A former attorney-general named as anti-graft prosecutor in Ghana

Martin Amidu

ACCRA, Ghana—A former attorney-general has been named as anti-graft prosecutor to probe specific cases of corruption including those committed by politicians.

On Thursday, the president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo appointed Martin Amidu, the country’s chief law enforcement official to the post.

Political and economic commentators say the appointment of Martin Amidu, who once served as attorney-general under former president John Mills, is a yet another fulfillment of the 2016 campaign promise by Akufo-Addo ahead of elections in December that year.

The progressive and decisive Ghanaian leader in November last years urged his country’s parliament to pass a law establishing the office of an independent anti-graft prosecutor to combat corruption and recover looted resources belonging to the country.

According to Globe Afrique’s research, a court in Ghana is presently probing a 52-million-cedi payment on a government contract that state prosecutors alleged was unjustified.

In another development, the Ghanaian parliament last Monday initiated a hearing on reports that the trade ministry charged foreign investors between $25,000 and $100,000 to allow them to sit close to the president at a recent dinner.  However, the trade ministry and all others who have been accused have denied any wrongdoing so far.

Civil society groups in Ghana are pushing for changes amid widespread rumors that corruption is on the rise in the country, particularly in the public service.

In making the appointment, President Akufo-Addo said former attorney general Amidu, who has won praise for pursuing corruption cases in court, merited the position given to him.

Adding, “(He) has the requisite integrity, competence, courage, and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this new office,” the president said.

Although the new appointment would require the full approval of the Ghanaian parliament, the appointee has been a critic of former president John Manama’s government, which is now the main opposition party, accusing some of its officials of corruption.

In 2012, the late President Mills appointed Amidu as Minister of Justice but fired him few weeks after his appointment with reasonable justification.   Prior to that, Amidu served as deputy attorney general of Ghana under longtime military ruler Jerry Rawlings.

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Blama G. Konuwah

Blama G. Konuwah resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a public issues analyst and senior contributor to Globe Afrique.

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