Ghana shaken by resignation of anti-corruption prosecutor

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In the aftermath of allegations of interference made against President Nana Akufo-Addo and his administration by the anti-corruption prosecutor who resigned with a bang, the country is wondering. The presidency of Ghana immediately denied Tuesday evening having interfered in the work of the former prosecutor, Martin Amidu who had accused Monday the head of state of having tried to make him bury an explosive report. “You mistakenly thought that I could perform my function as special prosecutor like your poodle,” he wrote in his letter.

This resignation comes three weeks before the presidential election, scheduled for December 7. Current President Nana Akufo-Addo, a candidate for re-election, for The New Patriotic Party (NPP) will face former head of state John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a ballot that promises to be close.

So what exactly happened and what is the Head of State accused of, who has made the fight against corruption his hobbyhorse?

President Nana Akufo-Addo’s response

“Throughout your tenure as special prosecutor, neither the president nor any member of his government has interfered or sought to interfere with your work,” the presidency replied to the former prosecutor on Tuesday evening. in a nine-page letter.

The day before, the anti-corruption prosecutor in Ghana, Martin Amidu had resigned, affirming “that he was no longer able to exercise completely independently”. In his resignation letter, the one who had been appointed by the current head of state in 2018 accused him in particular of having tried to make him bury an explosive report concerning an offshore company created by the government to manage the royalties mining companies, the leading gold producer in Africa.

This company was to enter the London Stock Exchange in September and allow to raise 500 million dollars (421 million euros). But its introduction to the markets had been suspended after civil society organizations denounced risks of corruption.

“At no time did the president ask you to put the report aside,” retorts the secretary of the presidency Nana Bediatuo Asante in this letter.

On the contrary, “the president accepted the observations you made” in this report and “followed them up by issuing directives to officials of the Ministry of Finance and the attorney general’s office,” he added.

The report on the offshore company was finally published two weeks ago and the government announced that it was postponing the listing of this company until the day after the presidential election.

For the authorities, this sale project should financially help Ghana to cope with the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fight against corruption, Ghana’s other battle

The appointment of Martin Amidu by President Akufo-Addo in February 2018 raised hope in Ghana, a country considered a model of democracy in West Africa, but where corruption remains a persistent problem. This politician is well known to Ghanaians. He was Attorney General and Minister of Justice from 2011 to 2012. He was the man who introduced the word “gargantuan” into the lexicon of Ghanaian politics, we learn from the national press, when he discovered the Woyome scandal named after the worst financial scandal in Ghanaian budget history at the time. Long before, he had also served as Deputy Attorney General during the last four years of the military government of the Provisional National Defense Council then under the government of former President Jerry Rawlings who died last week.

In 2019, Ghana was ranked 80e out of 180 in the index on the perception of corruption established by the NGO Transparency International. According to a survey by this NGO, a third of public service users claimed to have paid bribes that year. The 2017 Mo Ibrahim Index report even explains that the country’s fall in the various rankings “is apparently linked to the discovery of gas deposits off the coast. But even before gas was exploited, the government had already allocated its future revenues. Sometimes the discovery of raw materials can create a problem because people tend to spend money before they even have it. ”

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