Decision to pay presidential spouses unconstitutional – Supreme Court

0
58

The Supreme Court has declared as unconstitutional the decision by Parliament for the wives of the President and Vice President to receive salaries. 

According to the apex court, the approval is inconsistent with the 1992 constitution since the First Lady and the wife of the Vice President do not fall under public officeholders.

This follows a suit filed against the Attorney General in July 2021 by the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe, popularly called Abronye.

Among other things, the NPP Chairman was seeking a “declaration that per Article 71(1) and (2), the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office holders.”

The writ added 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 duly passed into law.”

Again, the suit urged the court to declare 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.

Subsequently, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice, Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo granted three out of the four reliefs sought by the Bono Regional Chairman.

Mr Abronye’s fourth relief, which was praying the Court to to declare that 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 duly passed into law, was not granted. 

Although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) for South Dayi Constituency, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, filed a similar action, his reliefs which focused on the recommendations of the Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee were dismissed, while only one was granted.

Committee’s recommendations

The Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee submitted the report of its recommendations, dated 18 June 2020, to President Akufo-Addo.

This was in fulfilment of the Article 71 provision of the 1992 constitution which enjoins every sitting president to set up a committee before the end of his or her four-year mandate to make recommendations on emoluments for Article 71 office-holders.

The five-member committee’s report recommended, among other things, the payment of a salary equivalent to a cabinet minister who is a Member of Parliament to the First Lady while her husband is in office, and the payment of a salary equivalent to 80% of the salary of a minister of state who is an MP if the spouse served one full term as president, or 100% of the salary of a minister of state who is an MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as president.

With Second Ladies, the committee report recommended the payment of a salary equivalent to a cabinet minister who is not a Member of Parliament to a second lady while her husband is in office and, once he leaves office, the payment of a salary equivalent to 80% of the salary of a minister of state who is not an MP if the spouse served one full term as vice-president, or 100% of the salary of a minister of state who is a member of Parliament if the spouse served two or more full terms as vice-president.

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here