The Supreme Court has directed the Attorney-General to file her defence within three weeks, justifying the appointment of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor.
Lawyers for the plaintiff have also been given three weeks give their statement of case.
Mr. Amidu’s appointment is being challenged in court by a former Deputy Attorney-General, Dominic Ayine, on grounds that his age exceeds the statutory age of employment as required of public service workers.
Dr. Dominic Ayine claims Martin Amidu, 66, is beyond the statutory age of employment into public service and is seeking an order of the court to have his nomination annulled.
He is praying the court to declare that “by true and proper interpretation of Articles 190(1) (d) and 199 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, no person above the age of 65 years is eligible for employment in any public office created under Article 190(1) (d).”
The latest decision of the court comes barely 24 hours after ‘Corruption Watch’ and Democratic Institutions and Systems Strengthening (ADISS), presented an assessment of the Office of the Special Prosecutor headed by Martin Amidu, after one year in office.
This follows public outcry about the slow pace of work which has enmeshed the office.
Martin Amidu popularly called ‘Citizen Vigilante’, was appointed by the president, Nana Akufo-Addo as the Special Prosecutor in fulfillment of his campaign promise.
In a bid to do away with complaints of witch-hunting the president promised to establish a Special Prosecutor Office, independent of the Attorney-General to prosecute corruption offences in public office.
On January 11, the president named Amidu as the man to steer the affairs of the new office, much to the excitement of many Ghanaians and civil society organisations.
A former Attorney-General under the late John Mills’ administration and a member of the NDC, Martin Amidu is credited for his tenacity in the judgment debt scandal he fought as a private citizen and won against Alfred Woyome, Waterville and Isofoton.
The president believes Amidu’s commitment to the rule of law, his passion to fight crime, corruption in public service makes him the best candidate for the office even though the man is 66-years-old.
But members of the minority NDC, as well as a section of the NPP, are not happy with the appointment.
With just a day for him to be vetted by Parliament, Ayine brought a case against him at the Supreme Court seeking to have his nomination annulled.
Dominic Ayine is seeking seven reliefs from the court including “a declaration that by reason of age (66) Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be approved by Parliament as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13(3) of the office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”
Article 199 of the constitutions states: “Retiring age and pension;
(1) A public officer shall except as otherwise provided in this Constitution, retire from the public service on attaining the age of sixty years…
(4) Notwithstanding clause (1) of this article, a public officer who has retired from the public service after attaining the age of sixty years may, where the exigencies of the service require, be engaged for a limited period of not more than two years at a time but not exceeding five years in all and upon such other terms and conditions as the appointing authority shall determine.” [Inserted by section 6 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 527).”
Ayine is also seeking a declaration that any purported nomination by the Attorney-General or approval by Parliament, must be declared “unconstitutional, null and void.”
He argued further that by nominating Martin Amidu, and offering him for vetting and approval by Parliament, both the President and the Attorney-General “have violated Article 199(1) of the Constitution.”