With a little less than three weeks until Ghanaians vote in another presidential and presidential elections, the country’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, has been put under pressure by the resignation of a Special Prosecutor he appointed in 2018 as part of the government’s anti-corruption agenda.
Martin Amidu, a popular anti-graft campaigner, submitted his resignation letter to the Jubilee House, Ghana’s seat of government, on Monday evening. He cited among other things that he felt he was “not intended to exercise any independence as the Special Prosecutor” after publicizing his corruption risk analyses of a deal involving an offshore company with ties to members of the ruling party.
Amidu’s letter also hinted that he had received threats on his life after his conclusions on the deal were published a few weeks ago. However, sources say in a meeting with President Akufo-Addo on November 12, Amidu was asked to shelve his reservations on the deal for a while.
“The events of 12th November 2020 removed the only protection I had from the threats and plans directed at me for undertaking the Agyapa Royalties Limited Transactions anti-corruption assessment report and dictates that I resign as the Special Prosecutor immediately,” the letter said.
The said transactions involve a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by the Ghanaian government in order to raise money against collateralized gold proceeds. The SPV, known as Agyapa Royalties Limited, was set up as an offshore limited liability on the island of Jersey with a subsidiary, ARG Royalties, in Ghana.
Per the agreement on the process, Ghana is expected to sell 49% of its shares in Agyapa to raise around $500 million on the London Stock Exchange. But critics have slammed what they call the “secrecy” and rushed manner in which the bill was put together and passed in parliament.
Questions have also been raised by sections of the Ghanaian public with regards to some of the names pushing to make the deal possible. The interim boss of Agyapa, Kofi Osafo-Maafo, is a son of Ghana’s Senior Minister, a portfolio likened to a Prime Minister.
One of the three law firms too which acted as transaction advisers for the Agyapa deal belongs to Gabby Otchere-Darko, a cousin of President Akufo-Addo.
Meanwhile, the presidency has denied any wrongdoing as implied in the resignation letter offered by Amidu. A statement on Tuesday, signed by the secretary to the president, said it was “regrettable” that the former Special Prosecutor believed the government stood in his way of fighting corruption.
President Akufo-Addo won the presidential race on his third attempt against then-President John Mahama in 2016, on the promise of fighting corruption and accelerating industrialization in Ghana. The two men are the frontrunners for this year’s elections on December 7.
However, unlike four years ago, the issue of corruption is not expected to drive Ghanaians to the polls in 2020, according to a survey by the country’s Center for Democratic Development.