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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Ankwanoma Kissi in the OSP haunted house

By Vaseline May30,2024

“Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that erodes citizens’ confidence in democracy and reduces the instinct for innovation and creativity.”

Joe Biden (Bucharest, 2014)

That the office designated as the “Office of Special Prosecutor” (OSP) is a haunted house is a truism.

On December 14, 2023, we had a script published titled “OSP, A haunted house?” We could have explained the meaning of ‘haunted’ as ‘(a place) frequented by ghosts’ or ‘a place inhabited by apparitions’.

That was the house established under the ‘Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017’ (Act 959). The office’s mandate was “gigantic”: (a) to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offenses under the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663). (b) To investigate and prosecute cases of alleged corruption and corruption-related offenses under the Criminal Offenses Act 1960 (Act 29) involving public officials, politically exposed persons and private sector persons. (c) Investigation and prosecution of persons…under any other relevant law.

(d) Recovery and management of the proceeds of corruption. (e) The dissemination of information collected in court of an investigation. f) The cooperation and coordination of the agencies with the competent authorities. (g) The receipt and investigation of complaints from any person regarding a matter involving corruption. h) The receipt of and action on referrals to investigations into alleged corruption by Parliament, the Auditor General, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organized Crime Bureau and all government authorities. i) The performance of all other functions related to the objectives of the Office.

Martin Amidu had distinguished himself as a credible individual with his “personal” prosecution of the Woyome case. This was a case where President Atta-Mills had even ordered the cessation of ‘payments’ to Waterville, but the money was paid anyway. President Nana Addo had said in 2012: “Corruption has become widespread and has deprived us of much-needed resources for our development. I am committed to aggressively fighting corruption, and I can do that because I am not corrupt, have never been corrupt, and will demand the same from my team. Accountability and transparency are the hallmarks of good governance.”

That was at the second presidential debate of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in 2012, and repeated at the Cape Coast University before TESCON delegates in April 2015. The NDC Martin Amidu had his ‘personality’ cut off to become an NPP president to appoint him the task.

Then the witches and ghosts started attacking the ‘haunted’ OSP house. Charles Dickens had written about the landlord in ‘The Haunted House’ in the 1850s; “If I wanted to ring all the bells in a house, without anyone ringing them; and all the doors in a house bang, without anyone slamming them; and all kinds of feet walking about, without feet there; Then why would I sleep in that house?”

Vice-presidential candidate in the 2000 elections, Martin Amidu, became Attorney General from January 2011 to January 2012 and held the OSP from January 2018 to November 2020. In a resignation letter, he stated: “I have resigned from my position as President. Special Prosecutor for the traumatic experience I had with the President who violated his presidential oath by unlawfully obstructing me from taking further action regarding the Agyapa royalty transaction from October 20, 2020 to November 1, 2020.

“It was divinely revealed to me that the President, whom I trusted so much for his integrity, seemed only like the innocent flower of anti-corruption, but in reality he was the mother corruption snake beneath the innocent-looking flower.” Martin had hinted that the president had expected him to be a “poodle” as special counsel.

French President Macron’s partner, KissiAgyebeng, who obtained his law degree in 2003 and taught criminal law and had represented Anas Aremeyaw Anas in many legal disputes, took over. The battle was truly Herculean. He deplored the “trend of regressive and dismissive judicial decisions” regarding cases involving the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Our sister, Cecilia Dapaah, former Minister of Sanitation, was acquitted because of her $1 million plus some amounts in Euros, Pounds and Ghanaian Cedis stashed in her home. When Cecilia Dapaah tendered her resignation, President Akufo-Addo beautifully noted: “I, like you, am confident that your integrity, while in office, will ultimately be fully vindicated. I wish you all the best in all your endeavors.”

Former Deputy Communications Minister Victoria Hammah was fired by President John Mahama after a leaked tape quoted her as saying she would “stay in politics” until she made $1 million – in a conversation with a friend about the substantive Minister, Nana Oye Lithur. Victoria Hammah was just daydreaming. There was also the matter of the vast estate of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John), which included petrol tankers, large sums of money in banks and plots of land in the Achimota Forest.

Then, by a twist of fate, on April 30, Martin Amidu wrote a letter to the President to impeach Kissi Agyebeng, on six issues: challenge to authority; Encouragement of personnel from sister law enforcement agencies; abuse of citizens’ rights through arrests and detentions; abuse of the judiciary; procurement violations; refusal to comply with Right to Information (RTI) requests.

Section 5 of Act 959 provides that when a petition is sent to the President, he must forward it to the Chief Justice within seven days to determine whether there is a prima facie case which should be returned to the President within 30 days. “Et tu, Brute” Julius Caesar is said to have wept at the sight of Brutus along with other conspirators who had stabbed him.

Daniel Domelevo is “haunted” when he hears that Martin Amidu is the one writing this petition: “…I’m not saying he doesn’t have the right to do that. But if I were in his position, I would do nothing to oust my successor. And everyone, including Hon. Martin Amidu should know that Kissi Agyebeng, who is at the forefront of the fight against corruption, would not be a favorite in the Office of the President. So Martin simply fell into a trap or created an enabling environment for the Office of the President to expedite action.” Domelevo accused the President of merely exercising his “assembly line” role with regard to the petitions sent to him, and this did not bode well for Ghana’s development.

There are certainly interesting and exciting times ahead. We used to enjoy “Akwaanoma” because the message in the song is very powerful. Do what you can for God and country, yes, “Pro Deo et patria,” even though we may not be militaristic. But we also used to enjoy “hɔn a adepa ba a wokyɛ dzi no, eka ba a hɔn ara na wɔkyɛ tua.” We swear that this arrow was never intended to point at Mr. Agyebeng.

Of course, fighting corruption in a corruption-ridden society can be as difficult as a ten-foot snake (apology to Charles Causley’s Timothy Winters poem). Pope Francis in the Vatican may be suffering from bronchitis, but had time to write: “The love of corruption is so dangerous that we must be extremely vigilant.” But given the labyrinthine road, the ordinary Ghanaian gives up hope, “empties his cup,” and sighs: “Nowhere Cool.”

AfricanusOwusu-Ansah

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