MyJoyOnline.com

Amidu’s withdrawal of Woyome cross-examination is bad decision

A public interest campaigner has faulted the decision by former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, to discontinue his pursuit of a corruption case at the Supreme Court.

Kwame Jantuah, a member of the Convention People's Party (CPP), says the decision may come back to haunt the Citizen Vigilante if the current administration also stalls in the retrieval of over GHȻ50 million paid unlawfully (according to the court) to businessman, Alfred Woyome.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a request by the former Attorney-General and struck out an application he had filed to cross-examine Mr Woyome in the long-drawn-out GHȻ51million judgement debt saga.

According to Mr Amidu, because there is a change in government, he would leave the matter to new Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akuffo to retrieve the money.

 “I have this morning 4th November 2016 filed an application at the Supreme Court for leave to examine the judgment debtor as the citizen public interest plaintiff in favour of whom the case was decided for the Republic of Ghana,” Mr Amidu had said in the application.

Mr Amidu had applied to cross-examine Mr Woyome following what he said was a deliberate effort by the then ruling National Democratic congress (NDC) to retrieve the money from the businessman.

Mr Woyome is a known NDC financier, hence when the then Attorney-General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong decided to discontinue oral examination of Mr Woyome in connection with the judgment debt, Mr Amidu filed to cross-examine the judgement debtor.

Martin Amidu

The Supreme Court had been considering Mr Amidu’s request when he asked to withdraw it.

Speaking on Newsfile Saturday, February 11, 2017, Mr Jantuah said although the reasons Mr Amidu gave to discontinuing to cross-examine Mr Woyome was worth respecting, it defeats his initial motivation for single-handedly taking up the matter.

 “One of his reasons is that he knows the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will prosecute the matter. It would be a lost opportunity if so happens that this government is unable to prosecute Woyome...So I would have thought he will take the advantage for Ghanaians' sake and go ahead with the case and question Woyome,” said Mr Jantuah.

The CEO of the African Energy Consortium Ltd said Mr Amidu should have pursued the matter to its logical conclusion – ensure that the money’s retrieved.

“If they [NPP government] goes on with the way it has gone on like the NDC government I think it is a lost an opportunity,” Mr Jantuah said.

Strong institutions

However, a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Prof Ransford Gyampo, who was also on the show, backed Mr Amidu’s decision.

“Public trust and confidence in institutions is very key to our effort to build strong institutions. He [Amidu] has trust and confidence in the Attorney-General [Gloria Akuffo] and he believes that they [NPP government] don’t suffer huge legitimacy deficits...so be it,” he said.

According to him, the onus is now on the new government to uphold the confidence Mr Amidu and the public have reposed in it.

Imprudent

However, a former NDC MP for North Dayi, George Loh thinks Mr Amidu’s decision to hold back on the judgement debt case is reckless.

Speaking on Newsfile, Mr Loh said “I was of the opinion that whatever he [Amidu] was doing was to aid the process and that he wanted to expedite the move to retrieve the money.

“And so for him to just curtail that and say that ‘a new government has come in and I want them to come in’ I find that imprudent,” he said.

He said Mr Amidu had the duty to ensure the process he started came to a successful end.