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Parliament approves Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor

Mr. Amidu was vetted on February 13, 2018 for the Special Prosecutor post

Parliament has unanimously approved former Attorney General Martin Alamisi Amidu as special prosecutor after attempts by a member of parliament to have the approval proceedings suspended failed.

Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East, Dr. Domining Ayine, had on Tuesday February 20 asked the Speaker to be guided by a suit he filed at the Supreme Court challenging Mr. Amidu’s eligibility.

But his appeal was rejected by the speaker, paving the way for the House to debate the report of the Appointments Committee that recommended Mr. Amidu’s approval in its report submitted to the House today for consideration.

Before the debate on the report could commence, Dr. Ayine argued Mr. Amidu should not be approved considering an action he has instituted at the Supreme Court to challenge president’s nominee on grounds that he’s above the retirement to hold public office.

He contended that any comment that may be made on the floor of the House may send a wrong signal to the Supreme Court, which is yet to be heard.

Dr. Ayine referred to the standing orders of Parliament which required that the Speaker makes a determination on whether the debate should proceed despite the objection raised and the fact that an aspect of the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

The first deputy speaker, Mr. Joe Osei Owusu, who was presiding over proceedings earlier, handed over the baton to the substantive speaker, Prof. Mike Ocquaye who ignored Dr. Ayine and asked that the chairman of the committee proceeds to present the committee’s report

But the speaker’s decision did not go down well with the minority.

He was, however, later given the opportunity to make his submission but when he attempted to cite a New Zealand case to make his point, the Speaker insisted that he cites Ghanaian examples

After some back and forth, the Speaker rejected Dr. Ayine’s request. This paved the way for the MPs from both sides of the House to debate the report of the Appointments Committee.

Mr. Amidu who was subjected to a rigorous seven-hour vetting on February 13 by the Appointment’s Committee of Parliament following his appointment by President Nana Addo Dankwa  Akufo-Addo on January 11, 2018.

His nomination came less than 10 days after the president assented to the Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill, together with four other bills.

In the President’s view, Mr. Amidu has “the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this new office”.

READ: Let go of your ego! You don’t & can’t know everything

On the eve of his vetting, Member of Parliament for Bolgantanga East, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, filed a suit at the Supreme Court to challenge the nomination of Mr. Amidu for the post on grounds that he is too old to assume that public office.

It is his contention that by reason of his age (66), the anti-graft campaigner is not qualified or eligible to be approved by Parliament as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).

“I pray therefore that [Mr Amidu’s] nomination and appointment be declared null and void and of no effect. If, notwithstanding the pendency of this suit, Parliament proceeds to approve his appointment, I pray also that such approval should be declared null and void and of no effect.”

Despite the suit, the Appointments Committee proceeded to vet the nominee who many have described as the best person for the Office of Special Prosecutor despite criticism of being temperamental and egoistic among other things.

But for the MP for Tamale Tamale North Alhassan Suhiyini who voted against the nominee, Mr. Amidu would have received unanimous approval from the members of the Appointments Committee of Parliament.

By Evelyn Tengmaa|TV3|3news.com|Ghana

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