I worked 33 months without pay – Special Prosecutor as he resigns
The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has attributed his resignation to the traumatic experiences he went through after releasing the findings of his corruption assessment report on the Agyapa Royalties deal.
According to him, he had received death threats after submitting a copy of the report which among other things described databank, an investment company owned by the Minister of Finance as a decoy for the Imara investment company, the transaction advisor for the Agyapa deal.
The government was seeking to raise a billion dollars from the London and Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) as it swaps 49 per cent of the country’s mineral royalties for development projects. The deal raised suspicions from civil society and the Minority.
Mr. Amidu investigated the deal and took issues with some aspects of it which he said lacked value for money and also breached the country’s international transaction laws.
But weeks after that, Mr. Amidu said the interference in his work meant he could only resign to fight back.
“I should not ordinarily be announcing my resignation to the public myself but the traumatic experience I went through from 20th October 2020 to 2nd November 2020. [this was] when I conveyed in a thirteen (13) page letter the conclusions and observations on the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment on the Report On Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions and Other Matters Related Thereto to the President as Chairman of the National Security Council cautions against not bringing my resignation as the Special Prosecutor with immediate to the notice of the Ghanaian public and the world,” he said in a statement.
Martin Amidu, a resigned Attorney General in the erstwhile Mills administration, was hailed as a plus for the government’s fight against corruption by anti-graft CSOs.
He had single-handedly taken on shady government deals in the past, including the 51 million cedis paid to businessman Woyome, and Waterville holdings.
It was a fight that got him the moniker, ‘Citizen vigilante’ as his cases before the Supreme Court compelled the government to chase Woyome and beneficiaries of other shady deals.
When he was appointed on February 20, 2018, many hoped that his office would become the government’s biggest arsenal against corruption. But it never was.
Amidu had complained about the lack of logistics, office space, and personnel to champion his cause.
Last year, his office was allocated 180 million cedis as the war chest for the fight against corruption. Out of this, he received only 3 million cedis.
But it appeared to be a drop in the ocean as nothing more than epistles came from the Special Prosecutor’s office.
Several corruption cases before him including that of the sacked Public Procurement Authority, the galamsey bribery scandal against a presidential staffer, Charles Bissue and the Airbus scandal but had been gathering dust as he failed to provide updates.
Many, particularly government appointees, accused him of failing to make good use of the government’s goodwill.
But in what could be described as the final of his epistles while in office, Mr. Amidu claimed the government had other ideas rather than his independence to work.
” The reaction I received for daring to produce the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption report convinces me beyond any reasonable doubt that I was not intended to exercise any independence as the Special Prosecutor in the
prevention, investigation, prosecution, and recovery of assets of corruption. My position as the Special Prosecutor has consequently become clearly untenable.”
Not a poodle
Mr Amidu said the President Nana Akufo-Addo was under the illusion that he (Amidu) he would be a docile holder of the anti-graft office.
According to him, the President’s reactions when he submitted his report on the Agyapa Royalties deal corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment conveyed that impression.
He said far from being the independent office holder he was promised, his hands were tied two weeks ago, as there was an attempt to tie his hands when he submitted his report.
“The one condition upon which I accepted to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor when you invited me to your office on 10th January 2018 was your firm promise to me that you will respect and ensure same by your government for my independence and freedom of action as Special Prosecutor.
“Several things have happened since then. But your reaction to my letter with reference number… dated 16th October 2020, which was delivered to you on 19th October 2020, conveying to you the conclusion and observation of the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment of the Agyapa Royalties transaction convinces me beyond every reasonable doubt that you had laboured under the mistaken belief that I could not hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor as your poodle,” he said in a letter addressed to the President.
Although given what could be described as “incentive” for the many battles he had to fight against corruption, Mr. Amidu claimed he was left ‘broke’ as he only received an official appointment letter almost three years after he was appointed.
“It is essential for me to state for the purpose of the records, and contrary to public perceptions, that my appointment letter was received on 5th February 2020 (almost two (2)-years after my appointment). The copy addressees made no efforts to honour any of the conditions of appointment in terms of emoluments and benefits of the appointment ever since my warrant of appointment was issued on 23rd February 2018, to the date of my letter of resignation.
“I accepted the offer on 10th January 2018 to be nominated to be Special Prosecutor because Mr. President and Ghanaians knew I have been an anti-corruption crusader all my life and not an anti-corruption entrepreneur.
“This explains why I have never put the emoluments and benefits of the
Office as central to my commitment and my passion for the establishment of an independent, effective, efficient and impartial anti-corruption Office of the Special Prosecutor before the end of the first term of Mr. President. This has not been possible for several reasons.”
He was not the only one unpaid. He claimed his righthand woman– Deputy Special Prosecutor, Jane Cynthia Naa Korshie Lamptey, had also not been paid since her appointment.
On November 12, 2020, Ghana received news of the unfortunate demise of former President Jerry John Rawlings.
On that day, Mr. Amidu said he also had an awakening.
“The events of 12th November 2020 removed the only protection I had from the threats and plans directed at me for undertaking the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption assessment report and dictates that I resign as the Special Prosecutor immediately.
Former President J.J Rawlings died as a crusader against corruption and social injustice. Mr. Amidu said he was willing to walk that path.
“Fear is the enemy of change, and I am prepared from the vacuum created on 12th November 2020 to meet the threats of my demise as the price to pay for serving my country without fear or favour affection or ill will.
“I acted professionally throughout in the discharge of my duties, and my conscience is the anchor of my strength to face any consequences. I am grateful to every Ghanaian for both the support and criticisms during my tenure. When the real facts of my tenure become well known to the public in the future, history may judge me kindly.”