In a rather curiously measured tone, the Jubilee House has finally issued a response to the explosive resignation letter of the Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K Amidu, accusing him of tricking President Akufo Addo with a few pages of his 64-paged Agyapa Royalties corruption assessment report.
Martin Amidu in his November 16, 2020 resignation letter has inferred that even this few pages of the report were damning enough for President Akufo Addo to frantically seek to water it down by scheduling several meetings with him where each meeting resulted in haggling bouts to “shelve” the report, including a curious meeting on Sunday, November 1, 2020, where he said he was “convinced beyond reasonable doubt” that he had to resign due to the high-profile interference.
Amidu said he was convinced, President Akufo Addo regarded him as his personal “poodle”.
However, a statement signed for President Akufo Addo by his Executive Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo on Tuesday night, November 17, 2020, revealed the extent of trickery Amidu employed on the President: By extracting some 13 pages from the Agyapa report and presenting it to the President to be “used to improve current and future legislative and executive actions to make corruption and corruption-related offenses very high-risk enterprises in Ghana.”
While, the damning content of the 13-pager had reportedly sent the President into a frenzy and negotiating with Amidu on November 1, 2020, Martin Amidu proceeded on November 2, 2020, to release the full 64-page document to the public, in what Asante Bediatuo said: “the President had hitherto no knowledge of.”
“It is baffling that you would present a summary report of work, not commissioned by the President or a member of the Executive, to him and expect him not to act on the report, particularly in light of the clear expression by your good self that the report was supposed to guide future executive actions. It should be noted that article 58(1) of the Constitution vests executive authority in the President. The President was thus under a constitutional injunction to take further action and make further enquiries of you in relation to the work you had purportedly carried out and which concerned the exercise of executive discretion. The President’s meeting with you on 21 October 2020 was and should have been understood by you in this spirit,” Asante Bediatuo wrote.
In Amidu’s corruption assessment report on the scandalous Agyapa deal, he seriously indicted Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta who he unequivocally accused of conflict of interest and using “decoy” companies to front for his private company, Databank Financial Services which miraculously became the main transaction advisor to a public transaction being spearheaded Ken Ofori-Atta, a public appointee.
According to the Presidency, all it sought to do in all the meeting President Akufo Addo had with Martin Amidu over the report was for him to take into consideration responses from the Finance Minister whom he had accused of corruption.
Based on this, the Presidency accused Martin Amidu of lying about President Akufo Addo personally attempting to interfere in the Agyapa report. “…It must be made clear that throughout your tenure as Special Prosecutor, neither the President nor any member of his government has interfered or sought to interfere with your work. Indeed, it is noteworthy that in your letter to the President dated 16 October 2020,” President Akufo Addo said in a statement signed by his Executive Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo on Tuesday night, November 17, 2020.
Interestingly, the Presidency conveniently skirted around the inherent interference and subtle acts of frustration that Martin Amidu had consistently complained about since his swearing-in in February 2018.
One of the most dramatic complaints of interference was on July 22, 2019, when Martin Amidu categorically named Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) of deliberately foiling his investigations into illegal mining operations allegedly being facilitated by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) which operated from the Jubilee House.
Professor Frimpong Boateng and his executive secretary Charles Cromwell Bissue at the IMCIM had been exposed for directly operating illegal mines and were exposed in an undercover investigation done by investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas dubbed “Galamsey Fraud”.
In the undercover report, Charles Bissue was exposed using his Jubilee House connections to facilitate illegal mining. Later on, amateur secret video recordings of Professor Frimpong Boateng exposed him as the kingpin of the illegal mining mafia.
According to Martin Amidu, he had launched an investigation to crack down on the illegal mining mafia by first zeroing on Charles Bissue. But Professor Frimpong Boateng had ordered the police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to exonerate Bissue.
Later on, President Akufo Addo will remove Bissue from the IMCIM but kept him under his wings as a Presidential staffer.
There are countless other complaints of deliberate attempts frustration of the Special Prosecutors work that the Jubilee House response of November 17, 2020, conveniently refused to mention, despite Amidu referencing them in his resignation letter and the fact that there are records since 2018 till date of Amidu and other stakeholders warning against frustrating the Special Prosecutor’s function.
For instance, After he was sworn in in February 2018, the executive and legislature refused for about one year to push through the Legislative instrument that will enable the Special Prosecutor to truly start working.
In September 2018, Martin Amidu complained bitterly about how appointees of the Akufo Addo administration and some civil servants were frustrating his work because there was no legislative Instrument backing his function at the time.
“You ask for information you can’t get it; you ask for docket; the docket cannot be produced. You ask a minister for a record; the record cannot be produced. How do you fight corruption when those appointed by the president who has a vision are not coordinating with the office of the special prosecutor to achieve his mandate? That is the challenge we have to face,” Amidu said then.
On September 10, 2018, the President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Benson Nutsukpui, confirmed that Martin Amidu had been starved of resources, saying the fight against corruption will be fruitless if necessary steps are not taken to provide the needed resources for the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
On November 9, 2018, a frustrated Amidu wrote a lengthy article comparing his predicament to the “Whitaker Scenario” in the US when in 2018 Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S.attorney from Iowa once opined about a scenario in which President Donald Trump could fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appoint an acting attorney general who could stifle the funding of Mueller’s probe into election fraud of the Trump Campaign.
In that scenario, Mueller’s budget could be reduced ‘so low that his investigation grinds to a halt’. Whitaker said during an interview in CNN in July 2017. Martin Amidu compared his situation to the Whittaker scenario.
On 22 July 2019, when Martin Amidu condemned the Jubilee House and Frimpong Boateng’s interference, The Communications Director of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) who has been appointed by President Akufo Addo onto the board of the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO), descended on Amidu to shut up and work.
Amidu was not amused about the order from Buaben Asamoah, firing back, saying: “I wish Hon. Yaw Buaben Asamoa to understand that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is governed by statute and I am mandated to lead it in the achievement of that mandate. I do not need any direct or indirect instructions from any officeholder of any political party like him.
Only recently, Mark Assibey Yeboah, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament that dubiously passed the Agyapa Royalties deal, described as sloppy, the corruption assessment report by Amidu on the Agyapa deal.
Martin Amidu had been raising alarms about political interference in his work since 2018. However, the Jubilee House in their response failed to seize the opportunity to address all the incidence of interference raised by Amidu but preferred to limit their counter-argument to just the Agyapa saga.