A former Deputy Attorney General has filed a suit at the Supreme Court that could potentially scuttle the parliamentary vetting and subsequent approval of the Special Prosecutor nominee, Martin A.B.K. Amidu.
Dr Dominic Ayine claimed Martin Amidu, 66, is beyond the statutory age of employment into public service and is therefore, seeking an order of the court to have his nomination annulled.
The suit comes barely 24 hours to the much-anticipated vetting of Martin Amidu by the Appointment Committee of Parliament
In the event Parliament proceeds with the vetting and approves Mr Amidu, Dr. Ayine wants the court to go ahead and annul the approval of Martin Amidu.
In the statement of claim, Dr Ayine is praying the court to declare that “by true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1) (d) and 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).”
Meanwhile, Mr Amidu is expected to appear before the Appointment Committee of Parliament today, February 13, 2018 for approval or otherwise of his nomination.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in January this year nominated Mr Amidu as the Special Prosecutor, subject to the approval of Parliament.
Announcing his nomination, President Akufo-Addo said: “I have accepted the Attorney General’s nomination, and will, in turn, submit for Parliament’s approval, when it reconvenes on 23rd January, 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.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Amidu in a statement issued to the media yesterday ahead of his vetting today said he was looking forward to his vetting as Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor nominee.
However, he said, whatever the outcome will be either approval or disapproval by Parliament he had “nothing personally to win or lose.”
If he is approved, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice will be the first person under this Fourth Republic to occupy the Office of the Special Prosecutor to deal with issues of corruption in the public sector.
“One thing I know from the outpouring of support for the President’s nomination of my humble self as the Special Public Prosecutor is that if the President’s wishes were put to a national referendum, all the 275 constituencies of the country will return an overwhelmingly positive endorsement for his choice.
“But the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor Act (Act 959) gives the power of approval to the Parliament and it is important that everyone complies with the Act and the instructions issued by the Committee for the public hearing. Only two outcomes are possible after the public hearing – to approve or disapprove the President’s nominee. Whatever the outcome, I will have nothing personally to win or lose. I accordingly urge every Ghanaian unable to attend the hearing personally to stay calm and await the outcome. I will forever remain grateful for the outpouring of support across the country on the occasion of the President’s announcement of my nomination for approval as Special Prosecutor,” he stated in the statement.
But the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has voiced out what it describes as its caution against the nomination of its one-time flag-bearer running mate and political stalwart, Martin Amidu, for the post of Special Prosecutor.
A statement issued by the party last week, and signed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said the NDC, a party with rich knowledge of the workings of machinery of state, respects all national institutions including especially those that are designed to assure good governance, probity, accountability and judicious use of the country’s resources.
“Nevertheless, the NDC in the statement said, “we observe that after falling out with the NDC administration, Mr. Martin Amidu was allowed free rein to express his opinions without let or hindrance, something he did by openly castigating and issuing threats to the NDC and its leadership. We are not at all concerned, contrary to the insinuations of some that he should now be handed the full authority of state power to possibly pursue this agenda.”
It added: “Our issue with the nomination of Mr. Martin Amidu is based purely and solely on important matters of principle. We note among others that Mr. Amidu had previously published a document challenging the constitutionality of the newly established Office of Special Prosecutor, the very office he has accepted to occupy.”
Earlier, the NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Appointment Committee served notice that Mr. Amidu should come well prepared since he will be bombarded with a barrage of questions.
Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH