The Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwame Baffoe Abronye, popularly known as Abronye DC, has filed a court action over the emoluments said to have been approved by Parliament for spouses of the President and the Vice President.
In the application filed at the Supreme Court on Thursday, July 8, 2021, Abronye DC prayed the apex court to rule that the Presidential Spouse Emoluments are null and void.
Abronye DC insisted that the First and the Second Ladies do not fall under Article 71 officer holders, hence the committee set up to determine salaries and gratuities for Article 71 officeholders erred in its recommendation.
“A declaration that the approval by Parliament to pay salaries to the First and Second Ladies is inconsistent with Article 71 clauses 1 and 2 of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana and consequently be declared null, void, and unenforceable.”
“A declaration that, per article 71 (1) and (2), the position of the First and Second Ladies of Ghana do not fall under the category of public officeholders.”
Mr. Abronye also contended that the Emoluments Committee exceeded its mandate by making recommendations for emoluments for presidential spouses and that the committee was only limited to determining “salaries and other benefits and privileges of only public officeholders.”
By this action, Abronye DC is invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the South Dayi constituency, Rockson Dafeamakpor, and his counterpart for Builsa South, Clement Apaak have also jointly filed a similar action at the Supreme Court.
They want the court to declare that the Professor Ntiamoah-Baidu Committee tasked to make recommendations in respect of salaries and allowances payable to Article 71 officeholders exceeded its mandate by making recommendations for emoluments to be extended to the spouses of the president and the vice president.
They thus want the court to stop the government from making any payment to the spouses of the president and vice president.
“It is instructive to point out that we find the attempt to institutionalize the payment of salaries to the spouses of the President and the Vice President as an attack on the constitution of the country.”
“The provisions of article 71 of the 1992 Constitution is elaborate and unambiguous by listing the public officials bound to draw their salaries from the Consolidated Fund.”
Since it came to the public domain that Parliament had already approved the emoluments for the First and Second Ladies –Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia– some Ghanaians have expressed their unhappiness with the move.
Some directly chastised the Akufo-Addo government for the development, but Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, explained that the payment of the said allowances is not a new phenomenon and that it was instituted under the Kufuor administration, but was only being formalized by the current government.
According to him, the allowance payments were instituted under the Kufuor administration.
“President Kufuor, in his wisdom, instituted this because of the bad situations of some spouses of some former heads of states then. President Mills and Mahama even increased the rates of these benefits during their time.”
He said past first and second ladies had all benefited from such payments.