Okudzeto sues Mills over boards

Sam OkudzetoSam Okudzeto, a legal practitioner, has noted that Prof J.E. Atta Mills’ dissolution of Boards of all state institutions including the Bank of Ghana’s, and his decision to nominate new appointees to take up such positions is illegal, and constitute a violation of the oath which he has sworn to uphold.

In a writ of summons issued from the Fast Track Division of the High Court in Accra, dated April 22, 2009, Mr Okudzeto asked that President Mills should be restrained so that he does not contravene the laws of the land any further.

Citing BoG, whose Board he has been a member of since April 3, 2001, as an example, the plaintiff said the administration of the bank, under the law, is the responsibility of its directors.

According to him, except the ex-officio members, Board members are appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of State to hold office for 3 years, after which they are eligible for re-appointment.

On May 16, 2007, Mr Okudzeto says he was re-appointed to the governing Board of BoG for a term of 3 years effective May 1, 2007. Thus, his appointment will end on April 30, 2010.

In the case of BoG’s Board, he said it is supposed to meet at least once a month.

As he was preparing to attend its 569th Board meeting scheduled for January 29, 2009, he received a letter signed by the Secretary of the Board notifying all Board members that by a Presidential directive, all Boards of state institutions as well as parastatals had been dissolved.

The plaintiff on February 17, 2009, wrote to the Governor Bank of Ghana and drew his attention to the purported illegal act of President Mills and the need to call a meeting within 7 days.

“To date, the Governor has failed or refused to call a meeting of the Board as mandated by the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612).”

By a letter dated April 15, 2009, and signed by J.K. Bebaako-Mensah, Secretary to the President, Board members of BoG were formally notified that President Mills has decided to withdraw the appointment of external directors from the Board of BoG.

Mr Okudzeto continued that reasons given for his removal as well as other members of the Board does not fall under any of the grounds for the removal of Board members.

This decision, he continues, has affected several governing Boards of other state institutions and parastatals which are governed by Acts of Parliament as well as Boards of limited liability companies established under the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) in which the state has shares and representatives.

“The act of the President in purporting to nominate new appointees to the Board of BoG and all state institutions which are governed by Acts of Parliament when the fixed terms of the members of the Boards had not expired is illegal and a flagrant violation of the oath which he has sworn.”

Mr Okudzeto is further seeking a court order restraining the Attorney-General and President Mills from swearing in the purported new appointees to the governing Board of BoG. Also, he is seeking an order to compel Dr Paul Acquah to convene forthwith regular meetings of BoG’s current Board to deliberate on matters affecting the monetary policies of the country.

By Samuel Boadi