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Ghana president names ex-minister as anti-graft prosecutor

ACCRA, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday named a former attorney-general as anti-graft prosecutor to probe specific cases of corruption including those committed by politicians.

There is widespread belief among civil society groups in Ghana that corruption is on the rise, especially among public office holders.

The appointment of Martin Amidu, who briefly served as attorney-general under former president John Mills, was in fulfilment of a campaign promise by Akufo-Addo ahead of elections in December 2016.

Ghana’s parliament passed a law in November establishing the office of an independent anti-graft prosecutor to fight corruption and recover looted resources.

Ghana’s courts are currently probing a 52 million cedi payment on a government contract that state prosecutors said was unjustified, while parliament on Monday began a hearing on reports the trade ministry charged foreign investors between $25,000 and $100,000 to enable them to sit close to the president at a recent dinner.

Both the trade ministry and the other accused have denied any wrongdoing.

Akufo-Addo said Amidu, who has won accolades for successfully pursuing cases of corruption in court, merited the position.

“(He) has the requisite integrity, competence, courage and independence of character to discharge effectively the responsibilities of this new office,” he said. The appointment requires approval by parliament.

Amidu was appointed by Mills as Minister of Justice in January 2012 but was fired only days after his appointment under unclear circumstances.

He has since been a critic of the government at the time, now the main opposition party, accusing some of its officials of corruption.

He had served as deputy attorney general in the last four years of Ghana’s military government under longtime ruler Jerry Rawlings. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Toby Chopra)