The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), is set to head to the Supreme Court to seek an interlocutory injunction that would prevent President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo from implementing portions of recommendations of an Emolument Committee set up in 2019.
The five-member committee, chaired by Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu, was set up by the President to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.
The committee recommended the inclusion of spouses of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, in the salary structure of Article 71 officeholders.
The recommendation, which has been approved by Parliament, has ruffled the feathers of many, including civil society organizations and a section of the public at large.
ASEPA is seeking to get the recommendation rejected and scrapped on the basis that the ‘First Lady’ and ‘Second Lady’ are not portfolios recognized by the law.
“The Committee does not have the capacity to make recommendations for salaries to be paid to the wife of the President and Vice President, let alone recommend that they should put them on salary as cabinet ministers. [We will ask] the Supreme Court to make a declaration that the Committee’s recommendation is null and void and [seek] an interlocutory injunction to injunct the government from implementing the recommendation of the committee,” the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mensah Thompson, said.
Already, two National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) have sued the Attorney General over Parliament’s approval of the salaries for the spouses of the President and the Vice President.
The MPs, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor of South Dayi, and Dr Clement Apaak of Builsa South, are seeking a total of eight reliefs from the Supreme Court.
Some of their reliefs include a declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Prof. Ntiamoa-Baidu 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 1992 Constitution.
They are also asking for a true and proper interpretation of Article 71(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. The Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, appointed by the President 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 1992 Constitution.
Abronye DC sues
The Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe Abronye, popularly known as Abronye DC, has also filed a similar suit at the Supreme Court.
In the application filed at the Supreme Court on Thursday, July 8, 2021, and sighted by Citi News, Abronye DC prayed the apex court to rule that the Presidential Spouse Emoluments is null and void.
Presidential spouses allowance not new; it’s only being formalized now – Oppong Nkrumah
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has explained that the payment of allowances to spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents is not a new phenomenon.
According to him, the allowance payments were instituted under the Kufuor administration but were only being formalised by the current government.
“President Kufuor, in his wisdom, instituted this because of the bad situations of some spouses of some former heads of states then. President Mills and Mahama even increased the rates of these benefits during their time.”