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Your office rejected various accommodations, funds provided – Akufo-Addo on Amidu’s claim of operational difficulties

President Akufo-Addo has dismissed claims by Martin Amidu that the Office of the Special Prosecutor was not equipped to carry out its anti-corruption fight.

According to the President, available records indicate that he kept his word to sufficiently equip the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the discharge of its mandate under Act 959, by providing the Office with the necessary financial and administrative support. 

“Your Office received more than a sufficient budgetary allocation to assist it in its anti-corruption fight,” a statement from the Presidency on Tuesday evening in response to Martin Amidu’s resignation letter said.

In the 9-paged response signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, and sighted by JoyNews, the Presidency explained that there is enough evidence to prove that various efforts were made by the government to provide all requests made by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

“On 14 September 2020, you wrote to the Chief of Staff conveying your refusal “to take possession of a bunch of keys disrespectfully sent to your Office in an envelope through a messenger and to ask the messenger to return them to the sender”.

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“The Chief of Staff by another letter dated 18 September 2020, explained to you the reason for delivery of the keys to you in an envelope and urged you to reconsider your rejection of the keys.

“With the greatest respect, your decision not to accept the keys to the 10 storey building identified by you and renovated after rejecting other buildings jointly identified with you, is very troubling and does not reflect a  desire to establish an operational office for the Special Prosecutor.

“Indeed, your behaviour, in connection with the acquisition of suitable accommodation for the Office of Special Prosecutor, remains inexplicable and unwarranted,” part of the statement read.

Touching on the allegation by the Special Prosecutor that neither he nor his deputy has been paid since assumption of office, the Presidency said the statement was unfortunate since the office was adequately funded to pay for salaries. 

“In 2018, an amount of GH¢1,000,000.00 was released to your Office to enable it to undertake set-up activities.

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“In June 2018, your Office requested and was granted Commencement Authorisation to incur Capital Expenditure of GH¢2,790,000.00. You failed to make a request for payment in respect of the related procurement.”

Giving more details, the letter explained that, “In 2019, your Office submitted a Budget Proposal of GH¢360 million out of which GH¢180,160,225 was approved and appropriated for the Office. This amount was higher than the budget of some Ministries in the current Government and was made up of GH¢33.47million for Compensation of Employees, GH¢88.01million for Goods and Services, and GH¢58.68million for Capital Expenditure.

“Although your Office did not apply for the release of funds in 2019, the Ministry of Finance released GH¢65.69million and transferred it into the bank account of your Office for your operations. 

“Only a little of over GH¢5.22million had been utilized by you as head of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

The letter also explained that the Office again failed to utilize the funds available in 2020.

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“The Approved Budget for your Office was GH¢188,084,732.00 out of which GH¢39,325,597.17 has so far been released, consisting of GH¢36,232,522.00 for Compensation of Employees.

“Curiously, the Office has not accessed the amount on GIFMIS, the Government’s payments platform.

“Your Office has so far spent only GH¢308,751 on compensation of employees.

“Taking account of the amount that was rolled over from the year 2019, the account of the Office of the Special Prosecutor at Bank of Ghana, as of 12th November 2020, shows a balance of GH¢60.47 million,” the statement added.