A seven-member panel of the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice, Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo has fixed February 28, next year to deliver judgement in the two separate suits challenging the payment of salaries approved for First and Second Ladies.
The two separate actions are challenging the Parliament approved recommendations of the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee on emoluments for Article 71 office holders for which spouses of President Akufo Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia will receive the same monthly salaries as Cabinet Ministers.
Rockson Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Clement Apaak who is also the MP for Builsa South Constituency and Nii Tackie Commey all together sued the Attorney General to reverse the payment of emoluments for First and Second Ladies.
Also, in a separate action, the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Kwame Baffoe, popularly known as ‘Abronye’ filed a similar action against the Attorney General.
In Court on Wednesday, December 13, when the two cases were called separately, the panel chaired by the CJ fixed February 28, to deliver judgement.
This was after the parties – Plaintiffs and their lawyers moved their cases and same were responded to by the Attorney General Represented by Deputy Attorney General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah.
Counsel for the Plaintiffs in the Dafeamakpor’s action, George Kodzo Adabadze said his team is relying on all documents filed particularly their statements of case.
“We are before you basically challenging the extension of allowances of salaries to the wives of the President and Vice President,” Counsel submitted.
He submitted again that, he relied on all documents filed and argued that Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee, exceeded their jurisdiction.
“We are saying that they have exceeded their jurisdiction,” Counsel said.
Lawyer Esinam Kporku, who was representing lead counsel for Kwame Baffoe also known as Abronye DC while moving her client’s case said they rely on all processes filed particularly the Plaintiff’s Statement of Case.
Young Lawyer Essinam Kporku, took turns to wow the CJ’s panel and received spontaneous applause) when she was addressing them on why her client’s is seeking the intervention of the apex court to reverse the action.
Deputy Attorney General, Diana Asonaba Dapaah, while opposing on the Dafeamakpor’s case argued that no cause of action has been raised.
“This action is premature, and no cause of action are founded on recommendations,” the Deputy AG argued and urged the Court to dismissed same.
On the other leg of the case from Abronye DC, the Deputy AG, said, the contention of the AG is that, parliament’s adoption of the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee recommendation is not unlawful.
Ms Dapaah said, that adoption by Parliament does not created any Articel 71 Office Holder.
The panel which also include Justice Gabriel Pwamang, Justice Lovelace Johnson, Justice Prof. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Justice Barbara AckahYensu, Justice Ernest Gawu and Justice Samuel Asiedu after listening to the parties fixed February 28 to deliver judgement on the two separate suits.
EIB Network’s Legal Affairs Correspondent, Murtala Inusah, who was at the Supreme Court reports that, the two cases was reheard after some members of the previous panel had retired.
The two separate young lawyers who represented the Plaintiffs George Kodzo Adabadze and Essinam Kporku (both two years at the BAR) in the separate cases received commendations from the Chief Justice’s panel for the excellent deliveries.
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 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”.
Parliament approved recommendations of the Prof Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led Committee on emoluments for Article 71 office holders for which spouses of President Akufo Addo and Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia will receive the same monthly salaries as Cabinet Ministers.