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President accepts nomination of Kissi Agyabeng as new Special Prosecutor

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The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has accepted the nomination of Kissi Agyabeng as Ghana’s next Special Prosecutor. The President’s acceptance of the latter’s nomination was contained in a release, signed by the Director of Communications at the Office of the President, Eugene Arhin; dated 6th May, 2021.

In the said release, the President expressly conveyed his acceptance of the nominee as put forward by the Minister for Justice & Attorney General, Godfred Dame on the 16th of April, 2021, in accordance with section 13 (3) of Act 959.

The release from the Presidency indicating the President’s acceptance of Kiss Agyabeng as the next Special Prosecutor after Martin Amidu.

Having accepted Kissi Agyabeng’s nomination, the President has by a letter dated, 29th April, 2021, written officially to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin, to notify the Speaker of his acceptance of the nominee, and formally request for the onward vetting and approval of the nominee.

When approved, Kissi Agyabeng will become Ghana’s second Special Prosecutor, since the creation of the office in 2018.

Background

On the 11th of January 2018, the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo, named Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu as the country’s first Special Prosecutor; a development which was greeted with joy and excitement by many Ghanaians home and abroad. The mass glee that accompanied the nomination of Martin Amidu was anchored on his perception of incorruptibility and integrity; having earned the name ‘Citizen Vigilante’.

Even though he was a member of the National Democratic Congress, Martin Amidu was dispassionate in his assessment of issues and confronted the then NDC regime on alleged issues of bribery, corruption and other acts of financial malfeasance with the government. Even though Martin could not evidence any of his claims of wrongdoing and suspicions of misdeed within the late President Mills government, his spirited resolve and energy to fight corruption was admired by all, including members of the then opposition; the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

In a series of articles and write-ups, Martin Amidu criticised the Mills administration and aired his reservations on a number of issues which he felt were detrimental to the good of the country. This heightened his appeal amongst many Ghanaians, and that further cemented his alias as the ‘Citizen Vigilante’.

Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor.

But Amidu’s era as the country’s first Special Prosecutor was suddenly truncated ahead of the 2020 general election when the legal practitioner, tendered his resignation from office. News of his resignation was marked by a grand social uproar; without many eagerly seeking to understand the basis of his shocking decision.

To clear the air, Martin Amidu issued an epistle detailing his rationale for laying down his tools. In his release, Martin Amidu based his resignation on the lack of collaboration and support from government functionaries and the Presidency in executing his mandate. In this regard, Martin Amidu described the President as the ‘mother serpent of corruption’; accusing the President of unduly interfering in his quests to fight corruption; with particular emphasis on a corruption risk assessment he conducted regarding the Agyapa Royalties Transaction.

The Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo responded to Amidu’s allegations and claims, and that set a balanced tone for the analysis of his resignation. From that point, Madam Cynthia Lamptey was asked by the President to serve as the Interim Special Prosecutor, until the appointment of a substantive one.

The President’s acceptance of Kissi Agyabeng will therefore seek to fill the vacancy created in the Office of the Special Prosecutor. Ahead of his vetting and approval, some Ghanaians, including Martin Amidu himself have however raised concerns about his involvement with the drafting of the Agyapa deal, as well his ties with some notable individuals in government, including the President’s cousin, Gabby Otchere-Darko. According to the critics, these circumstances may compromise his independence and subsequently interfere with the efficient discharge of his responsibilities.

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