President’s absence from country doesn’t bar him from performing functions – Lawyer

 Samson Anyenini, a Private Legal Practitioner, has explained that the president’s absence from the country does not automatically bar him from per­forming his presidential functions.

“Even if such a decision is to be taken by the acting president, the substantive president must be consulted and the pres­ident not in the country does not mean he is incapable of performing his presidential functions while he is away,” he posited.

The sacking of Charles Adu Boahen, a Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is currently out of the country, has caused many people to raise concern over a possible contravention of the 1992 Constitution.

Article 60 (8) stipulates that “whenever the president is absent from Ghana or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the vice president shall perform the function of the presi­dent until the president returns or is able to perform”.

The concern is, in the absence of President Akufo-Addo, Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia is mandated by the Constitution to act as President and the critics contend the letter used to dismiss Mr Boahen should have been issued by the vice president, instead of the president.

However, Mr Anyenini contended that the president is not in the country but that did not mean he was incapable of per­forming his functions while he was away, obviously, he would have given instruc­tions on what ought to be done and when you are acting you cannot take such a deci­sion without reference to the president.

“At least this is a substantive major deci­sion to take, to sack or dismiss an appoin­tee of the president so you cannot in your acting capacity suo moto take that decision and given the opportunities offered by dig­ital technology, President Akufo-Addo can just through a phone call give the order to be executed,” he pointed out.

President Akufo-Addo on Monday terminated the appointment of Mr Boa­hen, with immediate effect in a statement from the Presidency, signed and issued by Eugene Arhin, the Director of Com­munications, stated that after being made aware of the allegation levelled against him in the exposé, ‘Galamsey Economy’, the president spoke to Mr Boahen, after which he took the decision to terminate his appointment, and also to refer the issue to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for further investigation.

In the said documentary by investiga­tive journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas, Mr Boahen is said to have told the undercov­er investigators that Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia needed $200,000 as an appearance fee before meeting with supposed investors.

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