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Judgement against spousal salary payment: We need to look at it again – Mould-Iddrisu

Betty Compressed Ghana

Former Attorney-General Betty Mould-Iddrisu has called for a second look at the Supreme Court judgment on the payment of salaries to the First and Second Ladies. She believes that the work that the first and second ladies do is enormous yet they do not have the resources to fund them. “I believe the work the First and Second ladies do is so much. They don’t have the resources to cover the cost of the work they do. I believe we need to look at this again,” she told TV3’s Kemnini Amanor on the Hot Issues on TV3 Sunday, April 28.

The Supreme Court has ruled that payment of salaries to the First and Second Ladies is unconstitutional. The decision of the apex court followed a suit by Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as ‘Abronye’ seeking to reverse the payment of salaries approved for First and Second Ladies.

A five-member committee led by Prof Ntiamoa-Baidu was set up in June 2019 by President Akufo-Addo to make recommendations to him and Parliament on the salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available to Article 71 officeholders. But following the recommendations, Abronye went to the Supreme Court with the following reliefs.

  1. Declaration that the approval by Parliament to pay salaries to the First and Second ladies is inconsistent with ARTICLE 71 CLAUSES 1 AND 2 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana and consequently be declared null, void and unenforceable.
  2. Declaration that, per Article 71 (1) and (2); the positions of the First and Second ladies of Ghana do not fall under the category of Public Office holders.
  3. Declaration that, per Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana; the Emolument Committee is limited to recommending the salaries and other benefits and privileges of only public office holders.
  4. The declaration that, 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 necessarily be paid from public funds; without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and dully passed into law.
    My Lords, this statement of case, is filed by the Plaintiff in accordance with Rule 46 of the Supreme Court Rules, 1996 (C.l. 16).

Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo who presided over the 7-member panel of Judges however dismissed all but one of the reliefs being sought by South Dayi Member of Parliament, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor whose suit was similar to that of ‘Abronye’. The court held that Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor focused on the recommendations of the committee whereas Abronye focused on the actions of Parliament. The court also dismissed the fourth relief sought by the NPP Bono Regional Chairman, Kwame Baffoe.

Here are the reliefs sought by Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor which were dismissed by the Supreme Court:

  1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Prof. Ntiamoah-Badu 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 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-Badu 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 the Constitution.
  3. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution, the Prof Ntiamoah-Badu 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 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, are null, void and of no effect.
  5. An order declaring the recommendations in respect of privileges, facilities, salaries and allowances payable to the 1st and 2nd ladies of the Republic as unconstitutional and void.
  6. An order restraining the President of the Republic or any other arm, ministry, department, or agency of the executive from implementing any recommendations of the Prof Ntiamoah Committee which pertains to the 1st and 2nd Ladies of the Republic.

Other justices on the panel were Justice Gabriel Pwamang, Justice Avril Lovelace-Johnson, Justice Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Barbara Ackah-Yensu, Justice Samuel Asiedu and Ernest Gaewu.

By: Laud Nartey

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