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Why Martin Amidu rejected Supreme Court job in 1999



Pioneer Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu disclosed that his refusal in 1999 not to accept an offer to become a Justice of the Supreme Court was out of ‘personal reasons.’

The former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, is on record to have said in February 2018 during his vetting to the Office of Special Prosecutor that he was persuaded by a number of people including Supreme Court judge, Justice William Atuguba, to accept the offer but he proved unyielding, saying “…but I will not change my mind”.

At the time, he made the disclosure to emphasize the point that becoming an SP was not for the benefits but to enable him continue service to Ghana in an anti-corruption role.

He revealed the ‘personal reasons’ angle in his latest epistle addressing the Anas Aremeyaw Anas versus Kennedy Agyapong defamation case.

Amidu in laying a background for why he had chosen to comment said he had read the judgement of Justice Eric Baah and had applied all his legal experience and knowledge which could have included serving as an apex court judge.

“I have painstakingly read and re-read the 64-page judgment of the trial High Court in ANAS v AGYEPONG using all the knowledge, experience, and arsenals in the legal armory I have acquired over the past upwards of four and half decades (45 years) when I held myself out as a private legal practitioner, a public officer serving in various capacities, including Deputy Attorney General, Minister of the Interior, and Attorney General, amongst others.

“I declined for personal reasons my proposed elevation as a justice to the Supreme Court in 1999. I am now retired and hold no licence to practice law,” he wrote.

The 1999 date means that had he accepted the offer, he would likely have been appointed by then-president Jerry John Rawlings, who had a year to leave office.

Amidu, a member of the then-ruling National Democratic Congress will go on to become Attorney General when Rawlings’ vice president John Atta Mills won the 2008 elections.

February 2018: I rejected JSC offer – Amidu

Mr. Amidu made the revelation when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament Tuesday to be vetted as the president’s nominee for the position of the Special Prosecutor (SP).

He said he accepted the nomination to become the SP not because of the status that comes with the position but due to the ideals attached to it which will enable him fight corruption in the country, something he said has been the basis for instability in the country for time past.

“This is to demonstrate that my acceptance of position of Special Prosecutor is not because of the status, but because of the high ideals attached to making sure the ordinary people of this country can have the benefit of the resources of this country by stopping the leakages and seepages that have gone on since the coming to force of the 1992 constitution,” he explained.

He added: “It is important that this country is stabilized; it is important that no one makes excuses to make a coup. The only way to do that is to protect the national purse and give people who want to use that as an excuse not to have the grounds,” he said in his introduction to the Committee.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on January 11, 2018, announced Mr. Amidu as his nominee for the office of the special prosecutor. 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”.

The former Attorney General and Minister of Justice who was the vice presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress in the 2000 general elections, has been at the forefront of exposing and fighting corruption in the country.

His zeal for anti-corruption earned him the title of Citizen Vigilante.




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