Supreme Court sets date to deliver judgement on Presidential spousal…

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A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court has fixed June 29, 2022, to deliver judgment in the case in which Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as Abronye DC, filed a writ to reverse the payment of salaries approved for First and Second Ladies.

The apex court fixed the date after it adopted a joint memorandum of issues filed by the parties.

Lawyers of the applicant led by Seth Gyapong Oware told the apex court that they relied on all the processes filed and do not intend to file any additional processes.

The Attorney Department, led by Sylvia Adesu, a Chief State Attorney, also told the court that, the State does not intend to file any more processes.

The panel is chaired by Justice Jones Victor Dotse.

Other members include Justice Paul Baffoe-Bonnie, Justice Lovelace Johnson, Justice Mariama Owusu, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo and Yonni Kolendi who subsequently adopted the issues filed on March 10, 2022.

The setup for determination is “Whether or not the Plaintiff has a cause of action in respect of the recommendations of the Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee?

“Whether or not upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, the Prof. Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee exceeded its jurisdiction, mandate and authority when it made recommendations in respect of privileges, facilities, salaries and allowances payable to the President and Vice President to include salaries to be paid to the 1 st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana as part of privileges, benefits and facilities of the President and Vice President respectively?

“Whether or not upon a true and proper interpretation of Articles 71, 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, Parliament on its own accord can initiate or approve payment of salaries of the 1st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic of Ghana which said salaries or emoluments will necessarily be paid from public funds without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law?”

Abronye’s action was triggered after Parliament approved recommendations of the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee on emoluments for Article 71 officeholders for which spouses of President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia will receive the same monthly salaries as Cabinet Ministers.

Background

The Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Kwame Baffoe, filed that writ after a similar application was filed by two Members of Parliament of the NDC.

Rockson Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi and Clement Apaak who is also the MP for Builsa South Constituency have all sued the Attorney General to reverse the payment of emoluments for First and Second Ladies.

In the suit, the two MPs said the decision to pay the presidential spouses is inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and hence must not see the light of day.
“…per Article 71 (1) and (2), the positions of the first and second ladies of Ghana do not fall under the category of public officeholders.
“Per Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Emolument Committee is limited to recommending the salaries and other benefits and privileges of only public office holders”.

“….per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; parliament cannot, on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments; which would be necessarily be paid from public funds; without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and passed into law,” part of the suit from the two MPs reads.

They want the Supreme Court to declare the approval of the recommendation by parliament as “null, void and unenforceable”.

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