You Told Lies, I Gave You Money! Prez debunks Martin Amidu’s claim
Jubilee House has refuted assertions by the former Special Prosecutor (SP), Martin Alamisi Barnes Kaiser Amidu that his office was starved of finances through his period.
According to Jubilee House, records on the funds to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) do not support such claims that the self-styled anti-corruption crusader would want the public to believe.
The Presidency made these known in its full response to the issues Mr Amidu raised in his resignation letter to the President last Monday.
Amongst other things, the alleged failure of the government to pay the SP and his deputy salaries for about two years caught the attention of the public, who questioned the sincerity of President Akufo-Addo to fight corruption as he promised.
However, the detailed response signed by the Executive Secretary to the President, Nana Asante Bediatuo, revealed that the OSP received more than sufficient budgetary allocation to assist it in its anti-corruption fight, adding that adequate funds were made available to pay for salaries.
“Remarkably, your letter of resignation alludes to the consistent deprivation of finances and a financial handicap imposed on the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
“You also bemoan the non-payment of the salaries of yourself and the Deputy Special Prosecutor in a manner that suggests the Government’s failure to do so. Yet, your Office had been adequately funded to pay for salaries,” the letter read.
Giving detailed disbursement of funds to the OSP, Jubilee House said that in 2018, an amount of GH¢1,000,000.00 was released to the office to enable it undertake set-up activities.
The House said in June 2018, the office requested and was granted commencement authorisation to incur capital expenditure of GH¢2,790,000.
But, Mr Amidu failed to make a request for payment in respect of the related procurement.
The Presidency also stated that in 2019, the OSP submitted a budget proposal of GH¢360 million out of which Gh¢180,160,225 was approved and appropriated for the office.
According to the Office of the President, the 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 release of funds in 2019, the Ministry of Finance released GHS65.69million and transferred it into the bank account of your office for your operations. Only a little of over GHC5.22million had been utilised by you as head of the Office of the Special Prosecutor,” the response said.
It continued that: “In accordance with administrative practices, the unutilised amount of over GH¢60.47million should have been returned to the Consolidated Fund, as happens to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies which do not utilise their budget.
“However, in the case of your Office, the Ministry of Finance rolled over the excess amount of over GHC60.47million to the following year to be utilised by it. Yet, the funds still remain in the bank account of the Office as at 12 November, 2020.”
For the year 2020, the approved budget for the OSP was GH¢188,084,732.00 out of which GH¢39,325,597.17 has so far been released, consisting of GHC36,232,522.00 for compensation of employees, Jubilee House told Amidu in its response.
Government further observed that curiously, the OSP has not accessed the amount on GIFMIS, the Government’s payments platform, adding that the Office has so far spent only GH¢308,751 on compensation of employees.
Government maintained that: “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 at 12th November 2020, shows a balance of GH¢60.47 million.”
Ending the 40-page letter of response, Jubilee House hoped that the above statement of facts settles the issues and allegations contained in Mr Amidu’s letter and that the general public will now have a clearer understanding of the very serious matters he had raised.