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Dominic Ayine goes to court over double salary

BY: Mabel Aku Baneseh
Dominic Ayine goes to court over double salary
Dominic Ayine goes to court over double salary

A former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Dr Dominic Akurintinga Ayine is in court to seek the protection of his fundamental human rights over allegations that he together with some former Members of Parliament (MPs) received double salaries.

He has filed a motion on notice for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.

The Attorney-General, the Controller and Accountant General and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) are the first, second and third defendants in the case.

Dr Ayine is seeking a declaration that he was entitled as of right to notice from the Controller and Accountant General detailing all payments made to him from the period of May, 2013 to December, 2016 as a matter of administrative justice.

He is also praying the court to declare that the failure by the Controller and Accountant Genearl to furnish him with evidence of excess payments supposedly made to him which forms the basis of the Inspector General of Police actions was  contrary to due process and the requirements of administrative justice and therefore, null and void.

The former Deputy Attorney-General is seeking an order directed at the Controller and Accountant General to furnish him with a statement of account detailing all payments made to the him from May, 2013 to December, 2016 inclusive of all statutory deductions.


He is seeking a further declaration that from the overall circumstances of the case, the purported investigation and his arrest were violation of his right to human dignity because “the actions serve no legitimate public or governmental purpose except that they are designed to harass, denigrate and belittle the applicant for partisan political purposes.”

Investigative Powers

The applicant, through his lawyer, Godwin Edudzi Tamekloe, is praying the court to declare that the investigative powers of the Inspector General of Police were not at large but were bounded by the requirements imposed by law, including the requirement that there must be a reasonable basis or probable cause for suspecting the commission of a crime before an arrest may be effected.

“A declaration that the reference to the “requirements imposed by law” in Article 23 of the Constitution is not only a reference to procedural due process but also a reference to substantive due process and that the absence of a substantive basis for the actions of the 3rd Respondent contravenes the Applicant’s fundamental right to due process,” one of the reliefs being sought stated.

A further declaration that the investigative and arrest powers of the IGP cannot be exercised in an arbitrary and capricious manner contrary to the requirements of Article 23 of the Constitution as well as order directed at the IGP to cease and desist from taking any further action in this matter until the final determination of this case.

Affidavit

An affidavit in support of the motion deposed to by the applicant, who is also the MP for Bolgatanga East, stated that prior to his being appointed Deputy Attorney General, he had already started receiving remuneration from the Accounts Department of Parliament notwithstanding that there was no prior written communication of any terms and conditions of service to him. 

The applicant said he was informed during orientation organised by Parliament to give his account details to the Accounts Department for the processing of his salary and related entitlements, which he duly complied. 

“That upon my appointment as Deputy Attorney General I was also informed that I was entitled to a “top-up salary” in recognition of the additional responsibilities I had assumed as Deputy Attorney General,” the affidavit in support pointed out.

He said “that I was once again asked to submit my account details to the Office of the President for the processing of my top-up salary and I duly complied by supplying the same account details that I had given to the Accounts Department of Parliament.”

Excess Salary

According to the applicant, from the depositions and attached exhibits, it was patent that his salary as determined by the Emoluments Committee for each month of service from May, 2013 to December 2016 was far in excess of the two payments from Parliament and the Controller and Accountant General put together.

He said it was, therefore, erroneous to claim that he received “double salary” when as a matter of fact “my employer, the Republic of Ghana, underpaid me throughout the period of my service as Deputy Attorney General/ Member of Parliament.”

He further deposed that in the event that I was overpaid, as claimed by the respondents, he was prepared to reconcile accounts and to refund any excess payments inadvertently made to him.

The applicant is arguing that he took no active steps, either illegally, dishonestly or fraudulently to procure any such excess payments from the state.

Arrest

Dr Ayine averred that the actions of the IGP in investigating and arresting him for stealing contrary to section 124 of the Criminal and Other Offenses Act, 1960 (Act 29) were a violation of his fundamental right to human dignity as the sole purpose, according to him was to “degrade, belittle and harass” him for political gain as there was no legitimate criminal justice purpose to be served by such an investigation.

The applicant averred that the IGP’s actions were capricious and actuated by malice.

“That the line of action being pursued by the respondents jointly and severally is contrary to the settled practice within the public service of reconciling accounts and requesting refunds in the event of any overpayments,” the applicant averred.

Previous Payments

Dr Ayine further averred that in 2010, when five former ministers in the previous government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) were overpaid by the State, the Auditor-General wrote to the then Chief of Staff on May 5, 2010 directing that the said ex-ministers be made to refund the excess payments.

From the foregoing, the applicant argues that it was fair and just in the circumstances for the Court to order a reconciliation and settlement of accounts between him and the Controller and Accountant-General.

“That is fair and just in the circumstances for this honourable court to order that the 3rd Respondent ceases and desists from continuing the degrading treatment being meted out to me as if I am a common criminal without any reasonable basis either in fact or in law for such treatment,” the applicant concluded and accordingly prayed the court to grant his reliefs in the interest of justice.