Mahama has not erred in allowing ‘ministers’ to act- Law lecturer

Mahama has not erred in allowing 'ministers' to act- Law lecturer

John Mahama

A law lecturer says the president is not in breach of the law by asking outgoing ministers to hang on as caretakers in their various portfolios until substantive ministers are appointed.

Ransford Gyampo maintained the directive is only to ensure a smooth transition of government.

President John Mahama in announcing his first batch of appointees asked ministers whose tenure expired midnight of 6th January 2013 to hang on until substantive ministers are appointed.

His directive has been seen by some as problematic and with legal implications.

Senior Law Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Ernest Kofi Abotsi said the law, per a Supreme Court ruling provides that one can only act as a minister if he has received prior approval of Parliament.

He said the situation arose in 1996 when the NDC won a second term and the “Supreme Court clearly said the existing ministers cannot go about their duties acting in the position of ministers pending their approval.”

The constitution doesn’t speak about people acting in the role of Ministers, he added.

The controversy found expression in Parliament with MP for Akwapim North William Ofori Boafo raising the issue on the floor and demanding clarity from government.

Describing the statement by the MP as relevant, Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho said the situation leaves Parliament in a difficult position in undertaking its oversight duties, especially when ministers are to come before Parliament to answer questions on behalf of the executive.

Majority leader Dr. Benjamin Kumbour however said Parliament has yet to be officially informed of the directive.

But Ransford Gyampo in an interview on Joy News maintained the president has not erred in asking the former ministers to act.

He told Francis Abban the new transition act makes room for the president to allow ministers to act until substantive appointments are made.

“You don’t get sworn in on the 7 January and sack all ministers on the 8 of January,” he said, adding that will not ensure a smooth transition of power.

Whilst he did not object to the previous scenario in which chief directors are allowed to act until ministers are appointed, he maintained there is no wrong doing in asking outgoing ministers to hang on.