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President has power to appoint acting ministers – Martin Kpebu

A private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, says it is legal for a newly-sworn in president to appoint interim ministers until substantive ones are duly nominated, vetted, and approved by Parliament.

His comment follows the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu saying that President Akufo-Addo is acting unlawfully for allowing some of his first term Ministers hold onto their ministerial positions without following the legal process.

Mr Iddrisu cited the Supreme Court Ruling of the J. H Mensah versus Attorney General 1997 and argued that there is nothing like holding or acting ministers unless they have been nominated by President, and the legislature has vetted and approved them.

However, citing the same Supreme Court Ruling of the J. H Mensah versus Attorney General 1997, Lawyer Kpebu said, the NDC MP got it wrong.

He stressed that to avoid the situation of a vacuum in governance the apex court has granted the power to the executive to appoint holding ministers.

“The clear provision of the law, per the interpretation of the Supreme Court is that the President has power to appoint some persons to act as acting ministers pending nomination vetting and approval of substantive ministers.

“But it makes sense that naturally, the President should be given sometime to organise a new government, so in the interim some people should be giving the power to act,” he stated.

The legal practitioner further noted that until someone challenges the ruling of the Supreme Court in the 1997 case, the citizenry is bound to heed to it.

President Akufo-Addo in a letter on Monday, charged some former ministers to maintain their respective positions pending the appointment and subsequent approval of new ministers for his second term in office.

These former ministers include Ken Ofori Atta, the former Finance Minister; Alan Kyerematen, who was the Trade Minister; Alima Mahama, the former Local Government Minister and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Information Minister.

myjoyonline.com

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