The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to
quickly initiate processes to find a successor to continue the sensitive and important job of realizing the true ambit of the powers of the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) to ensure success of the fight against corruption.
The call was contained in a statement issued by the NPP and signed by Communications Director, Yaw Buaben Asamoa.
He expressed shock and dismay Martin Amidu chose to walk away from the golden opportunity of establishing a brand new effective agency, having had the best part of three years to demonstrate and cement his anti-corruption credentials.
The Special Prosecutor tendered in his resignation letter on Monday 16th November 2020 citing a litany of reasons for his decision.
The NPP, however, argued the Presidency and the Ministry of Finance have done everything to make the OSP operational, effective and independent contrary to claims by Martin Amidu in his resignation letter.
According to Mr. Buaben Asamoa, the decision to appoint Martin Amidu is a clear indication the President did not intend for the OSP to be headed by a lackey.
He said, “Mr. Amidu has not resigned because any investigation of his has been interfered with by the Presidency or any member of the government.”
“Since 2018, he has been offered all the room and support he needed by law and mandate and every money he has requested to set up an entirely new institution, which comes with its own challenges, and to operate the Office independently and efficiently.”
“No political office holder has interfered in the administration of that Office. Indeed, that his actions appear to impact both the incumbent and immediate past governments vindicate the wisdom of the mandate and powers of the Office that he occupied, which hinged on the independence of thought and action.”
The Communications Director, however, argued independence cannot be infallible and stressed that liberty does not mean actions of the OSP cannot be commented upon by the people as happened with the Agyapa report.
He pointed out that Mr. Amidu appeared to resign because the President applied the ‘Audi Alteram Partem’ rule to enable the Finance Minister to state his case after the anti-corruption risk and corruption risk assessment report on Agyapa.
He stressed that every independence and authority of the Office demands its conclusions are held to scrutiny in the principles of natural justice.
“In this regard, much as the Office has the power and right to issue the Report, the recipient President also had a duty to engage the Hon. Minister of Finance, who in his Memo requested by the President in response, clearly engages very transparently on the issues raised in the report,” he said.
Mr. Buaben Asamoa questioned how this could be described as interference and stressed there is nothing said or done that stopped the Special Prosecutor from going ahead to undertake a full and proper investigation of Agyapa beyond the assessment.
“All he had to do was continue his mandate to undertake an investigation and continue with prosecution if a prima facie case could be established.”
“Otherwise, Mr. Amidu’s apparently noble gesture of resignation, may, sadly, smack of political grandstanding,” he added.
The President, he said, has been forthright, sincere and honest in his conviction to fight corruption and the setting up of the independent OSP implies progress in fighting corruption.
He averred that Ghana’s political strata need to move away from merely shouting about who is corrupt and actually begin to fight corruption on a sustainable basis.
According to him, league tabling corruption does not work and stressed the recitation and shouting loudest does not solve the political corruption problem of impunity that leads to blatant procurement and resource management issues.
Mr. Asamoa stated that the NPP has a better claim to good governance than the National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose current leadership record on anti-corruption is the worst ever.
“Their record on institutional strengthening is abysmal, as evidenced by the Audit Service Activity Report of 2014 lamenting the lack of financial and logistical support since 2012, thereby hampering their work.”
“Their record on anti-corruption legislation is weak, the PFM having been passed under pressure, with massive abuses of sole sourcing under the legal procurement regime put in by the Kufuor administration.”
“The highlight of NDC perfidy is the interoperability process where NDC was giving Ghana a bill of $1.2 billion. The NPP did it for $4.2 million,” he said.
“Before the OSP now is a clear criminal investigation on a judgment from a UK court which alleges that a brother of Government Official One served as an intermediary for a €5m bribe paid to Government Official One for a transaction to acquire airplanes for the Air Force,” he added.
According to him, contrast that with the NPP’s record that cumulatively, from the era of President Kufuor, has major transparency enhancing legislation, or sunshine legislation and case law being developed.
He cited the Internal Audit, Procurement, OSP, RTI, and the reformed Companies Act as examples
He argued that President Kufuor rightly diagnosed public procurement as a problem, whilst Nana Addo determined to assault impunity once and for all and stressed that between clean procurement and reduced impunity, Ghana’s fight against corruption would be over.