The Finance Minister-designate, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta has rejected claims that he visited the then Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, at home to supposedly influence his corruption risk assessment of the controversial Agyapa royalties transaction.
Amidu had accused Ofori-Atta of visiting him at home on October 21, 2020, when he was putting together his report on the Agyapa deal.
Mr. Amidu created the impression that, Ofori-Atta came there to influence the content of the report.
The former Special Prosecutor in an interview with Citi News in November 2020, said: “The fact that you are in government doesn’t mean that when you are dissatisfied about a report, you go after the person or the fellow. The Minister of Finance has been my friend for years; why will I go for him? When I was writing the report, didn’t he come to this house? Was he not here on 21 October? What did I tell him?”
Amidu’s report subsequently compounded the woes of the controversial agreement which at the time, had been flagged by opposition parties and civil society organisations.
Government had wanted to securitize the country’s gold royalties so it could secure more money for developmental projects.
Meanwhile, answering questions before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Friday, March 26, 2021, Ofori-Atta said he only visited Amidu because he heard he was unwell and also provide him with information on the Agyapa deal; a gesture misinterpreted by the citizen vigilante.
Ofori-Atta explained that Mr. Amidu is an independent person and cannot be influenced by anybody.
“As I have mentioned before, I’ve known the former Special Prosecutor [Martin Amidu] for a while now, and it was the first time I was going to his house. So I visited him at home. I had gone to his office on a Friday, and it was indicated to me that he was not feeling well, and he wasn’t in the office.”
“So on Saturday, I went to visit him and to provide him with some pieces of information he said he wasn’t getting from us [the Ministry of Finance]. But I think we all know Mr. Amidu is a very independent person, and so I didn’t visit him to attempt to change his view on his investigations.”
Ofori-Atta rebukes Amidu
The Finance Minister nominee had earlier rebuked Martin Amidu for releasing the report in question to the public without including in it a response from the Finance Ministry.
According to him, Amidu’s action was a disservice to the country’s democracy.
“For such a report to be put out in the public [domain] without us or myself as Minister of Finance having a chance to discuss it, is a disservice to our democracy,” he said during his vetting on Thursday, March 25, 2021.