President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday, November 17, responded to allegations levelled against him and his Administration by Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor in his resignation letter.
In a nine-page response, the president addressed some critical claims Martin Amidu made such as interference in the work of the Special Prosecutor; the Agyapa mineral royalties scandal; and the claims that the Government of Ghana had failed to provide the needed resources and funds for the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
“I refer to your letter dated 16 November, 2020 pursuant to which you resigned your position as the first Special Prosecutor appointed in accordance with Section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) (hereinafter, the “Letter”),” the letter signed by Nana Bediatuo Asante, the Secretary to the President noted.
“The President has taken note of your resignation per the President’s Chief of Staff’s letter to you of even date herewith (SCR/DA/96/135/01/A),” it continued.
“We note, however, that, even before the President had been given the opportunity to react to the contents of your four (4) page [resignation] Letter, it had been put into the public domain prior to receipt by the President. I am directed by the President to respond to correct the errors of fact contained in your Letter in order to provide a complete public record of the issues,” parts of the letter further reads.
GhanaWeb highlights the three key points addressed in the President’s response to Martin Amidu:
- Alleged Interference with the Independence and Freedom of Action of the Special Prosecutor
The letter from the Presidency averred that throughout Martin Amidu’s tenure as Special Prosecutor, “neither the President nor any member of his government has interfered or sought to interfere with your work.”
“Indeed, it is noteworthy that in your letter to the President dated 16 October, 2020, (OSP/SCR/20/12/20) you stated, in part, in relation to the novel nature of the report on the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment of the gold royalties monetisation transaction (hereinafter the “Agyapa Report”) as follows: ‘This has been made possible by the courage and commitment of H.E. the President of Ghana in redeeming the promise he made to Ghanaians when he was a Presidential candidate of a political party to establish an independent anti-corruption statutory entity to make meaningful any real commitment to prevent and to fight corruption.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) established this Office. The President ensured that in the teeth of strong opposition the Special Prosecutor was able to have his way to have included in the Office of the Special Prosecutor (Operations) Regulations, 2018 (L.I. 2374) the prevention of corruption regulations which to the best of my knowledge may be the first in Africa and meets international standards and best practices.’”
- Effect of the Agyapa Report
The presidency’s response indicated that Martin Amidu was “most disingenuous” when he created an impression that he had uncovered “serious corruption and corruption-related offences” regarding the Agyapa transaction in respect of which you “intended to open full investigations as the Special Prosecutor”.
The statement acknowledged paragraph 33 of Martin Amidu’s letter which he addressed to the President dated 16 October, 2020, that stated inter alia:
“This assessment does not constitute an investigation even though formal investigations for the suspected commission of corruption and corruption-related offences may arise from this corruption risk assessment.”
The presidency then questioned, “What prevented your Office from investigating the alleged corruption-related offences which may have arisen from your assessment of the Agyapa transaction.”
- Alleged Operational Difficulties Encountered by the Office of Special Prosecutor
The president’s response referenced page 3 of Martin Amidu’s resignation letter which alluded to various matters bordering on operational challenges encountered by the Office of the Special Prosecutor, which hindered the independence of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Then it sought to shoot down Amidu’s argument thus: “The facts are that consequent upon your appointment as Special Prosecutor, the President instructed the Chief of Staff of the Presidency and the Minister of Finance to ensure that they do their utmost to assist in the expeditious set-up of your Office. Your Office received more than a sufficient budgetary allocation to assist it in its anti-corruption fight.”
The letter continued: “Remarkably, your letter of resignation alludes to the consistent deprivation of finances and a financial handicap imposed on the Office of the Special Prosecutor. You also bemoan the non-payment of the salaries of yourself, and the Deputy Special Prosecutor in a manner that suggests [the] Government’s failure to do so. Yet, your Office had been adequately funded to pay for salaries. The impression given by you that there was a deliberate intention to ensure your office didn’t function is the more startling.”