It’s regrettable to describe the President as a ‘judge in his own cause’ – Akufo-Addo responds to Amidu

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Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana, has taken a strong exception to the suggestion that he is a “judge in his own cause” as expressed by Martin Amidu in his resignation letter.

According to a letter signed by Nana Bediatuo Asante, the Secretary to the President, the Special Prosecutor never pointed out that the President is, or could be, the subject of adverse findings arising from the corruption and anti-corruption assessment report of the Agyapa transaction and therefore would need to act as a judge to hide anything.

The nine-page response purports to correct errors of fact contained in Martin Amidu’s letter of resignation so as “to provide a complete public record” of the issues raised.

“Finally, you also accuse the President of being a judge in his own cause,” the letter stated, adding that “This is the unkindest cut of all. You did not and have not alleged that the President is, or could be, the subject of adverse findings or investigations arising from your assessment report of the Agyapa transaction. It beggars belief, therefore, that you would insinuate that the President has, himself, something to hide and thus seeks to be ‘a judge in his own cause’”.

Martin Amidu in his resignation letter sent to the President on Monday, November 16, 2020 stated that President Akufo-Addo had the mistaken belief that he would hold the Office of the Special Prosecutor as his ‘poodle’.

He also accused the President of interfering in the performance of his independent mandate relating to the “Corruption and Anti-Corruption Risk Assessment” report released on the Agyapa Royalties deal in October.

Amidu stated further in his resignation letter that the President attempted to convince him to include a response from Ken Ofori-Atta, the finance minister, in the aforementioned report. Amidu said that he declined that request because “that would have compromised my independence as the Special Prosecutor.”

Amidu’s resignation letter further stated: “I also refused to shelve my report to enable you handle the matter which explains my press release to the public on the morning of 2 November 2020 and the follow up with the distribution of the full 64-page Agyapa Royalties Transactions Anti-corruption Assessment Report to the Public. Unbeknown to you that I had published the full 64-page report to the public, you caused a press statement to be made based on my letter dated 16 October 2020 to you under reference which sought to politicize and downplay the seriousness of the professional analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption assessment reported by my office.”

However, the aforementioned response letter signed by Bediatuo Asante, denied the claims from the former Special Prosecutor but added that the President can only be accused of inference and acting as a judge in his own cause if he had a personal interest in the matter; which he does not.

“As a lawyer of many years’ standing, there is no doubt that you know that if one is not a party to or have an interest in a matter, one simply cannot be described as a judge in his own cause.

“That statement is most regrettable,” the letter concluded.

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