Amidu threatens to sue over frustrations from heads of institutions

The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has vented his frustration at various stumbling blocks to fulfilling his mandate.

He cites the heads of public institutions as one of these frustrations in an article, serving notice he may be compelled to sue the state to release some documents to aid in investigations.

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor Act empowers the Office to enforce the production of information and documents in the Courts against any public institution that fails or refuses to honour the lawful request of the Office. This Office can also go to the High Court to compel heads of institutions to obey the laws that support the fight against corruption. The consequence will be that in accordance with the civil procedure rules this Office will have to sue the Attorney General as the representative of the State.”

Mr. Amidu has in the past complained about legal and logistical constraints hampering his work as Special Prosecutor.

In his latest article, Mr. Amidu noted that “he has only three seconded investigators from the Ghana Police Service with no prosecutor employed directly by the Office for obvious bureaucratic and technical reasons.”

But Mr. Amidu said his office has been able to work around these challenges and “managed to investigate and arraigned a number of public officers before the High Court for prosecution.”

“…but their heads of institutions have failed or refused to apply the law on interdiction and/ or indefinite leave to deter others from following the same corruption path,” he added.

Mr. Amidu noted that the biggest challenge facing the Office of the Special Prosecutor is the “heads of institutions who simply refuse to comply with laws designed to ensure good governance and to protect the national purse by fighting corruption.”

Heads of institutions wantonly disregard statutory requests made by the Office for information and production of documents to assist in the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences, in spite of the fact that the President has on a number of occasions admonished them on such misconduct.

As an example, he said there have also been cases where some heads of institutions interfere with his work by deliberately running concurrent investigations “for the sole purpose of aborting investigations into corruption and corruption-related offences.”