Amidu rejected four office buildings – Presidency dismisses lack of support claim
The Presidency has dismissed claims by Martin Amidu that the Special Prosecutor was shackled in his work, leading to his resignation.
In a statement, the President’s Executive Secretary, Asante Bediatuo, catalogued a history of the government’s support to the Special Prosecutor, including accommodation, utilities, and budgetary support.
He revealed that contrary to Amidu’s claims that he was not given a befitting office to operate from, he rejected four office buildings identified for him over a period of two years.
In some of the rejections, the government claims Amidu had proposed an office space and later rejected his own proposal, hopping onto another new proposal.
The statement listed;
- A cluster of buildings consisting of one two-storey building and two single-storey buildings were identified opposite the Bank Hospital at Cantonments, Accra.
- A building belonging to the erstwhile Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) close to the British High Commission.
- A 10-storey building at Ridge belonging to the GETFund.
In one case such as the GNTC building, renovation works were ongoing when Amidu called the President’s Chief of Staff to express his disinterest in the building.
In the case of the GETFund building at Ridge, Amidu even submitted several changes he wanted in the renovation of the building but would later walk off.
“You subsequently generated your own list of defects contained in an eight (8) page document. The contractor nonetheless graciously accepted, compared and merged with the defects earlier jointly identified with you.”
After these changes were made to the 10-storey building and the Special Prosecutor offered three floors, the presidency says Amidu rejected the building citing security concerns.
“You flatly refused to accept this arrangement on the basis that your Office could not share the building with any other office for security concerns.”
Amidu announced his resignation on Monday, cutting short a tenure that was to last seven years.
Below is the full statement from Amidu explaining his resignation
His resignation accompanied by an explanation of interference sets him on a collision course with the government with general elections to win in three weeks.
This is the second time Martin Amidu says he has had to resign a government post.
In 2011, he resigned from his position as Attorney General in the erstwhile Mills administration and fought the NDC government over the unlawful payment of 51.2m cedis judgement debt.
It was through that fight that he got the name ‘Citizen Vigilante’ exposing the NDC’s commitment to fighting corruption.
The NPP government would take over the reins of power and appoint Martin Amidu as the first Special Prosecutor, an office created by the Akufo-Addo government.
But in a case of deja vu, Martin Amidu has resigned again and is set to take on the NPP government.
Read Akufo-Addo’s response to Amidu on rent
You sought to blame the housing of the Office of Special Prosecutor in “a three-bedroom and boys quarters accommodation” on the Government. Once again, the real facts do not bear out your assertions and insinuations out. It is evident that responsibility for this situation can be attributable only to your good self. Your Office rejected various allocations of suitable accommodation with the result that you remained at your present accommodation by choice and not some grand design by Government to ensure your office didn’t function as it should.
- On 17 September, 2018, a meeting was held at the Office of the Chief of Staff, at which you were present to explore means of addressing the urgent challenges of the Office of Special Prosecutor, one of which undoubtedly, was accommodation. A Committee was set up to identify a building suitable for housing the Office. The Committee set out immediately to embark on the search for accommodation for the Office.
- On the next day, 18 September 2018, a cluster of buildings consisting of one two-storey building and two single-storey buildings were identified opposite the Bank Hospital at Cantonments, Accra.
- On 20 September, 2018, the Committee, together with the Deputy Chief of Staff, your good self, your Secretary and other staff of your Office, inspected the buildings. After inspection, you expressed satisfaction with the buildings. A team from the Ministry of Works and Housing immediately took measurements and was ready to undertake the necessary alterations to meet the specific demands of your Office.
- On 21 September, 2018, you invited a team from the Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) to inspect and expedite action on the renovation works.
- Surprisingly, on 4 October, 2018, you placed a telephone call to the Chief of Staff to indicate preference for another building belonging to the erstwhile Ghana National Trading Corporation (GNTC) close to the British High Commission at Ridge instead of the cluster of buildings opposite the Bank Hospital. On the same 4 October, 2018, the Chief of Staff by a letter referenced as( SCR/DA96/135/01/A) instructed the Ministry of Trade and Industries (MoTI) to release the said building to your Office.
- In order to secure that building for your Office, the Office of the President actually constructed a fence wall to ward off encroachers while processes were initiated to award the contract for the renovation of the building to a contractor.
- While the renovation of the GNTC building was underway, you halted the works and requested that a ten (10) storey building at Ridge belonging to the GETFund rather be renovated instead for occupation by you and your Office. The Office of the President once again obliged this request. It is noteworthy that this particular building had been allocated to the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, which had actually paid for the place and yet priority was given to your office and GIPC asked to relinquish same.
- On 2 April, 2019, a meeting was convened at the Office of the President with officers of the GETFund, at which you were present, to discuss the road map for renovation of the building for use by your Office.
- On 3 April, 2019, representatives of your Office and officers from CONSAR Ltd and Messrs. Evans Anfom and Associates met to conduct a joint inventory and inspection of defects with the facility. You subsequently generated your own list of defects contained in an eight (8) page document. The contractor nonetheless graciously accepted, compared and merged with the defects earlier jointly identified with you.
- As at 14 May, 2020, Messrs. Consar Ltd had carried out all the remedial works on the building and same was certified by GETFund as ready to be handed over to your Office.
- On 10 July, 2020, you wrote to the Office of the President informing that the procurement plan for your Office for 2020 had been approved and that the award of a single source contract for the conversion of the 10 storey building owned by GETFund into suitable office accommodation with appropriate demarcations was part of the approved plan. The Office of the President granted the Office of the Special Prosecutor permission to initiate procurement processes for the award by single-source procurement, as requested by you, of the contract for the conversion of the building into suitable office accommodation and divisions.
- GETFund had expressed the intention to offer the building for sale. As you are aware, the Office of the President agreed to acquire it for your Office. Pending conclusion of negotiations for the purchase of the building, the Office of the President agreed to rent the building for three months for immediate occupation of three floors by your Office, since the landlady of the premises currently occupied by your Office had indicated the intention not to renew the tenancy agreement on its expiry. You flatly refused to accept this arrangement on the basis that your Office could not share the building with any other office for security concerns.
- By a letter dated 29 July, 2020 (SCR/DA/287/372/02), the Chief of Staff informed you that the GETFund building was ready for occupation of the your Office and requested a convenient date to handover the building to you. You refused to do so, and in your letter dated 3 August, 2020 (OSP/SCR/24/33/20), you stated that “it is my considered view that if your proposal for handing over the GETFund building to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) was wittingly made on a settled conviction that you have been able to secure a fitting accommodation with all the divisions for occupation by the OSP, then, the proposal ought to have been made to H.E. the President to fix a date for the public commissioning of the building for the occupation of this Office without any further delay”.
- On 11 September, 2020, the Chief of Staff wrote to you indicating receipt of a letter dated 26 August, 2020 from the GETFund confirming release of the entire building to Central Government for occupation by the Office of Special Prosecutor. The Chief of Staff, in this letter, informed you of the release of the keys to the main entrance of the building to your Office and further, that, the keys to other doors in the building had been left in the locks for you to access. Security had also been deployed to secure the premises until such time as you made your own arrangements for security desired by you. The Chief of Staff’s letter and the keys to the GETFund building were delivered to your Office at 2pm of the same day but you instructed your officers not to accept any parcel from the Office of the President.
- On 14 September, 2020, you wrote to the Chief of Staff conveying your refusal “to take possession of a bunch of keys disrespectfully sent to your Office in an envelope through a messenger and to ask the messenger to return them to the sender”. The Chief of Staff by another letter dated 18 September, 2020, explained to you the reason for delivery of the keys to you in an envelope and urged you to reconsider your rejection of the keys.
- With the greatest respect, your decision not to accept the keys to the 10 storey building identified by you and renovated after rejecting other buildings jointly identified with you, is very troubling and does not reflect a desire to establish an operational office for the Special Prosecutor. Indeed, your behaviour, in connection with the acquisition of suitable accommodation for the Office of Special Prosecutor, remains inexplicable and unwarranted. Suffice to say that it is undeniable and abundantly clear on the facts that every effort was made by Government to assign your Office a suitable premises from which to operate efficiently and effectively.