Special Prosecutor nominee Martin Amidu has said his letter of apology to late President John Evans Atta Mills in 2012, after he fell out with the late professor over what he called attempts to conceal “gargantuan” corruption within that administration, was “reprehensively” forced out of him by late Chairman of the Council of State Prof Kofi Awoonor and fellow elder of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Captain Tsikata (rtd).
It is recalled that Chief of Staff at the time, John Martey Newman, said in a statement then that: “His Excellency President John Evans Atta Mills has, with immediate effect, relieved Mr Martin Amidu of his post as Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
“The decision is as a result of Mr Amidu’s misconduct at a meeting last Friday, 13 January 2012, presided by His Excellency.
“Mr Amidu’s behaviour”, according to the statement, “is incompatible with acceptable standards expected of ministers and appointees of the President.”
A letter of apology from Mr Amidu later surfaced following which he was allegedly fired although Mr Amidu has repeatedly said he resigned.
Answering questions from Alhassan Suhuyini, MP for Tamale North and member of parliament’s Appointments Committee on Tuesday, 13 February, about whether he, indeed, wrote that apology letter, Mr Amidu told the hearing that: “This letter of apology was procured from me by the late Kofi Awoonor, an elder, a former chairman of Council of State, so you will see that at the end of it, I state and I did that carefully [that]: ‘As it is customary, I have solicited the Chairman of the Council of State and Captain Kojo Tsikata (rtd), as elders, to be kind enough to reiterate my apology to you on my behalf.”
“They [Awoonor and Tsikata (rtd)] asked me to write this letter and I’ve said it, Captain Tsikata is alive, and when Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu called me and said they wanted this letter, I told him they could sack me, but when the two of them asked me to write this letter, the first letter didn’t have Captain Tsikata’s name, my secretary, Perpetual Alatsane, who is still working, sent it to Kofi Awoonor’s office, then he added the Tsikata and when he brought it, the girl typed it and added the name.
“It was procured by the chairman of the Council of State, who said he was meeting the president that day and that he and Captain [Tsikata (rtd)] were going to the president to present it to him and that they had had certain discussions.
“At the back of my mind, I knew that they were just looking for evidence of an apology to do what they wanted to do but my custom respects age; I’ve worked with these people since 1982, so, I gave them the letter, how come that a confidential letter delivered by the chairman of the council of state to the president is now making the rounds.
“But I have already replied to this letter and stated what I’m telling you here today that it was procured from me by two elders who convinced me that this was not a matter; ‘just give us the letter and we’ll send it’. So, I wrote it. In any case, for me, I don’t see anything wrong when a young person has had a misunderstanding with an elder – somebody who has been his friend for over 35 years – and who invites him: ‘Come and help me’, and there is a breakdown of trust. Just one day, 13th, Sir Bebaako-Mensah, is alive, until the 13th, the president and myself have never had a problem, so, if we had a problem and he is older than me, in northern custom no young man is right, if I’m telling lies tell me.
“Even when you are right, you meet elders, you apologise, when you go out then they tell the man: ‘You are wrong, we just have to let him apologise’, that is what this letter means, you are a northerner, you know that,” Mr Amidu narrated to the sitting.
Asked by Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu if he accepted full responsibility for the letter, Mr Amidu said: “I accept it under the conditions I wrote it and Captain Tsikata is alive, if I’m lying… so Captain Tsikata is alive, he won’t deny it.
“I’m saying Mr Chairman that I wrote it under their persuasion, it’s my signature, it’s there, it’s mine but the circumstances under which they procured it, is reprehensible.
“Mr Chairman, I’ve said that this is my signature and I’ve explained that nothing in this world can be taken out of context and I’ve said that this is my signature and I’m saying that the circumstances under which it was procured is not a circumstance in which I would ordinarily have written it,” Mr Amidu stressed.