesterday treated to a session of self-glorification by the nominee for Special Prosecutor job, Martin Amidu, who described himself as the best man for the office.
Responding to his duties as Chairman for the Public Agreement Board under the erstwhile Provincial National Defense Council (PNDC), a bitter-looking Mr. Amidu, took the committee through a long widening lecture on hard work, principles, excellence integrity among other self-aggrandizing claims.
According to him, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, had so much trust and confidence in his capabilities that he entrusted him with some of the most difficulty jobs and investigations during his administration.
He took offense at jokes, reminded some Members of Parliament (MPs) of their ages, his relationship with their fathers and favours he had done them in the past. Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, Mahama Ayariga, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and Alhassan Suhuyine, had their share of his rage.
The ex-Attorney-General and Minister of Justice claimed, under ex-President Rawlings, he performed meticulously by scrutinizing government contracts before they were passed, adding that is evidence and guarantee of his record of patriotism.
“…and that is why if you want anybody who will be meticulous in investigating and prosecuting, the president [Nana Akufo-Addo] has made the best choice for you, Mr. Amidu told the Parliamentary Vetting Committee, adding “…but if you want anybody who will look the other way, just disapprove me.”
Mr. Amidu explained that as Chairman of the Public Agreement Board during the PNDC [an office established under, Section 42 PNDC proclamation sub-sequential provisions and consequential law 1983, PNDC law 42] regime he was a gatekeeper that prevented ministers from entering frivolous contracts.
“…I was so meticulous that unless the contract was in the national interest, I rejected it,” he said.
He also stated that his critical attitude did not sit well with some of the ministers but he had the support of the Chairman of the PNDC, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
“…and that caused me to have problems with some ministers but the Chair of the PNDC was behind me,” he stated.
Martin Amidu was announced by President Akufo-Addo as the nominee for the Office Special Prosecutor on January 11, 2018. The office is to help in the fight against corruption without being accused of witch hunting and is part of Akufo-Addo’s campaign promises.
Mr. Amidu dodged many of his press statement he had written about appointees of the previous government as well as the Electoral Commission (EC) boss dismissing claiming he has no axe to grind with anyone in his fight against corruption.
The widely acclaimed anti-corruption campaigner said he has lived in harmony with many people but criminals.
Mr. Amidu said he will not use his position as the Special Prosecutor to settle personal scores as his critics have pointed out.
The constitutional defence advocate said he can live with “decent people” who are equally passionate about stopping corruption.
But he cannot put up with “criminals” who want to be rich at all cost on the back of vulnerable and innocent Ghanaians.
“This country is not a milking cow [and] whether I am approved or not I will continue to fight corruption,” the non-compromising anti-corruption campaigner said.
Reacting to a question about the GHS51.2million wrongfully paid businessman, Alfred Woyome, Mr Amidu said the state can only retrieve the money if it sues all the people who were involved in the payment.
“Woyome cannot be prosecuted alone…we should prosecute everybody involved,” he said.
The former Attorney-General (A-G) said he has turned down several awards by organisations that want to celebrate his works.
“I refused them and wrote to them [organisers] that it is not about Martin Amidu. I want them [anti-corruption fights] to be centred on the national need,” he told Parliament’s Appointments Committee.
He described himself as “a shy person” said he has declined awards bestowed on him by groups that want to celebrate his anti-corruption works.
He was recently awarded by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) at its Annual General Conference in Sunyani last year, but he said he did not need it.
“It was announced but nothing came…it was in the wind,” he said of the GBA award, drawing laughter from the gathering, and implored Ghanaians to emulate his passion and commitment to rid the country of corruption instead of showering awards on him.
“The government hasn’t given me any award…[and] I haven’t asked for one,” he said, adding “it is better to fight the canker [corruption] than allow it to fester.”
Martin Amidu pledged his resolve to remain independent in the discharge of his duty should he be approved for the job.
According to him, he accepted the position as an anti-corruption crusader to ensure fight against the canker is won under the Akufo-Addo led administration.
Mr. Amidu gave the assurance when asked by Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, how independent he will be.
He maintained that, he will not be a stooge for government or an individual for their personnel vendetta.
“As a lawyer, if you sell your conscience to your colleague lawyer you are a zombie. A lawyer is an independent contractor and must act as such”, the Citizen Vigilante stressed.
To ensure independence of his office, Mr. Amidu said they will employ prosecutors who are independent and impartial to ensure justice is served.
“This country is not a milking cow but it has suffered several acts of corruption” he stated.
The former Deputy Attorney General maintained that, he accepted to position because “Corruption is structural violence which harms so many people. Therefore a credible institution with a credible culture is needed to seal the leakages and slippages.
Martin Amidu added that, “I want to put machinery in place to stop this. The number of slippages at the ports if we were to seal them we will not go for aid. I am the man in the arena, dirtying my face”.