The nominee for Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor position, Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu, was on Tuesday grilled for over eights (8) hours, by the Parliament’s Appointment committee under the chairmanship of the first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei-Owusu.
Though by 9:50 am, friends and well-wishers of the nominee had seated, with himself appearing at 10:07am, it was not until 11:07 am when the entire committee sat.
Immediately after prayers and his swearing of Oath, the game started, with questions flowing to the nominee from his C.V with the minority leading the grilling session.
However, Mr. Amidu did not only answer the questions with cheeky ease, but also took members of the Committee for legal tutorials, with members nodding while “the citizen vigilante” as he is popularly called continued spilling the beans.
This situation observers believe is what enabled the sitting to travel that far.
Subsequently, after drilling him up to 3:00 pm, the committee had to go for break for an hour to reconvene at 4:00pm, from which time till 7:11pm when the sitting came to an end.
Right from the word ‘go’ Mr. Amidu exhibiting bravery and irresistibly, indicated that he was not only prepared for the novelty position, but was the best man for that position.
Stating that corruption has no party colours, he pointed out that if he was given the nod, he would not go to chase victims, but prosecutable people, irrespective of where they come from.
According to him, he was not there to have people imprisoned so as to fill the Nsawam prisons, to put extra feeding burden on government but to procure more money for government purse.
What was more if such imprisoned people were old, they would have to be catered for at the hospital at extra cost by government. A venture he described as unnecessary.
Instead, if he could recover misappropriated money from such people, it would be better for the country. He sounded a warning that people who think that they have ‘chopped’ government money and can run away easily should rethink. This provoked laughter among both members and audience.
Meanwhile the three conference rooms had been filled to capacity with friends, relative’s associates and well-wishers. Among them were, Hon Dominic Azuma, former Deputy Minister of local Government and Rural Development, Hon David Apasara, Hon, Brempong-Yeboah, Hon. Timothy Atimprey, Hon Aboagye Gyamera, all former ministers. Others included the minister for the Interior and many serving ministers. In fact the list is endless.
Mr. Amidu, who stated that he was, and had been political and anti-corruption activist, indicated that he would not change his mind in chasing criminals especially people who spend government money.
According to him, he had lived with decent people for the past 66 years, but hardly can he live with criminals – attracting further laughter and uproar in the auditorium. He hinted that his appointment, if given the nod would compel him to stop the leakages and slippages in the system.
Therefore anything that he did to fetch government revenue would be uttermost in his pursuit. The nominee indicated that when the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo spoke to him to become the special Prosecutor, he accepted it because he realized that Nana had a mission to fight corruption, a bane of the country’s woes.
What is more by Nana Akufo-Addo pronouncements, he could detect that he was out there to fight the canker, a bane that had compelled some staging coups here and there, but going back to square one. The murdering of generals and many more notwithstanding.
Asked if by accepting this position from Nana Akufo-Addo, who is an NPP person he had not crossed carpet from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which he is a founding member, he said he was still a foundation member of the NDC, but will remain neutral with this appointment.
He said that ever since he was nominated as the special prosecutor, his hands had remained tied, hence his silence –he of all people – drawing laughter.
CLASHES AND CONTROVERSIES
The vetting could not go on without controversies and clashes, the interesting aspects notwithstanding. For instance there were severe clashes between him and Hon Sam Okudeto Ablakwa along the line. And in one of such clashes the chairman had to stump out his authority.
This was over on alleged damning publication about him that was reportedly written by Mr. Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is also a member of the committee, to which Mr. Amidu was reported have severely responded to. Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa had declared at the vetting that he was not the author of that publication and subsequently demanded an apology from Mr. Amidu.
The irrepressible Amidu, looking stern, maintained that he was not going to apologise to Hon. Okudzeto just because he (Amidu) wanted yes vote from him in order to enable him get the nod.
Hon. Okudzeto maintained that Mr. Amidu was not being fair to him by this. Mr. Amidu, getting furious questioned that if he Okudzeto had put such a publication out there, what prevented him from doing same.
This resulted in exchanges between the two until the chairman stumped out his authority once more.
There was another instance when Hon. Okudzeto read to Mr. Amidu an excerpt from Dr. Obed Asamoah’s book on the subject matter of his (Amidu’s) choice as Veep for the NDC, which indicated that Dr. Asamoah described that choice as not going to help the party.
Once more getting furious and stern, he charged Okudzeto not to go there because Dr. Asamoah was not his master, and that he even hadn’t heard of that book before. That Dr. Asamoah was appointed in the same vein as he was, and that he even was the first to be at the Attorney General Department, and he did most of the cases there.
There was grand controversy and misunderstanding among members when the issue of Mr. Amidu’s children cropped up on his CV. On the CV. Mr. Amidu had indicated; adults 35, 41 and 43 respectively. When asked to explain why this, he stated that since his children had become mature enough and left his home and care, he had no control over them.
This brought sharp response from members – Hon Eric Opoku, Hon Atta Akyea and many more, but the chairman once more had to stump out his authority.
Source: S.O. ANKAMAH