The Special Prosecutor nominee, Martin Amidu, will today, Tuesday, 13 February 2018, be vetted by Parliament’s Appointment Committee.
Mr Amidu was recommended for nomination by Attorney General Gloria Akuffo and President Akufo-Addo accepted his nomination and named him as the First ever Special Prosecutor.
Mr Amidu will carry out the extraordinary responsibility of independently fighting corruption.
He will have the full authority to initiate investigations into all suspected corruption-related offenses of all persons in public service if approved by parliament.
Meanwhile, opposition Member of Parliament for Bolga East, Dr Dominic Ayine has filed a suit at the Supreme Court against Mr Amidu’s nomination.
Added to the suit is Ms Akuffo.
The suit was filed by Dr Ayine through his lawyer Tony Lithur.
According to Dr Ayine, Mr Amidu does not constitutionally qualify in terms of his age since he is 66 years now, which far exceeds the constitutionally mandatory retirement age of 60.
According to Dr Ayine, even though a person occupying a public office could have his tenure extended until he is 65 years old, Mr Amidu is currently 66 years, and, so, cannot occupy that position.
Dr Ayine is seeking the following reliefs:
a) A declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4), and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retirement age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1)(d) is sixty (60) years, anyhow not beyond sixty-five (65) years;
b) A declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4) of the 1992 Constitution, no person above the age of 65 years is eligible for employment in any public office created under Article 190(1)(d);
c) A declaration that by reason of his age (66 years), Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor under section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959);
d) A declaration that by reason of his age, (66 years), Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu 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)
e) A declaration that by reason of his age, (66 years), Mr. Martin Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be appointed by His Excellency the President of the Republic as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959)
f) A declaration that any purported nomination by the Attorney General or approval by Parliament or appointment by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Martin Amidu as the Special Prosecutor under Sections 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959), is unconstitutional, and therefore, null and void;
g) In the event Martin Amidu has already been vetted and approved by Parliament and /or appointed by His Excellency the President of the Republic as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2018 (Act 959) prior to the final determination of this suit, an order annulling such nomination, approval and appointment.
Akufo-Addo Launches 10yr Cashew Devt Plan
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 20th February, 2018, launched the 10-year Cahsew Development Plan, in Wenchi, in the Brong Ahafo Region, a plan aimed at diversifying Ghanaian agriculture.
Recounting a commitment he made on 19th March, 2016, at Suma Ahenkro, in the Jaman North constituency, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the over-reliance of Ghanaian agriculture on the production and export of cocoa, in contrast with the situation in neigbouring Cote d’Ivoire.
He noted that Cote d’Ivoire has succeeded in diversifying its agriculture, which included the production and export of other cash crops, and, as a result, earned that country some $12 billion from the export of agricultural produce in 2015.
“To that end, I reiterated my commitment to assist in diversifying Ghanaian agriculture, and transforming, amongst others, cashew into a major cash crop and foreign exchange earner for Ghana. This morning’s event, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of the realisation of this vision,” the President said.
Highlighting the success of the first year of the Programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, which led to an increase in the production of staples, as well as the creation of thousands of jobs in the rural economy, President Akufo-Addo noted that this development has encouraged government to increase the scope of the programme.
“The Programme is expanding its focus not only to the production of staples, but also to the development and production of some selected crops such as cashew, oil palm, rubber, shea, cotton and coffee, for good reason,” he said.
The President noted that two out of the top five cashew producing and exporting countries can be found in West Africa, i.e. Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, countries that have the same geography and topography as that of Ghana.
Therefore, as part of the Plan to boost the production of cashew, the Rural Development Department of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, together with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, are spearheading the initial production of seedlings for the cultivation of cashew in the country.
“Under the Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD) project, all 216 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives have been given oversight responsibility for the production of not only cashew seedlings, but also for seedlings of oil palm, shea, cotton, rubber and coffee, for distribution to farmers from next year,” the President said.
He continued, “The seedlings, once distributed, and planted by farmers, will ensure that more rural jobs will be created, in addition to an increase in yield. The potential for further job creation down the value chain through agro-processing is enormous.”
Again, towards the improvement of the country’s current yield, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority commissioned a cashew mass spraying exercise, in Wenchi, involving the provision of GH¢1.6 million for the spraying of some 30,000 hectares of cashew plantation. This is expected to increase cashew production for this crop year by some 30%.
These initiatives, the President added, form an integral part of the Cashew Development Plan, with the plan seeking to improve research methods, introduce appropriate production and processing technologies, as well as develop marketing strategies, amongst others, along the value chain.
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority also to incorporate, in this Plan, policies and interventions that will create additional businesses and job opportunities in the areas of storage, transport, and packaging of cashew, which will ensure that our cashew farmers earn higher incomes.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his government to follow through fully on the implementation of this Plan, in addition to other programmes, to propel the growth of the cashew industry.
“I urge the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, our Members of Parliament, farmers, and the private sector to do everything possible to support the Cashew Development Programme. This, together with the other programmes for other selected export crops, would drive industrialization in rural Ghana, diversify agricultural exports, and provide the needed jobs for the teeming masses of unemployed youth of this country,” President Akufo-Addo added.
SC Will Uphold Martin Amidu’s Appointment – AG
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Gloria Akufo has said the Supreme Court (SC) will uphold President Akufo-Addo’s appointment of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor.
The Plenary of Parliament Tuesday February 20 accepted the nomination of Martin Amidu after the Appointments Committee approved him by consensus after the Tamale North MP Alhassan Suhyini voted for the nomination after dissenting initially.
There are fears that the suit by Former deputy Attorney General Dr. Dominic Ayine challenging the eligibility of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor due to his age could scuttle his appointment.
Speaking to journalists however after Parliament approved the nomination of Mr. Amidu, paving way for the President to swear him in, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice said: “I am confident that Martin Amidu’s appointment will be confirmed by the Supreme Court.”
When reminded by one of the journalists that Dr. Ayine’s Supreme Court suit creates a certain cloud of uncertainty around the appointment, the Attorney General snorted: “There is no cloud as far as I am concerned.”
“Somebody thinks that age is a bar to it [appointment]. I think not,” she added.
Dr. Ayine heckled
Dr. Ayine who has sued the state and Amidu over his age suitability for the Special Prosecutor job was hooted at by some MPs as he stood on his feet to address the chamber.
“Mr. Speaker I am inviting your good self to make a determination humbly on this matter, in respect of this matter which is before the Supreme Court on the qualification or eligibility of the nominee,” Ayine noted, citing his basis from order 93 of the standing orders of Parliament.
However reacting to the intervention, the Majority leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, argued that precedence before the house suggested the nominee could be approved by the House despite the pending case at the court.
Mr. Amidu will now have to be sworn by President Akufo-Addo to become the Special Prosecutor.
The Special Prosecutor
The Special Prosecutor is a specialized agency to investigate specific cases of corruption involving public officers, politically-exposed persons as well as individuals in the private sector implicated in corrupt practices and to prosecute the offences on the authority of the Attorney-General.
The Office is also expected to help reduce the workload on existing investigative agencies and, thereby, enhance their effectiveness.
The establishment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor has become necessary in view of the institutional bottlenecks that impede the fight against corruption.
Nyanshegu Gets CHPS Compound
The first lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has commissioned a CHPS Compound built by her foundation – the Infanta Malaria Prevention Foundation – for the Nyanshegu Community in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.
This forms part of her efforts to reduce malaria, especially in vulnerable populations.
The reduction of malaria, Mrs Akufo-Addo noted, could be achieved through improving access to preventive care and effective services across the country.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo said at the commissioning ceremony that she would always support any effort “to provide door-step health services to ensure a productive population.”
She said she was delighted the CHPS compound would also bring HIV information and services, particularly on prevention of mother-to-child transmission, “to our brothers and sisters in this community.
“Our hope is that in a few years, there will be zero transmission of HIV from mother to child.”
She therefore, expressed her gratitude to the team at Infanta Malaria as well as other institutions and individuals who contributed to the construction of the Nyanshegu facility.
She applauded the Ghana AIDS Commission, the Ghana Health Service, peer educators, models of hope, heart-to-heart ambassadors, the Ernest Peyer Foundation of Switzerland, HFC Bank, Inesfly, Polytank, Ashfoam, Super Care and Dayden Pharmacy for supporting her Foundation to construct and resource the facility.
Mrs Akufo-Addo commended Dr Yeh and Mr Alhassan Suhuyini, Member of Parliament for Tamale North, for supporting the project.
She entreated all to know their HIV status, receive counselling and change behaviours that put people at risk of a condition that could be avoided.
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