A-G questions Speaker’s ruling
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A-G questions Speaker’s ruling

The decision by the Speaker of Parliament to halt the approval of ministerial nominees by Parliament has taken a new dimension, with the Attorney-General (A-G) insisting that there is nothing that legally stops Parliament from approving the nominees.

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The A-G, Godfred Yeboah Dame, in a letter dated March 21, 2024, addressed to the Speaker, Alban S.K. Bagbin, said a search conducted by his outfit yesterday (March 21, 2024) at the Supreme Court registry revealed that no such injunction application had been filed.

“The plaintiff has not filed an application for interlocutory injunction ‘seeking to restrain the Speaker from proceeding with the vetting and approval of the names of the persons submitted by His Excellency the President’ or indeed, any other interlocutory relief.

“Thus, there is nothing before the Supreme Court which may constitute a restraint or fetter on Parliament from proceeding with the approval of ministerial and deputy ministerial nominees presented to Parliament by the President in accordance with articles 78(1) and 79(1) of the Constitution,” the A-G stated in the letter.

Mr Dame also said the plaintiff, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi, had also failed to file a statement of case to his suit challenging the approval of the ministerial nominees, which meant his suit was not properly before the Supreme Court.

“The action filed by Mr Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, consists of a bare writ of summons.

 No statement of case in support of the writ has been filed as mandated by the Supreme Court Rules, 1996 (C.I. 16). It is thus correct to say, respectfully, that the suit is not properly constituted.

“In accordance with Rule 46(3) of C.I. 16, such an action will be struck out where a statement of case in support of the plaintiff's writ is not filed within fourteen (14) days,” the A-G said.

No bearing

The principal legal advisor to the government further posited in the letter that the substance of Mr Dafeamekpor’s suit should have no bearing on the vetting of the new Ministers by Parliament.

“In any event, it is pertinent to indicate that the substance of Mr Dafeamekpor's suit is a challenge on the power of the President to relieve Ministers serving in his government of their portfolios and reassign them to different Ministries.

It has no bearing on the approval of persons newly nominated by the President as Ministers and Deputy Ministers and duly presented to Parliament for approval in accordance with Articles 78(1) and 79(1) of the Constitution,” he said.

Attached to the A-G’s letter to the Speaker of Parliament was a search result from the Registry of the Supreme Court dated March 21, 2024, at 9:05 a.m., which showed that Mr Dafeamekpor had neither filed an application for interlocutory injunction or a statement of case to his suit.

However, about an hour after the search by the A-G, Mr Dafeamekpor filed the statement of case at the Supreme Court Registry, which was filed at 10:05 a.m., and the application for an order of interlocutory injunction, which was filed at 10:15 a.m.

Mr Dafeamekpor wants the Supreme Court to restrain Parliament from continuing the vetting process of the newly nominated ministers until the final determination of his suit challenging the constitutionality of ministers whose names were not presented to Parliament for vetting after their portfolios were changed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Halt

Yesterday, Parliament stopped short of considering the President’s ministerial nominees prior to adjourning sine die.

Mr Bagbin told the House the inability to consider the nominees followed an interlocutory injunction application filed by Mr Dafeamekpor.

Addressing the House prior to adjourning sine die, Mr Bagbin informed the Parliament that the court process was served on March 19, 2024.

In what seemed like a response to the presidency, the Speaker put a halt on the vetting process of the ministerial nominees after criticising the decision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to receive the anti-gay bill passed by Parliament until the determination of two suits challenging its constitutionality.

Writer’s email: [email protected]

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