Despite his bouts of emotional unsteadiness during his vetting at the Appointment Committee, pieces of information picked from respectable people who in various ways have associated with the Special Prosecutor Nominee and from my independent assessment of him when he appeared before the Appointment Committee, (which is the closest I have ever come to him), I am convinced he can be a pleasant person. I was also left in no doubt that he is quite qualified for the position. I believe he has the requisite knowledge and experience for the office.
However due to the sensitive nature of the office he has been nominated to occupy and its potential to injure national and individual reputations without basis (as witnessed in other jurisdictions that have similar establishments to deal with corruption), I was unable to vouch for his suitability for the office owing to proven fundamental Judgement errors in his private activism against corruption which injured many reputations without impregnable basis; and the yet to be settled challenge over the suitability of his age at the Supreme Court brought before it by Dr Dominic Ayine.
FUNDAMENTAL JUDGEMENT ERRORS
Indeed, temperament can be a useful asset especially when one elects to uproot or dismantle an unacceptable practice like corruption, which by long repeated tolerance has become a standard. The Bible recalls for emulation how Jesus Christ dealt with gambling in his Father’s house in anger.
So I do not fault the nominee for his bouts of temper exhibited at the Appointments Committee.
It should however be worrisome for all who uphold dear the principles of fairness and equity, if our Special Prosecutor’s temper has the tendency to drive him to act whimsically and recklessly.
I was particularly alarmed when the nominee, despite his knowledge and experience in the Law, sought to use the invasion of Iraq based on proven false perception and intelligence as justification for some of his judgment lapses in his role as an activist and defender of the 1992 constitution. It was sadly lost on the Nominee that the Iraq example should be the way never to persecute or condemn a person or state using perception and questionable intelligence.
His failure to acknowledge the Iraq example as an unacceptable way to invade a state or a person, but rather to propound this as a justification for his unwarrantable persecution of Hon Okujeto Ablakwa, Anas Aremeyaw Anas Tiger PI and Madam Charlotte Osei, for instance, got me wondering if he is not likely to unreasonably injure the reputations of innocent targets using needless investigations and purposeless prosecutions based on his unacceptable appreciation of what the invasion of Iraq should represent in intelligence gathering and acting on perception.
It is my respectful view that activism especially for the defense of the Constitution requires the activist to be responsible. It is even so when the activist is an experienced and brilliant lawyer. So it is not enough for me, when the activist merely assures, without remorse, that his previous conduct of passing strong judgments based on perceptions and untested intelligence will not be replicated in his new role as Special Prosecutor.
The Nominee seems more knowledgeable than he behaved as a constitutional advocate.
As such his recklessness in especially his articles and media mistrals could only have been deliberately vengeful.
This was clear in the Nominee’s partiality and weak principles in the way he answered questions relating to his previous articles, on allegations of corruption against the members of the previous NDC government, on the viability of Act 595 which set up the Office he was nominated to occupy and in the settlement of disagreements arising from his damning articles of Hon Okujeto Ablakwa and Anas Aremeyaw Anas Tiger PI.
For example the Nominee suggested in his concluding remarks at the Appointments Committee that his disagreement with Hon Ablakwa over whether or not the latter wrote a critique of him for which he responded harshly, protracted because they have not had the opportunity to sit and talk. The Nominee also in many references subtly disclosed that he and Anas Aremeyaw Anas of Tiger PI settled their differences out of the public space without any reference to a public acknowledgement of the falsity of his conclusive assertions about who contracted them to carry out their undercover investigation to reveal corruption in the judiciary and for what purpose thereof. The Nominee’s stand smacks of betrayal of principles and suggest rather sadly that some flattering and placating of the nominee rather than facts and evidence, can change or soften his positions on issues whilst the reverse only makes him imprudent.
My observation above is further strengthened in the Nominees answer to a question about his publication that questioned the constitutionality of the office he was vetted to occupy.
In his answer he said among other things that he accepted the nomination because “fighting the menace of corruption was more important than worrying about the principles of constitutionality.”
For a constitutional advocate, merely by a nomination and an assurance of a President, to abandon his calling, and support that any other way outside the principles of constitutionality can be deployed in the fight against corruption is not only unacceptable but an affront to Articles 1(2) of the 1992 constitution; which says “The constitution shall be the supreme law of Ghana”
The Nominee was either also markedly inconsistent or dishonest . The Nominee in his private role as a constitutional advocate developed and operated a website on which he wrote articles and, in acquiescence with both print and electronic media tried and passed damning Judgements against private and public citizens and institutions.
However the Nominee in answer to Hon Dominic Nitiwul’s question about media trials remarkably condemned such acts, described it as unconstitutional and called on the Ghana Journalist Association to do something about it.
Also in answer to a question regarding his membership of the NDC he said that by operation of law, he did not have to be linked with any political party and that is what he intended to do and so he did not have to resign.
As if by operation of clause 68(1a) of the 1992 constitution where a President shall not, while in office as President, hold any other office of profit or emolument whether private or public and whether directly or indirectly; He did not have to resign from any such office if he held one before his election or ascension.
Ironically, in answer to the same question later by the Hon majority chief whip, he claimed that he remains a foundation member of the NDC and that the General Secretary had indicated elsewhere that he was not aware of any letter of resignation from him (the nominee). He was however emphatic about not joining the NPP though he had respect for their ideology even as he didn’t believe in it.
Dr Ayine Suit Over Nominee’s Age.
Finally it is public knowledge that a former Deputy Attorney General and a colleague Member of Parliament Hon Dr Dominic Ayine has file a suit in court challenging the suitability of the Nominee on the basis of his age. He is seeking a declaration that “by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4), and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retirement age of all holders of public office created pursuant to Article(1)(d) is sixty years, anyhow not beyond (65).” and that, “any other interpretation would result in an unlawful amendment of Article 199 of the Constitution by legislation.”
I share in the plaintiffs case wholly and
therefore was unable to vote for the confirmation of the nominee because
I have a strong hunch that the court will uphold the plaintiff’s case.
I have abundant respect for the nominee due to his celebrated roles in the PNDC/NDC, for his age and for his intellect. His achievements as a prosecutor is the envy of many Lawyers and an immense resource to student Lawyers.
My objection was therefore not personal and I pray the Nominee and his admirers will see it as an objective assessment of his qualification and suitability. I believe he is qualified for the position of Special Prosecutor but inappropriate or unsuitable for same.
For those who have argued that qualification necessarily makes one suitable for a job, I wish to remind that shortlisted applicants in a job interview are usually equally qualified by the requirement of the vacancy or vacancies but those who get the job usually are the suitable candidates.
I was aware that my lone dissent would not deny the nominee the position.
I will however be happy if it inspires him to be fair and even handed to all manner of persons irrespective of who they are, their associations or how he thinks they make him feel emotionally.
It will be sad if he fails, unfortunately I am sure he will.
Nonetheless I changed my vote owing to wise counsel from leadership of my Party(NDC), Parliament and respectable members of our society. My reservations however remain unchanged. I wish the Nominee all the best if he’s not stopped at the Supreme Court. I pray my reservations will serve as guiding posts as Mr Martin A B K Amidu discharges his duties as the nation’s first Special Prosecutor.
Source: Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, MP Tamale North