Nominee for Special Prosecutor position has said although he criticized the bill which set up the office, most of it has been taken care of before it was passed into law.
Martin Alamisi Amidu told Parliament’s Appointment Committee Tuesday that, he initially had issues with the constitutional principle of setting up the office.
Taking a question from Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, regarding his concerns about what he said were wrongs with the Act 959, he had a discussion with the President Akufo-Addo about it.
He said when he was called to take up the position, he pointed to the President that he had written about the office stating his concerns.
Mr. Amidu in an article last year criticised the Special Prosecutor Bill, highlighting among other things, attempts to limit the Special Prosecutor to specific crimes.
According to him, whoever was nominated to the Office did not need parliamentary approval.
In his critic he wrote, “the question with the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 should not, therefore, be whether it is constitutional but whether it has been drafted in such a way as to bring it within the Constitution and to achieve the independence from executive interference which is the President’s prime objective firstly for making the promise to the electorate and secondly for proposing the Bill.
“The letter, structure, scheme and design of the 1992 Constitution makes the establishment of a permanent Office of the Special Prosecutor feasible and doable. This is the only way any patriot may help the President to bring to fruition his promise to enact such a law and to leave it to posterity to judge its efficacy in the war against corruption.
“It is in this spirit that I examined, analyzed, and critiqued the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 that was used at the Stakeholders’ Meeting of 27-28 July 2017 and withdrawn, and the current Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, 2017 that was laid before Parliament on 2nd August 2017.”
Explaining his position further during his vetting, he said “I told him [President Akufo-Addo] I had made proposals that I didn’t think that they [government] must equate the position with the judiciary. I didn’t know whether that was in the law, but it turns out it was in the law.
“…in spite of what I said once the Supreme Court hasn’t made any ruling on it and the law had been passed and he wanted me to be his nominee, it meant I had to subject myself to the approval of parliament.
Mr Amidu said he explained to the President he had no problem meeting parliament having initially criticised Act 959.
“When I read it, I agreed with the President that whatever wrong there is with the law, the fight against corruption was more important to protect the constitution and you don’t just throw away the dirty water along with the baby so I agreed having read the law,” he said.
The anti-corruption campaigner added that being offered the position was an opportunity to fight corruption, which he has done all his life so he considered the positives of passing the law.
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