2 MPs, one other challenge emoluments of spouses of Pres, Veep at SC

Three persons, including two Members of Parliament (MPs) have filed a writ at the Supreme Court (SC), urging it to declare some recommendations of the Professor YaaNtiamoa-Baidu Committee on salaries and emoluments of spouses of the President and the Vice President as unconstitutional.

They are Mr Dafeamekpor Rockson-Nelson, MP for South Dayi in the Volta Region, and Dr Clement Abaasinat Apaak, MP for Builsa South, in the Upper East Region, and Frederick NiiCommey, a citizen of Ghana.

In the writ filed by their counsel, Mr Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, the plaintiffs want the apex court to declare the recommendations made by the committee as null and void.  

The five-member committee, appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2019, recommended that “Spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents should be catered for by the State as part of privileges extended to the President/ Vice President.”

The committee further recommended that spouses of the President should be “entitled to Payment of a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister MP as currently pertains”, while the President is in office.

The Committee also recommended that spouses of former Presidents should be entitled to “payment of a salary equivalent to 80 per cent of salary of a Minister of State MP if spouse served one full term as President; or 100 per cent of salary of a Minister of State MP if spouse served two or more full terms as President.”

However, Mr Addo argues that committee lacked the jurisdiction to make those recommendations.

 The lawyer said that the committee’s recommendation that “Spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice-Presidents should be catered for by the State as part of privileges extended to the President/ Vice President” was clearly unconstitutional and must not be countenanced by the court. 

“As has been held by this Court in Yeboah v J.H. Mensah [1998-1999] SCGLR 492, “the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and all persons must look at it and adjust their actions accordingly.”

Mr Addo stated that a committee created by the constitution could not purport to act in a manner contrary to the express provisions of the same constitution that created it, and hope to have such a conduct upheld by the Highest Court.  

 He said that the Prof Ntiamoa-Baidu committee was a creature of the 1992 Constitution and ,therefore, subject to the Constitution, and it is also the case of the plaintiffs that the committee’s jurisdiction was confined by Article 71(1) and (2) to only persons and officers specified under Article 71.

 The writ wants the court to hold that the committee’s recommendation that “Spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice-Presidents should be catered for by the State as part of privileges extended to the President/ Vice President” is in excess of its jurisdiction and therefore null and void.”

BY MALIK SULLEMANA 

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