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Legal arguments filed in case against spousal salaries despite refund of money to state coffers

Legal arguments have been filed in the case challenging the payment of salaries for the spouses of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia are said to have refunded the monies paid them so far to the state. However, remains pending at the Supreme Court.

Joynews has sighted legal arguments filed in support of the case by private legal practitioner Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo on behalf of his clients Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor (MP for South Dayi), Dr Clement Apaak (Builsa South Mp) and Frederick Nii Commey.

In 15 pages the lawyer puts across the case of his clients in a quest to claim the following reliefs;

  1. “A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Prof Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee appointed by the President of the Republic of Ghana under Article 71(1), only had jurisdiction to make recommendations in respect of salaries, allowances payable, facilities and privileges of Article 71 office holders under the 1992 Constitution.
  2. A further declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Prof Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee had no jurisdiction, mandate or authority to make any recommendations in respect of salaries, allowances payable, facilities and privileges of persons other than persons specified under Article 71 of 1992 Constitution.
  3. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution, the Prof Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee exceeded its jurisdiction, mandate and authority when it purported to make recommendations in respect of privileges, facilities, salaries and allowances payable to the 1ST and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana.
  4. A further declaration that the recommendations of the Committee, to the extent that it pertains to the 1st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana, are null, void and of no effect.
  5. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the Constitution, 1992, spouses of the President and the Vice President are not Article 71 office holders for the purposes of receipt of wages and emoluments.
  6. An order declaring the recommendations in respect of privileges, facilities, salaries and allowances payable to the 1st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana as unconstitutional and void.
  7. An order restraining the President of the Republic of Ghana or any other arm, ministry, department or agency of the executive, from implementing any recommendations of the Prof Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee which pertains to the 1st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana.
  8. Any further Order(s) or direction(s) as this Honourable Court may deem necessary.”

The legal arguments commence with an attack on portions of the Prof Ntiamoa-Baidu report. Specific reference is made to page 61 of the Committee’s report. This states

“The administration of President Kufour introduced the extension of courtesies, including the payment of monthly allowances, to spouses of former Heads of State/Presidents/Vice Presidents. Subsequent administrations have continued the gesture and even extended them to incumbent First and Second Ladies. The gesture remains purely humanitarian, to support, and in some cases, rehabilitate former First Ladies who were evidently struggling to subsist. However, there is no legal basis for this support. Thus, the Committee recommends that the support extended to spouses of Presidents/former Presidents/Vice Presidents/former Vice Presidents be regularized and included in the privileges of Presidents/former Presidents/ Vice Presidents/former Vice Presidents”

The lawyer argues this recommendation violates Article 71(1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution.

He explains that the Emoluments Committee is a creature of the 1992 constitution and therefore subject to the constitution.

He explains that the authority and jurisdiction of the Committee are determined by the Constitution and that the committee cannot purport to exercise any power or authority unless it is granted by the constitution.

He additionally raises concerns that the committee’s recommendation has the potential to extend the number of Article 71 Office Holders beyond the number provided for under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution. This he insists is unconstitutional.

He concludes

“The Committee’s recommendation that “Spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice-Presidents should be catered for by the State as part of privileges extended to the President/ Vice President” is clearly unconstitutional and must not be countenanced by this Court. As has been held by this Court in Yeboah v J.H. Mensah [1998-1999] SCGLR 492, “the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and all persons must look at it and adjust their actions accordingly.”

A committee created by the Constitution cannot purport to act in a manner contrary to the express provisions of the same Constitution that created it, and hope to have such a conduct upheld by the Highest Court of the Land. 5.12 It is, therefore, the prayer of the Plaintiffs that all their reliefs endorsed on their Writ will be granted by this Honourable Court.”

Myjoyonline.com

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