Parliament Endorses Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor

Parliament has approved Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor.

The House unanimously endorsed Martin Amidu’s nomination despite request by Hon. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, Deputy Minority Ranking Member of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee for the House to put the approval on hold pending a suit at the Supreme Court.

The former Deputy Attorney-General has filed a writ at the Supreme Court challenging the nomination of Martin Amidu for the position of Special Prosecutor because of his age.

He is arguing in his writ that the Office of Special Prosecutor falls under the broad category of public officers who by the 1992 Constitution must retire at age 60 with possible extension to 65 years.

Hon. Ayine is seeking  declaration that “By true and proper interpretation of Article 190(1)(d),199(1,)199(4) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retirement age of all holders of public office created pursuant to Article(1)(d) is sixty years and not beyond (65).”

He invited the Speaker to rule on whether the House’s intention to approve the nomination of Martin Amidu would not be wrong in view of the case pending at the Supreme Court and pointed to Standing Order 93(1) as bases for his argument.

He urged the Speaker to make a determination with respect to whether the discussions of the report of the Committee would not be prejudicial to the matter pending before the court.

Dr. Ayine argued that assertions that would be made during the debate, whether adverse or commendatory, could send the wrong signal to the Supreme Court.

However, the Speaker noted that the circumstance and nature of the case before the Supreme Court and the reliefs being sought were not brought before the House earlier.

He argued that separation of powers require all three organs of government to be given their due regard in respect of their work.

According to him, the mere filing of a writ in any court should not stop Parliament from performing its duties either than that the legislature would be subjugated automatically to the court and stressed that there must be mutual respect between all organs of government.

The Hon. Mike Oquaye noted there is nothing to persuade him the matter before the Supreme Court is such that Parliament could not debate the nomination of the Special Prosecutor and ruled against Dr. Ayine’s objection.

The Committee’s report indicated that Martin Amidu’s high standard of competence, forthrightness in answering questions, independent mindedness, selflessness, solid principles and in-depth appreciation of the task ahead, backed by experience, knowledge of the law and his promise to be above political colourization qualifies him to serve as the Special Prosecutor.

The demeanor and composure of the nominee during the vetting, according to Committee, portrays him as being ready for the challenge and recommended the House to approve the appointment by consensus.

Mr. Amidu was vetted by Parliament’s Appointments Committee on the 13th February and is expected to deal with corruption cases and also halt the wanton dissipation of public funds by corrupt politicians.

By Osumanu Al-Hassan/uthmanhass@gmail.com

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