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SIGA clarifies dissolution of boards

BY: Kester Aburam Korankye
Executive Director of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng
Executive Director of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng

The Executive Director of the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, has explained that the presidential directive on the dissolution and reconstitution of statutory boards and corporations does not affect state-owned enterprises (SoEs) that are limited liability companies and those listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).

Consequently, he said, SIGA had written to the Office of the Chief of Staff to issue a communique to that effect to help bring clarity to the matter.

Mr Boateng disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday to throw more light on the directive issued by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, last Tuesday.

He said SIGA’s request for clarity followed anxiety and doubts expressed by some directors of SoEs and investors following the issuance of the directive two days ago.

He added that the authority had also appealed to the Presidency for a special dispensation for institutions under the authority which would require  exemptions for them to function affectively.

The directive, which was issued on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said: “Pursuant to Section 14 (1) of the Presidential (Transition) Act, 2012 (Act, 845), all persons appointed by the President or a Minister of State as members of statutory boards and corporations ceased to hold that office on 7th January, 2021.” 

Commercial entities

Mr Boateng, however, explained that the directive was directed at statutory bodies alone, and that it did not affect SoEs set up for commercial ventures.

Those included the GCB Bank, the National Investment Bank (NIB), the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), the Ghana Airport Company Limited, the Produce Buying Company (PBC) and the State Housing Company, he said.

“Members of the boards and chief executives of such companies set up for commercial purposes will only be removed in accordance with the articles of incorporation of the companies and the Companies Act,” Mr Boateng said. 

CEOs of public Corporations

Per Section 14 of the Presidential (Transition) Act 2012 (Act 845), heads of public corporations were to cease to remain in office at the end of a President’s tenure, but the Supreme Court, in June 2019, declared that unconstitutional.

In a unanimous decision, a seven-member panel of the court, presided over by the then Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, held that per Article 190 Clause 1(b) of the 1992 Constitution, public corporations were part of the public services of Ghana and, therefore, their heads were public service officers whose appointments were protected by the constitution.

According to the court, the appointments of such public service officers were governed by Article 195 of the constitution.

The removal of such public service officers, it held, must, therefore, be done in accordance with the terms and conditions of their contract of engagement or it must be justified, as stipulated in Article 191 of the Constitution.

“To the extent that Section 14 of the Act requires the chief executives or directors-general (however described) of public boards or corporations to cease to hold office upon the assumption of office by a person elected as President of the Republic of Ghana, the same is hereby declared to be unconstitutional and void for being in contravention of articles 190 and 191 of the Constitution,” the court held.

The judgment by the Supreme Court affects all public corporations under Article 190 Clause 1(b) of the 1992 Constitution. These are public corporations not set up for commercial ventures.

They include the National Petroleum Authority, the Forestry Commission, the National Communications Authority (NCA), the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Petroleum Commission, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).