Ankwanoma Kissi In OSP Haunted House

Feature Article Ankwanoma Kissi In OSP Haunted House

“Corruption is a cancer: a cancer that eats at a citizen's faith in democracy diminishes the instinct for innovation and creativity.” - Joe Biden (Bucharest, 2014)

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

On December14, 2023, we got published a script entitled “OSP, A haunted House?” We could have explained the meaning of 'haunted' as “(a place) frequented by ghosts” or “a place inhabited by apparitions.”

Such was the house, established per the 'Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017' (Act 959). The mandate carried by the office was “gargantuan”: (a) the investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663). (b) The investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged corruption and corruption-related offences under the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) involving Public Officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector. (c) Investigation and prosecution of persons …under any other relevant law.

(d) The recovery and management of the proceeds of corruption. (e) The dissemination of information gathered in the court of an investigation. (f) The cooperation and coordination of the offices with competent authorities. (g) The receipt and investigation of complaints from a person on a matter that involves corruption. (h) The receipt and action on referrals of investigations of alleged corruption by Parliament, the Auditor-General's Office, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), the Economic and Organised Crime Office and any public body. (i) The performance of any other functions connected with the objects of the Office.

Martin Amidu had distinguished himself as a credible person with his “personal” prosecution of the Woyome case. This was a case in which President Atta-Mills had even ordered the stoppage of “payments” to Waterville, yet the money was paid. President Nana Addo in 2012 had said: “Corruption has become rampant, robbing us of much needed resources for our development. I am determined to fight corruption aggressively, and I can do so, because I am not corrupt, have never been corrupt, and will demand the same of my team. Accountability and transparency are the hallmarks of good governance.”

That was at the 2nd Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential Debate in 2012, and repeated at the Cape Coast University to TESCON delegates in April 2015. The NDC Martin Amidu had cut his “personality” to attract an NPP President to assign him the task.

Then, the witches and ghosts in the “haunted” OSP house began to attack. Charles Dickens in the 1850s had written about the landlord in “The Haunted House”; “If I wanted to have all the bells in a house ring, with nobody to ring 'em; and all the doors in a house bang, with nobody to bang 'em; and all sorts of feet treading about, with no feet there; why then I'd sleep in that house?”

Vice presidential candidate in the 2000 election, 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 resigned my position as the Special Prosecutor because of the traumatic experience I suffered from the President who breached his Presidential oath by unlawfully obstructing me from taking any further steps on the Agyapa Royalties Transaction from October 20, 2020 to November 1, 2020.

“It was divinely revealed to me that the President, whom I trusted so much for integrity, only looked like the innocent flower of anti-corruption but he was really the mother corruption serpent under the innocent looking flower.” Martin had hinted that the President had expected him to be a “poodle” as a Special Prosecutor.

French President Macron's mate, KissiAgyebeng, who got his law degree in 2003 and was a lecturer of Criminal Law and had represented Anas Aremeyaw Anas in many legal disputes, was handed the baton. The battle was really herculean. He lamented the “trend of regressive and dismissive judicial decisions” in respect of cases involving the Office of Special Prosecutor.

Our sister, Cecilia Dapaah, a former Minister of Sanitation, was acquitted over her $1 million plus some amounts in euros, pounds, Ghana cedis stashed in her house. When Cecilia Dapaah tendered her resignation, President Akufo-Addo beautifully noted, “I am confident, like you, that at the end of the day, your integrity, whilst in office, will be fully established. I wish you the very best in all your endeavours.”

Victoria Hammah, former Deputy Minister of Communications was sacked by President John Mahama after a leaked tape quoted her as saying she would “stay in politics” until she had made $1 million – in a conversation with a friend about the substantive minister, Nana Oye Lithur. Victoria Hammah was only day-dreaming. There was also the issue of Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie's (Sir John) huge estate that included petrol tankers, large sums of money in banks and parcels of land in Achimota Forest.

Then, in a twist of fate, Martin Amidu, on April 30 wrote to the President to remove Kissi Agyebeng, on six issues: Accroachment of Authority; Inducement of Staff from sister law enforcement agencies; abuse of citizens' rights through arrests and detentions; abuse of the judiciary; procurement breaches; refusal to comply with Right to Information (RTI) requests.

Section 5 of Act 959 stipulates that when a petition is sent to the President, he ought to forward it to the Chief Justice within seven days to determine whether there is a prima facie case to be sent back to the President within 30 days. “Et tu, Brute” Julius Caesar would cry on seeing Brutus along with other conspirators who stabbed him.

Daniel Domelevo gets “haunted” to learn that Martin Amidu is the one writing this petition: “… I am not saying that he doesn't have the right so to do. But if I were in his position, I would not participate in doing anything to remove my successor. And everyone including Hon. Martin Amidu should know that Kissi Agyebeng being at the forefront of fighting corruption would not be a favourite at the Office of the President. So Martin just walked into a trap or created a favourable environment for the Office of the President to expedite action.” Domelevo charged that the President was merely exercising his “conveyor belt” role with regard to petitions sent to him, and this did not augur well for the development of Ghana.

There are definitely 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,” although 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.” This arrow, we swear, is never meant to point at Mr. Agyebeng.

Of course, fighting corruption in a corruption- infested society can be as tricky as a ten-foot snake (Apology to Charles Causley's Timothy Winters' poem). Pope Francis at 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, “drinks his cup”, and sighs: “Nowhere Cool.”

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