Parliament to approve Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor today

Parliament is expected to approve the nomination of ‘Citizen Vigilante’, Martin Amidu, as Special Prosecutor on Tuesday.

A report of the Appointment Committee of Parliament which has reportedly approved Mr Amidu’s nomination, but the report will have be debated by legislators on the floor of the House.

Only one MP on the 26-member committee voted against Amidu’s nomination.

Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini has said although Mr Amidu is a man of good intentions and very competent, he is not suitable for the office.

The Tamale North legislator said the former Attorney General took certain wrong decisions and actions before being appointed and that may affect his work as Special Prosecutor.

However, Mr Amidu has enjoyed support from both the Majority and Minority sides of the House despite concerns he may not be qualified for the position due to his age.

Deputy Ranking member on Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee Dr Domnic Ayine has filed a suit in court claiming Martin Amidu is ineligible for the position because he is more than 65 years.

Dr Ayine claims Martin Amidu, 66, is beyond the statutory age of employment into public service and is seeking an order of the court to have his nomination annulled.

In the event Parliament approves his nomination today, Dr Ayine wants the court to annul the approval.

Martin Amidu popularly called Citizen Vigilante was appointed by the president, Nana Akufo-Addo as the Special Prosecutor nominee in fulfilment of his campaign promise.

In a bid to do away with complaints of witch-hunting the president promised to establish a Special Prosecutor office, independent of the Attorney General to prosecute corruption offences in public office.

Amidu’s journey

On January 11, the president named Amidu as the man to steer the affairs of the new office, much to the excitement of many Ghanaians and civil society organisations.

A former Attorney General under the late John Mills administration and a member of the NDC, Martin Amidu is credited for his tenacity in the judgement debt scandal he fought as a private citizen and won against Alfred Woyome, Waterville and Isofoton.

The president believes Amidu’s commitment to rule of law, his passion to fight crime, corruption in public service makes him the best candidate for the office even though the man is 66-years-old.

But members of the minority NDC, as well as a section of the NPP, are not happy with the appointment.

Dr Ayine brought the case against him at the Supreme Court seeking to have his nomination annulled, with just one day to the Parliamentary vetting.

In a suit filed Monday, a copy of which has been intercepted by, Dominic Ayine is seeking seven reliefs from the court including “a declaration that by reason of age (66) Mr Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be approved by Parliament as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

Article 199 of the constitutions states: “Retiring age and pension;
(1)  A public officer shall, except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, retire from the public service on attaining the age of sixty years…
(4)  Notwithstanding clause (1) of this article, a public officer who has retired from the public service after attaining the age of sixty years may, where the exigencies of the service require, be engaged for a limited period of not more than two years at a time but not exceeding five years in all and upon such other terms and conditions as the appointing authority shall determine.” [Inserted by section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 527).”

Ayine is also seeking a declaration that any purported nomination by the Attorney General or approval by Parliament must be declared “unconstitutional, null and void.”

He argued further that by nominating Martin Amidu, and offering him for vetting and approval by Parliament, both the President and the Attorney General “have violated Article 199(1) of the Constitution. If Parliament proceeds to approve his appointment, it would also be acting unconstitutionally.”