The Executive Director of Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) Mr. Mensah Thompson has outlined reasons for their Court actions against the approval of salary for Presidential wives/spouses.
In a statement Intercepted by Coverghana.com.gh, the management of ASEPA has touted the basis for opposing the approval of salary for the first lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and second lady Mrs. Samira Bawumia under Article 71 office holders.
This surfaced following the news of the 8th Parliament’s approval of salaries for the wife of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and wife of Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.
In the statement, Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has also made known the position of the Law under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Read below, the full statement on why ASEPA is challenging approval of salary for Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs. Samira Bawumia.
1.The Prof.Yaa Ntiamoah Committee, just like the Chinery- Hesse and Prof.Buandoh Committees, had a clear term of reference and that was to review the Salaries and Emoluments of ONLY Public Officers who fall under Article 71 of the Constitution.
2.The First and Second Lady are not recognized by any Law, enactment or any Act of Parliament yet alone to be recognized by Article 71 of the Constitution.
3.The Prof.Yaa Ntiamoah Baidoo Committee did not have the capacity to make recommendations in respect of salaries or emoluments to persons outside Article 71 and therefore its recommendations was unlawful.
4. Once the originating action which is the Prof.Yaa Ntiamoah Committee’s recommendation was unlawful, then any subsequent action taken by the President or Parliament in respect of Executive and Parliamentary Approvals is Null and Void.
5. That we want the Supreme Court to make a declaration that a review Committee recommendation cannot override a constitutional provision or an act of Parliament, neither can it amend same.
6. That a motion of interlocutory injunction would also be filed to ask the Supreme Court to place an injunction on the implementation of the Prof.Yaa Ntiamoah Committee’s recommendations in respect of salaries for first and second ladies until such a time the Court makes a full determination of the substantive issues.
7. One other key relief we would be seeking in Court would be to stop not only the payment of salaries to first and second ladies itself but also to stop the accompanying backdating to 2017.
8. The allowances paid to first/second ladies are only conventional privileges, upgrading these allowances to salaries or more or less to same status as cabinet ministers, requires more than just a review Committee’s recommendation.
9. Salaries are earned for work done and not by virtue of being a spouse to anyone, and so if the first/second ladies want to be paid salaries then there must a clear cut role for them, specified by law for which they would perform and be paid for.
10. Payment of salaries comes with responsibilities and responsibilities also comes with accountability.
Without any legal backing to the role of first/second ladies, there would be no mechanism to hold them accountable for the roles they play for which they are paid by the tax payer.
11. First and Second Ladies have foundations and NGOs for which they raise huge sums of money from all sources including businessmen,local and international corporations,private and Governmental institutions etc, they raise these resources without being accountable to anyone.
We all know by virtue of being married to the President or Vice President, first and second ladies can influence the award of contract or payment of contract and so the Country must be aware which sources the first and second ladies are raising money from for their respective foundations in order not to compromise the President or put him in a conflicting situation where companies can indirectly influence the award of contracts through bribes disguised as donations to the foundations of first and second ladies.
And so it is important
that the role of first and second ladies are regularized under the law so they can held liable or accountable for their actions as first ladies, can be opened to public scrutiny every year and their offices and foundations subjected to external audits yearly to ensure that they exercise the privileges accorded them by the State within the full ambit of the law.