Appointment of caretaker ministers: Haruna Iddrisu ‘schools’ Akufo-Addo, says it’s illegal

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Haruna Iddrisu, the leader of the NDC caucus in Parliament has described as “unlawful” and “illegal” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s recent appointment of some ministers he administered the nation within his first term as ‘caretaker ministers’.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the Tamale South MP explained that in J. H. Mensah versus The Attorney General in 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that there was nothing like ‘acting’ or ‘holding’ minister.

“I have seen some former ministers still hold themselves about as if they are ministers. That is unlawful, that is illegal and unconstitutional. As we speak today, Ghana has no ministers,” Haruna Iddrisu said on Joy Prime monitored by GhanaWeb.

“The President got it wrong. Their mandate has elapsed and until they are nominated, go through vetting, secure approval of Parliament, they cannot hold themselves out as Ministers. So as far as we are concerned, there is nothing like an Acting Minister and the Supreme Court does not recognize such a position.”

Haruna Iddrisu’s comments come after President Akufo-Addo on Monday charged some of his former ministers to maintain their respective positions until new appointments are made for his second term.

The president’s recent appointment follows the expiration of his first term and the commencement of his second and last four-year term which began January 7, 2021.

The action is in accordance with the Presidential Transition Act, 2012 (Act 845), to avoid gaps in running state affairs.

The former ministers who were asked to be ‘caretaker’ ministers include Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Minister of Information, Alan Kyerematen, former Minister of Trade and Industry, Ken Ofori-Atta, former Minister of Finance; and Domini Nitiwul, former Minister of Defence.

The others are Ambrose Dery, former Interior Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, former National Security Minister and Hajia Alima Mahama, former Local Government Minister.

Eugene Arhin is also to act as Director of Communications at the presidency.

The ‘caretaker’ ministers, according to a GNA report, have been directed by the acting Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, not to take decisions involving policy issues.

The acting appointees have also been notified by the Chief of Staff’s office to be guided by a memo issued by the then Chief of Staff and Chairperson of the Presidential Transition Team, Madam Osei-Opare, in December 2020, which asked ministers to not sign any new loan agreements, engage in financial commitments and recruitment of permanent management personnel during the transition period.

President Kufuor avoided such a hurdle by carefully nominating some persons as representatives of the president at the various ministries in compliance with the supreme court judgement, but that was before the Presidential Transaction Act.

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