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Parliament hasn’t invited me over Special Prosecutor Bill – Martin Amidu

Former Attorney General and anti-corruption campaigner, Martin Amidu, has said he has not received any official communication from the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament to appear before the committee and contribute to the Bill setting up the office of the Special Prosecutor.

The Chairman of the Committee, Ben Abdallah, on Eyewitness News on Wednesday, said Mr. Amidu had been invited to make recommendations to the Special Prosecutor Bill 2017, which is currently under consideration.

But in a statement issued by Mr. Amidu and copied citifmonline.com, he denied any such invitation and said he has been disrespected per the approach used in getting his views on the subject.

“I think it is absurd that when a Committee of Parliament wishes to invite a senior citizen to assist it in its work it should do so through the press before any formal invitation to the citizen is made or received. At least, I served and continue to serve my nation in my own way and deserve a modicum of respect if my services are needed by any organ of the Government. I should not be treated as anybody’s appendage. I have equal rights of citizenship and respect under the 1992 Constitution,” he added.

Mr. Amidu had earlier punched holes into the much hyped Special Prosecutor Bill which government intends to use as a tool to fight corruption among state officials.

In a 25-page paper critiquing aspects of the Bill, Amidu questioned the inclusion of a clause that seeks to limit the Special Prosecutor to specific crimes.

“The attempt to distinguish types of corruption offences that may be investigated and prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor sends the clear message to Ghanaians that the President and his Government now accept that certain types of corruption offences are not serious for prosecution or at least to be prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor,” he added.

Meanwhile, according to Ben Abdallah, inviting Mr. Amidu forms part of efforts by the committee’s moves to receive inputs from the general public on the Bill before it is passed into law.

“This Bill is not final; we are yet to receive inputs from the general public. Martin Amidu himself who has brought out his perspective on the seeming inconsistency of the bill has been written to and we are hoping that Martin Amidu will heed to the invitation of the committee and appear before the committee to share his thoughts,” Ben Abdallah said on Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

“If in the wisdom of the plenary, Martin Amidu’s position so far as the law is concerned is a sound position, the plenary will take same on board,” he added.

Ben Abdallah also added that , although the powers of the Special Prosecutor must not be limited, he believes that the Office of the Special Prosecutor must not be compelled to chase every act of corruption but be guided by the quantum of the acts of corruption.

But in his response, Mr. Amidu in the statement asked: “Why did the Criminal Offences Act, (1960) not balkanize all criminal offences into serious and permissive crimes? Because, then there would have been no need for a criminal Code.”

“The basic principle of law is that criminal offences are cast in general terms as deterrence to enable the prosecutor the discretion to decide which to prosecute. This is basic first-year general legal system study. As citizens, we need to treat each other with respect even when we hold a public warrant to represent the Republic,” he added.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana