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Special Prosecutors past and present

Martin Amidu's petition for the removal of his successor Kissi Agyebeng, sparks fear for the future of the Office of the Special Prosecutor

A petition filed by Martin Amidu, Ghana's first Special Prosecutor, demanding the dismissal of his successor, Kissi Agyebeng, could pose a major threat to what remains of the office's credibility.

An anti-corruption crusader and former Attorney-General, Amidu was appointed as Ghana's first Special Prosecutor in January 2018 but failed to prosecute a single corruption case before resigning in November 2020, accusing the President of executive interference and other government agencies of refusing to cooperate.

Agyebeng has also failed to conclude any graft cases with convictions. Amidu's feud with his successor became public knowledge at the start of this year after Agyebeng decided not to prosecute former deputy Finance Minister, Charles Adu Boahen, over graft allegations. Amidu accused Agyebeng of personal bias in the case (AC Vol 65 No 1, No case for the prosecutor & Vol 64 No 17, Government stonewalling on corruption comes under fire).

However, the charge sheet in his petition for Agyebeng's dismissal does not mention Adu Boahen's case, instead focusing on the violation of citizens' right to information, and allegations of arbitrary arrests and detentions. He also accused the SP of the abuse of judges and administration of justice, procurement breaches and appointment breaches.

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, has written to Agyebeng for a formal response to the charges before a decision is taken on whether to proceed further. It is unclear whether Amidu is acting with government support, though critics point to the speed at which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo passed the petition on to the Supreme Court as pointing to his personal involvement in the petition.

That appears unlikely based on Amidu's falling out with the President over Amidu's corruption risk assessment of the Agyapa deal, in which the government had planned to sell the majority of the country's gold royalties from mining leases to an offshore company (AC Vol 61 No 23, Anti-corruption boss 'no poodle').

That prompted Amidu to cite the government's 'lack of respect for the independence of his office'. Legal experts have warned that, if successful, Amidu's petition could fatally damage the Office of the Special Prosecutor and lead to its abolition.

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