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Supreme Court rules payment of renumeration to first, second ladies unconstitutional

Ghana’s Supreme Court has ruled that Parliament’s decision to allow the wives of the President and Vice President to be paid was unconstitutional.

The First Lady and the Vice President’s wife do not qualify as public officeholders, hence the supreme court claims that the permission is in conflict with the 1992 constitution.

This comes after Kwame Baffoe, also known as Abronye, the Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), launched a lawsuit against the Attorney General in July 2021.

The NPP Chairman was requesting, among other things, a “declaration that the positions of the ladies do not fall under the category of Public Office holders per Article 71(1) and (2).”

The writ added that “… Per Articles 108 and 178 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana: Parliament, cannot on its own accord, initiate or approve payment of any such emoluments which would necessarily be paid from public funds, without a bill to that effect emanating from and introduced by the Government and duly passed into law.”

Once more, the suit asked the court to rule that the First and Second Ladies’ salaries were approved by Parliament in violation of Article 71 clauses 1 and 2 of the Republic of Ghana’s 1992 constitution, and as a result, the decision should be deemed null, void, and unenforceable.

The court, which was presided over by Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo and had seven members, granted the Bono Regional Chairman three of the four reliefs that were requested.

Mr. Abronye’s fourth relief was denied. He asked the court to rule that parliament cannot, by itself, start or approve the payment of any such emoluments, which would have to come from public funds, unless a bill containing that language is introduced by the government, approved by the legislature, and duly signed into law.