The Minority Chief Whip and member of Parliament's Appointment Committee has predicted that Martin Amidu’s February 13, vetting is likely to be the longest one ever in the country's history.
Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka advised the country’s foremost Special Prosecutor nominee to be exact and succinct in his responses to questions from committee members.
Mr Muntaka told Emefa Apawu on Newsnight Monday that in his previous interaction with the former Attorney General, Mr Amidu has been one person who likes to explain things in details.
“I am afraid if he comes to the Committee with the same attitude, [sometimes it is good as he expatiates on things], but if he comes to us that way, we are likely to have the longest vetting ever of any individual in this country,” he said.
He indicated that the Committee will give its members as much time to ask their questions as well as follow-ups noting he is unable to tell if the vetting will go beyond a day.
According to him, Parliament’s Appointment Committee is yet to meet the chairman this week to know if there has been any petition against the former Attorney General.
“Usually if there are petitions two or three days to the vetting it is made known by the chair. We all go through it to determine if it is worth bringing up during the vetting,” he said.
He said if it requires a probe, they employ the services of state security agencies to assist before the day.
The Asawase MP reassured that the vetting which he predicted will be a “very interesting one” will not take partisan colour.
Mr Muntaka said the Committee’s last meeting reaffirmed his belief that the vetting will take a national character devoid of partisanship.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has issued a statement ahead of the vetting of Mr Amidu.
"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 has previously published a document challenging the constitutionality of the newly established Office of Special Prosecutor, the very office he has accepted to occupy," the party said Monday.
"We believe that it is in the supreme national interest that the appointment of the person to head such an important institution be carefully thought through, that above all, such an individual should enjoy the respect and confidence of all sides of the polity, and must have the impartiality and objectivity of a judge and the integrity of a clergyman," it added.
According to the NDC, the office of the Special Prosecutor must not be seen or treated as a political outpost for witch-hunting or the performance of hatchet jobs for an incumbent administration.
This, they believe would most definitely lead to needless socio-political tensions and national instability.
Read their statement below
STATEMENT BY THE NDC ON THE SCHEDULED VETTING OF MR. MARTIN AMIDU TO THE OFFICE OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR
The Office of Special Prosecutor has recently been set up, and Mr Martin Amidu a former Attorney General and one-time NDC running mate for Professor Atta Mills nominated as Special Prosecutor.
As a party with rich knowledge of the workings of the machinery of state, we respect all national institutions including especially those that are designed to assure good governance, probity, accountability and judicious use of the country’s resources.
We note that the Office of the Special Prosecutor adds to already existing institutions performing similar functions such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Criminal and Investigations Department of the Police Service (CID), Parliament’s Oversight Committees and indeed the Office of Public Prosecutions which falls under the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Office.
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 to be handed the full authority of state power to possibly pursue this agenda.
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 has previously published a document challenging the constitutionality of the newly established Office of Special Prosecutor, the very office he has accepted to occupy.
We believe that it is in the supreme national interest that the appointment of the person to head such an important institution be carefully thought through, that above all such an individual should enjoy the respect and confidence of all sides of the polity, and must have the impartiality and objectivity of a judge and the integrity of a clergyman. The office must not be seen or treated as a political outpost for witch-hunting or the performance of hatchet jobs for an incumbent administration. That would most definitely lead to needless socio-political tensions and national instability.
Article 296 (a) and (b) of the 1992 Constitution states that where discretionary power is vested in any person or authority (as in the case of a Special Prosecutor)
(a) That discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid
(b) The exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary. Capricious or biased whether by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law.
The NDC, therefore, expects that when the time comes for the vetting of the nominee for the position of Special Prosecutor, Parliament will discharge its obligation mindful of the above constitutional provisions. In the interest of good governance, accountability, probity and fair play we urge that the national debate and the forthcoming vetting of the nominee be guided by these principles and not by the rather shrill partisanship that we have begun to witness among the rather predictable sections of the political spectrum.
Finally, we wish to state that the NDC remains committed to the fight against corruption both in respect of the past and even more especially the present.
Hon. Johnson Asiedu Nketiah
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