27 June 2012

Ghana: I Have Never Indulged in Corruption - Martin Amidu

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The former Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Martin Amidu has issued another statement, this time denying the allegation that he has skeletons in his cupboard. Below is the full statement.

I have since 3rd January 2012, heard and read from the NDC media unproven allegations against me, for habouring skeletons in my cupboard, including corrupt practices such as receiving bribes as Attorney-General, and the exposure of my (non existent extra-marital) sexual life while I occupied the high office of the Attorney-General.

As a human being, I do not claim to be perfect. I strive to love my neighbour as myself, but not more than myself. I am willing to learn from my faults, perceived crimes and misdeeds. I cannot, however, learn from following red herrings without more.

I am the outcome of the family and the cultural society which brought me up. My late father, a retired Sergeant Major in the Gold Coast Regiment, a Sergeant in the Preventive Customs Marine Police Service, a Corporal in the Border Guard, and later a Sergeant in the Ghana Police Service, and my mother brought me up to be disciplined, honest and to defend my world view of the truth at all times.

Mr. Sydney A. Abugri gave a resume of my life story in one of his columns in the Peoples Daily Graphic in 2000, from his personal and intimate knowledge of me as we grew up living, attending school and playing together in Bawku as children, and later as adults parting ways into different professions.

One of the reasons why Ghanaians punished the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the candidacy of then Vice President Atta Mills and my poor self in the 2000 election by voting against us was for perceived corruption in Government.

My letter to former President Rawlings, dated 3rd June, 1999, has already been put in the public domain to demonstrate not only my consistent attitude in defence of the independence of the judiciary, but also my consistent fight against corruption and the theft of any property of "We the People".

I retired my incidental accountable imprest throughout my service to the PNDC, NDC1 and NDC2 at a time when Nana Ato Dadzie, as PNDC Secretary to the Chairman of the PNDC and later Chief of Staff had not issued his famous reminder to those who had not been doing so, to do so, and to submit their receipts to his office.

I raise this matter now, just to confirm what well meaning and informed people have already said about my attitude towards graft in public office when I was the running mate to the then NDC Candidate in the 2000 Elections, Vice President Atta Mills, and since my exit from office on 19th January, 2012. I thank all the people who rose to my defense without any prompting from me, but solely in defense of truth, fairness and justice.

I assumed office as the Minister of the Interior on or about 22nd February, 2010. A foreign trip was waiting for me to attend a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 8th to 12th March 2010.

I refused to make the trip in order to know the responsibilities of my Ministry as my first priority. The Chief Director attended in my place. I attended a number of foreign conferences or seminars during my tenure in the Ministry of the Interior and retired the accountable imprests to the amazement of some of the officers who did not know me well.

I assumed duties in the Office of the Attorney-General from 22nd January, 2011, to 19th January, 2012, and I also attended a number of conferences and seminars. I retired each accountable imprest that was given to me for each trip.

At the end of each year, I wrote to the Chief of Staff, notifying him of the retirement of all my accountable imprests. I remember a retired Army General, telling me on receipt of my first notification that it was the first time he was seeing such an exhaustive accountability.

At the Ministry of the Interior, on 18th May, 2010, I retired my incidental accountable imprest and balance of accommodation imprest of €740.00; on 4th June 2010 I retired the whole incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00; on 14th October, 2010, I retired the balance of US$282.00 on an incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00; on 22nd October, 2010, my then Deputy retired the incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00 -approved for me for a trip he undertook on my behalf, and on 1st December, 2010, I retired the whole incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00 and a balance of accommodation imprest of US$320.00 -bringing the total to US$820.00.

At the Ministry of Justice, on 6th July 2011, the balance of US$350.00 on an incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00 was retired; on 27th July 2011 and 5th August 2011, I retired US$822.00 of nine days per diem, US$4,010.00 balance on accommodation imprest; and US$131.00 balance on my incidental accountable imprest of US$500.00; on 19th August, 2011, I retired a balance of US$750.00 on an incidental accountable imprest of US$1,000.00; and on 16th January, 2011, I surrounded the accountable incidental imprest of US$500.00 -and the whole of the accountable accommodation imprest of US$3850.00 -totaling US$4,350.00 to the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, to be retired to the Bank of Ghana.

I requested him in my letter of 20th January, 2012, to notify the Chief of Staff of the payment of the money to the Bank of Ghana against the pay-in-slip receipt, as I had become functus officio on 19th January, 2012.

The foregoing facts can be verified by doubting Thomases from the office of the Chief of Staff, the Chief Directors of the Ministries I served in, the Controller and Accountant-General and the Auditor-General, amongst several others who were copy addressees.

These letters were originated by me, they are not classified either as confidential or secret or any other classification whatsoever, to bring them within the prohibitions of the State Secrets Act, 1962 (Act 101), which is inferior to the 1992Constitution. I know the provisions of the 1992 Constitution and the laws of Ghana so well after over 33 years as a practicing lawyer (almost fourteen years of which were spent in the Attorney-General's Department as the Deputy Attorney-General, and Attorney-General of this Republic) to receive unsolicited advice from those whose real intention has been to intimidate me with possible breaches of Act 101.

I dutifully retired my accountable imprests at times against admonishing from some staff of the Bank of Ghana and later some other public officers because I was brought up to accept only property of whatever nature to which I am legitimately entitled by custom or law.

It was ingrained in Northern Ghanaian culture as one grew up and my parents insisted upon strict compliance with this norm and its internalization and observance. I am sorry if any person gets offended by my insistence on the protection of public property and putting Ghana First, because I was moulded with this world, social and cultural view to life and communit,y which it is too late to change.

I remain determined that the NDC shall live by its core values of probity, transparency and accountability so that the NDC will continue to be relevant in the politics of Ghana for years to come, for the sake of our children and those unborn. Anybody who has evidence that I have breached those objects and values of the Constitution and the NDC should make a report against me to the Police, so I can have my day in Court, instead of attacking my person without any evidence whatsoever.

In this enterprise, I fear no cost to my person in contributing to the realization of the vision of the NDC as a decent political Party that was intended to be viable beyond Election 2012. I understand these values of the NDC to be aimed at putting Ghana First before any individual's selfish interests in Government.

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