President Nana Akufo-Addo has described the accusations of political interference levelled against him by the resigned Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu as factually incorrect and untenable.
In a nine-page response to Mr Amidu’s garland of accusations, the President insisted that at no point was Mr Amidu’s hands tied not to play his role to tame corruption in public office in Ghana.
In a statement issued by the Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, the 40-point document it said ” at no point did the President ask you to shelve the report so he could “handle the matter”.
Adding that ” it is difficult to see in what way and in what context the President would seek to “handle the matter” when the matter was already public knowledge and had led to the Ministry of Finance suspending action on the Agyapa transaction in anticipation of your report”.
According to the statement, even before the President had the chance to react to the content of the resignation letter, Mr Amidu had “put it into the public domain before receipt by the President.”
“I am directed by the President to respond to correct the errors of the fact contained in your letter to provide a complete public record of the issues,” it said.
Mr Amidu had said the President Nana Akufo-Addo was under the illusion that he (Amidu) he would be a docile holder of the anti-graft office.
According to him, the President’s reactions when he submitted his report on the Agyapa Royalties deal’s corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment conveyed that impression.
“Several things have happened since then. But your reaction to my letter with reference number… dated 16th October 2020, which was delivered to you on 19th October 2020, conveying to you the conclusion and observation of the analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment of the Agyapa Royalties transaction convinces me beyond every reasonable doubt that you had laboured under the mistaken belief that I could not hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor as your poodle,” he said in a letter addressed to the President.
But the President noted that Mr Amidu failed to confirm the claim, except to say that the Chief of Staff had requested a meeting between he (Amidu) and the President for a discussion of the report.
According to the President, at the meeting with the Special Prosecutor on October 21, the Martin Amindu conceded that he had not given appointees of the President affected by the report a hearing or an opportunity to make comments on his observations and conclusions.
“In accordance with the constitutional standards of fairness and reasonableness the President requested of you to give the public officials in question an opportunity to comment on your findings and conclusions,” the statement said.
The President wondered how a request to comply with the rules of natural justice could be misconstrued to mean an alleged interference and which could lead to the resignation of the Special Prosecutor.
“In any event, it is pertinent to point out that without compulsion, you agreed to the President’s request to offer the public officers affected by your work an opportunity to comment”, the statement further clarified adding that “the assertion that you “reluctantly agreed” is neither borne out of the facts nor what actually transpired at the meeting.”
The statement further said that whiles the SP stated in his report that “the report was like a compliance audit or an Inspector-General’s report which needs to be taken seriously”, it was baffling that the SPP would deny the subjects of the an audit report a hearing.
The President insisted that throughout the tenure of the SP, neither he nor any of his appointees, had ever interfered in the work of Martin Amidu as the SP.
The statement quoted an August 3, 2020 letter the SP wrote to the Presidency as saying ” I have remained in this office this long out of personal respect for the President’s shared commitment with me to fight corruption”.
“It is therefore surprising that you would now make the untenable claim that your resignation is a s result of the President’s interference in your work”, the statement said.
The President also noted that the report Martin Amidu presented to his office was a 13-page summary of the actual 64-page report which he, the SP had shared with the general public and wondered how the SP expected the President not to have acted upon the contents of the report, having noted in his report that the report ” will be used to improve current and future legislative and executive actions to make corruption and corruption-related offences very high-risk enterprise in Ghana”.
It said “the President was thus under a constitutional injunction to take further action and make further enquiries of you concerning the work you had purportedly carried out and which concerned the exercise of executive discretion,”
The government had wanted to swap returns from 49% of the country’s mineral royalties by raising a billion from the Ghana and London stock markets through a special purpose vehicle known as Agyapa Mineral Royalties.
The deal courted controversy as the Minority walked out of Parliament on the day it was passed, while civil society organisations flagged transparency and value for money issues.
Mr Amidu wrote to Parliament requesting all the documents concerning the deal through which he did a litmus test of its compliance with anti-corruption laws and subsequently submitted the report.
Key findings included: Databank Is A Decoy’ – Nine Things Amidu Said About $1bn Agyapa Deal
Almost two weeks after submitting the report, Mr Amidu resigned, releasing what would become his last epistle in office with several accusation against the President, including claims of interference, which the President denied.
Below is the full statement;