Martin A. B. K. Amidu is a Ghanaian politician. He was the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice from January 2011 till January 2012. He is the man, who introduced the word ‘gargantuan’, into the lexicon of Ghanaian politics, when he opened the can of worms about the Woyome scandal which was set to be the worst financial scandal in Ghana’s fiscal history at the time.
Amidu served as the Deputy Attorney-General for about the last four years of the Provisional National Defence Council military government. Amidu is a member of the National Democratic Congress(NDC) After civilian rule was established in the Fourth Republic in January 1993, he continued to serve in the government of Jerry Rawlings as Deputy Attorney-General. This he did for both terms lasting eight years until January 2001.
In January 2010, following a cabinet reshuffle, President Mills replaced Cletus Avoka with Amidu as the Minister for Interior. As Amidu is a Builsa, some people raised questions as to his neutrality in dealing with the Bawku conflict. He however went successfully through vetting by the Parliament of Ghana and has since assumed his post.
Following the second major cabinet reshuffle by President Mills, Amidu became the Attorney general and Minister for Justice of Ghana.
Removal from Office
Martin Amidu was relieved of his post on Thursday January 19, 2012 by President John Evans Atta Mills under circumstances described by aids as ‘his misconduct’ at a meeting chaired by the president at the Osu Castle on January 18, 2012.
He made allegations related to alleged financial impropriety on the part of another cabinet minister, allegations he was asked by the president to substantiate.
Martin Amidu, the former Attorney General, single-handedly challenged the legality of the payments after being relieved off his post at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money as Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney-General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state.
Following the delays in retrieving the money, Mr. Amidu in 2016, filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to examine Alfred Woyome, on how he would pay back the money, after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application.
In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government under the New Patriotic Party under His Excellency the President, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo and his Attorney General, Miss Gloria Akuffo’s assurance to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals Mr. Woyome in response prayed the Supreme Court to stay proceedings on the oral examination since he had filed for a review on the case. His lawyer, Ken Anku, argued that, his client will face an irreparable damage if the oral examination is allowed to take place but the deputy Attorney General, Godfred Dame, opposed the application, describing the reasons as incompetent and unmeritorious.
He has also been in private legal practice as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana and also as a private, professional conflict resolution consultant.
He has authored at least six outstanding legal publications ranging from The power of a court to convict an accused person for a lesser or included offence other than charged, through The qualification and the constitutional position of the Attorney-General to The scope and effect of judicial power in the enforcement and defence of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
His new calling as ‘citizen vigilante’ found expression in his introduction late last year, of the now very hackneyed word ‘gargantuan’ into Ghana’s politics, a word he used to describe the scale of fraud he insisted had been perpetuated by his colleagues in government against the state, especially in the fraudulent payment of court judgement debts to organisations and individuals.
Unlike many high-profile lawyers of his generation, Mr Amidu did not attend the best of second cycle schools.
After elementary school, he gained admission to a private educational institution in Tamale housed in makeshift structures and designated a commercial school by its founder and headmaster, Mr Ben Gogoe.
As the years went by, Mr Amidu was obsessed with books but especially political science books. He fed ravenously on Marx and Engels.
After law school, Mr Amidu like many young intellectuals of the time who had the outlook of ‘progressives’, drifted into the emerging leftist politics of the June Four Movement.
Mr Amidu graduated from the University of Ghana in 1976 with an LLB (Hons) and the Ghana Law School in 1978 with a Barrister/Solicitor at Law (BL) degree.
He also holds a Master of Arts Degree in Conflict Resolution from the Antioch University, Ohio, USA.
The former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice joined the NDC in 1992.
He was the party’s vice-presidential candidate in the December 2000 presidential elections which the NDC presidential candidate, the late Professor J.E.A Mills, lost to the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP’s) John Agyekum Kufuor.