21.02.2005 General News

"JAK must go back to read the Constitution" - Adjaho

By Network Herald
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... Nomination of Minister At Office Of The President Is Illegal ...deputy minister to a non-existing Ministry? The Deputy Minority Leader Edward Doe Adjaho has questioned the constitutionality of last Thursday's nomination of Mrs. Mercy Bampo Addo as Deputy Minister in the Office of the President. Adjaho's position was that in the President's haste to give jobs to his cronies, he overlooked provisions of the constitution on the appointment of deputy ministers who in fact are to assist substantive ministers. “The nomination of Mrs. Mercy Bampo Addo is a taint with unconstitutionality and I think the President must go back to read the Constitution well and do the proper thing” he said. Brandishing Article 79 of Clause1 which stipulates “ the President may, in consultation with a Minister of State and with the prior approval of Parliament appoint one or more deputy ministers to assist the minister in performance of his functions” the minority's deputy leader cautioned against what he thought was a clear act of illegality. Speaking in an interview in Accra he said the position of a deputy minister, which is to assist a substantive minister, would be meaningless if indeed there was no minister to deputise for. “ There is presently no Minister in the Office of the President who the President consulted before nominating Mrs. Mercy Bampo Addo so her appointment is unconstitutional. Who is she a deputy minister to and which Minister did the President consult before submitting her name to Parliament for approval?” Doe Adjaho, who is also the MP for Ave-Avenor said during the NPP's first term in office he drew government's attention to a similar situation when though the Ministry of Presidential Affairs had been scrubbed with then Minister, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey sent to another Ministry, the beleaguered Alhaji Moctar Bamba who was the deputy was still in office assisting no known Minister. Adjaho, who is a lawyer, submitted that though article 58 of the Constitution reserved the President the right to exercise the executive power to appoint and disappoint anyone as minister, “ the appointment of deputy minister the Constitution is clear ought to be done in consultation with the sector minister”. “If there was no minister in charge of a particular ministry, then by virtue of Article 79 Clause 1 of the 1992 Constitution, the President has no one to consult therefore cannot nominate anyone to that ministry as a deputy. In other words the President cannot nominate anyone as a deputy minister to a yet to be established or non-existing Ministry.” He argued that if in all probability, Mrs. Bampo Addo is to deputise for Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani who has been nominated as minister for Presidential Affairs, and thus President Kufuor consulted him before nominating her, it is still an act of illegality because Mr. Mpiani has not been vetted and approved by Parliament as Minister of State hence cannot be consulted. “I am not against the nominee but the provisions of the constitution must be respected at all times and the President must do the proper thing. You can a minister in the Office of the President and have a deputy Minister to assist the minister but when there is a deputy without a minister, then whom is he assisting? Who was consulted in the first place before the nomination?”

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