“The Special Prosecutor accepted to be appointed to the Office of the Special Prosecutor on the understanding that the essential logistics for the running of an efficient and effective anti-corruption agency had already been planned and acquired for the use of the office.”
Those are the words of Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu who describes his six months in charge of the Office as frustrating and complains bitterly about the indolence shown to the plight of the anti-corruption institution by key officials of the government.
This was contained in a letter he wrote to the Chief of Staff on September 10, 2018 in a desperate bid to seek immediate attention to the plight of his office.
The letter has been leaked to the media after Mr. Amidu’s recent lamentations at a public event.
Mr. Amidu in the letter complained about the very uncomfortable circumstances within which his office is forced to operate including an instance when the Deputy Special Prosecutor was denied fuel by the office of Chief Staff and the use of official vehicles for the two top officers for all office errands.
“As at the time of writing this letter there are thirteen officers including the Special Prosecutor, the Deputy Special Prosecutor and four persons from the Jubilee House forming the staff of this office. The Official vehicles assigned to the Special Prosecutor and the Deputy Special Prosecutor are the only vehicles available for the discharge of all duties of the office including the dispatch of letters. The office accommodation is woefully inadequate with the Deputy Special Prosecutor, Secretary, and Chief Accountants not having room for their respective Secretariats. Indeed, every officer currently uses the Private Secretary to the Special Prosecutor for the discharge of their official duties. The office is yet to figure out how to accommodate and service the three detectives when they report for duty.”
“In the interim, after providing the Deputy Special Prosecutor with a Nissan Saloon car with a promise to make available to her a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado for her official assignments she was refused fuel for her saloon car by your office on the grounds that the Ministry of Finance has provided a budget for the office. A promise to make available one vehicle to handle the dispatch of letters and other assignments has also gone unfulfilled for months apparently on the excuse that the office now has a budget,” he wrote.
Mr. Amidu in the letter also expressed reservations about the chances of a move started in September to tackle the logistical challenges using the Ministry of Justice’s tendering process to acquire “capital assets such as vehicles and other necessary logistical assets to facilitate the smooth operations of the office.”
“In interim, every Ghanaian knows that this office is being blamed for not being seen to be executing its mandate under the law. There is a public assumption that the Government had in the process of enacting the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959) made elaborate provisions for office accommodation and other capital logistics for the efficient running of the Office before appointing a Special Prosecutor and subsequently his deputy. Regrettably the facts on the ground do not support his assumption and the Special Prosecutor is taking blame for non-performance,” he stated.
The Special Prosecutor further disclosed that the inconvenient situation of his office has forced him to resort to innovative means to undertake his duties including joint investigations with the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO).
Martin Amidu however fears this collaboration would soon run into a ditch because his office has no Prosecutions Division to take up the cases that would result from these investigations.
“Indeed no single division of the office has yet been set up in accordance with the law because no formal recruitment of staff can be undertaken by the office due to the absence of the pursuant legislative Instruments for both Operations and Administration as required by Section 78 of Act 959 more than six months after the assumption of office of the Special Prosecutor,” he indicated.
It would be recalled that the Special Prosecutor in his public lamentation threatened to exit the office prematurely by middle of 2019 if the challenges of his office are not addressed.
Martin Amidu in the letter to the Chief of Staff does not however believe the Office of Special Prosecutor’s office would see any massive logistical revamp within the next three months saying “in the interim the Special Prosecutor continues to take continues to take the blame from the public for inaction and non-performance.”
“The alleged provision of a budget line for the Office now appears to have provided an excuse for the Office being left to its fate. But it is untenable that the Special Prosecutor would be expected to run an efficient and effective anti-corruption office without any adequate office accommodation and capital logistics whatsoever pending the completion of the transitional process of the Office,” he stated.