The claim by the former Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, and section of the public that the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) was poorly resourced, and had not received much budgetary support from the government, since it was set up in the early 2018, appear not to be the reality, as official documents at the disposal of the Daily Statesman prove otherwise.
Soon after the Office had been set up in 2018, the Ministry of Finance advanced a sum of GH¢154,261.84 to facilitate the smooth running of the newly established institution.
A further amount of GH¢65,690,067.55 was also provided in 2019. Also, as at November 16, this year, the government had released a sum of GH¢63,171,860.13 to the Office, all in an attempt to ensure that it delivers and live up to expectation.
Last Monday, Mr Martin Amidu tendered in his resignation letter as the first person to have occupied the position of the Special Prosecutor, and began circulating the letter in both social and traditional media even before the President was officially notified.
His four-page letter cited various reasons for his action, ranging from what he claims to be “political interference in the independence of his office” to limited number of staff, among others.
The President has since accepted his resignation, rebutting the claims of political interference.
One major issue that has come up for discussion following the creation of the SP’s office in 2018 and subsequent public pronouncements by the then SP is the lack of resources to effectively discharge its duties.
But a cursory look at the Budget Performance Report (2018-2020) for Office of the Special Prosecutor, especially with regards to trends in budget allocation and releases by the government, shows that its approved ceiling of GH¢180.16m for year 2019 increased significantly, as compared to the revised allocation of GH¢138.14m given for year 2020.
The year 2018 recorded the lowest allocation of GH¢3.79m, and this could be attributed to the fact that the Office had now been established and the allocation formed part of the 2018 budget of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Office.
With regard to releases made to the Office under the various economic classifications, amounts of GH¢154,261.84 and GH¢65,690,067.55 were released as at the end of the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years. Also, an amount of GH¢63,171,860.13 has been released as at November 16, 2020.
According to the Finance Ministry, the only key challenge identified during the implementation of the budgets of the OSP in the period under review was its inability to initiate transactions on the GIFMIS platform to facilitate release of funds.
In responding to Mr Amidu’s letter, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a letter signed by the Executive Secretary at the Presidency, Nana Bediatuo Asante, has denied allegations made by the former SP that he interfered in his work.
The President also said claims that he asked Mr Amidu to shelve the corruption risk assessment report on the Agyapa Royalties agreement it not true.
“At no point did the President ask you to shelve the report, so he could ‘handle the matter’. It is difficult to see in what way and in what context the President would seek to “handle the matter” when the matter was already public knowledge and had led to the Ministry of Finance suspending action on the Agyapa transaction in anticipation of your report,” the letter said.
The President noted that even before he had been given the opportunity to respond to the contents of the 4-page letter by Mr Amidu, “it had been put into the public domain prior to receipt by the President.”
“I am directed by the President to respond to correct the errors of the fact contained in your [Amidu] letter in order to provide a complete public record of the issues,” the letter stated.