Kwabena Agyapong Asked To Reinstate And Apologise To Opare Hammond, Okudzeto


Kwabena Agyapong, NPP General Secretary
The Constitutional Committee of the NPP has asked party’s General Secretary to reinstate NPP’s Directors of Finance and Communications.

The two directors, Fred Opare Hammond and Perry Okudzeto were asked by the General Secretary Kwabena Agyapong to proceed on leave last month.

But the Committee described the decision by its General Secretary as improper.

Chaired by former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, the Committee said that decision was without consultation.

The committee also held that the General Secretary ‘clearly violated the Director of Finance’s constitutional rights’ when he alleged that he was removed from office for committing some acts bordering on financial improprieties.

The committee therefore asked Kwabena Agyapong ‘to retract same and apologise to the Director of Finance’.

‘It is hoped that going forward, officers of the Party as highly placed as the General Secretary, will desist from such unhealthy actions which may only expose the Party to avoidable but costly legal suits.’

 
Find the committee’s opinion below
Legal Opinion on recent developments within the New Patriotic Party (NPP)

Article 9 B (b) of the NPP Constitution
The Constitutional Committee has observed with concerns recent happenings in the New Patriotic Party (NPP). The interpretation and application of the NPP Constitution by certain officers of the party in the matter relating to the appointment of staff and purported termination of the appointment of some staff has also been of immense interest to the Committee.

The Constitutional Committee is set up pursuant to article 9 B (b) of the NPP Constitution. Among the functions of the committee set out thereunder, the Committee is mandated by article 9 B (b) (ii) and (iii) to advise the National Council and National Executive Committee on the smooth operation of the Party’s Constitution and assist in the resolution of any conflict between the various organs of the Party in the implementation of the Party’s Constitution. The committee is also required to submit to the National Council and National Executive Committee proposals for the development and implementation of the Constitution.

This opinion is in fulfilment of the constitutional duties of the Constitutional Committee and will, with the view to shedding light on the legal way forward, address the following:

Who is responsible for the operations and management of the Party

Appointment of Deputy Communication Directors
Directives for certain officers to proceed on leave

 
Who is responsible for the operations and management of the Party

The framers of the NPP Constitution in a very clever fashion and with the view to avoid an over concentration of power in a single individual, officer or organ of the Party, contains a litany of provisions to ensure collaboration between a number of senior officers of the Party in the smooth operation and management of the Party.

The very first organ which is accorded the responsibility of directing the affairs of the Party in between meetings of the National Delegates Conference is, the National Council. In this regard, the National Council is given the power to give such directives as may be necessary to the National Chairman. Please see article 9 B.

In view of the composition of the National Council and because the National Council does not meet regularly (it is obliged to meet at least twice a year), article 9 (c) entrusts the National Executive Committee (NEC) with the duty of directing and overseeing the operations and activities of the Party. The NEC is subject to the directives of the National Council and meets at least once in every three (3) months. It would be noted that the composition of NEC itself demonstrates such a broad representation that it is impossible for one person to dominate in the matter relating to the administration of the Party. For the purpose of effectively administering the Party efficiently and effectively, the Constitution empowers NEC to form Sector Committees.

The framers of the Constitution aware of the fact that NEC meets at least once every 3 months and may thus not be able to oversee the daily running of the Party’s affairs, specifically and in mandatory terms, addresses the question of who should have oversight of the daily management of the Party.

Article 9 1 of the Constitution (page 50) clearly stipulates that the Steering Committee of the NECshall be responsible for overseeing daily management of the Party and shall act on behalf of the Party on urgent matters. Again, the composition of the Steering Committee leaves no room for one individual to predominate or have an overbearing status in the daily management of the Party’s affairs. The Committee is of the view that in the daily running or organization of the Party, the Steering Committee has a pre-eminent role to play and cannot be sidelined or side-stepped. Any attempt to do so will amount to a violation of the Constitution or an usurpation of the constitutional duty of the Steering Committee.

The Committee observes that the apparent conflict between some members of the NEC/Steering Committee on one side and the General Secretary on the other side, is attributable to a misconstruction of the duty of the General Secretary under article 9 F (iv) of the Constitution. Article 9 F(iv) stipulates that the General Secretary is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Party’s National Secretariat and coordinating the activities and operations of the Party and all employees of the Party at Constituency, Regional, External and National levels.

The Committee cannot fathom how this responsibility to oversee the operations of the Party’s National Secretariat and coordinating the activities of the Party and its employees, can conflict with the power to oversee the daily management of the Party expressly granted to the Steering Committee of NEC by the Constitution. Neither can the Committee understand how this power given to the General Secretary, can amount to a power to appoint personnel and officers of the Party when the Constitution in a separate provision (which will be discussed below), explicitly provides for same. In plain terms, the combined effect of article 9 1 and article 9 F (iv) enjoins the Steering Committee to have general oversight responsible for the daily management of the Party whilst the direct supervision of the National Secretariat and coordination of the work of the employees is given to the General Secretary.

It stands to reason that the General Secretary should be bound by directives of the Steering Committee of NEC (of which he is a member), and which is empowered by NEC and the Constitution to be in charge of the daily management of the Party. In point of fact, article 9 F(iv) categorically states that the General Secretary shall perform his duties in accordance with the directives of the NEC. If the Steering Committee is an organ of NEC and is responsible for the daily management of the Party, it goes without saying that the General Secretary is bound by directives of the Steering Committee (of which he is part). This becomes more obvious when consideration is made of the fact that a construction of all the various provisions of the Constitution referred to above, points to a clear intention of the framers to avoid devolution of power onto one person or officer.

 
Appointment of Deputy Communication Directors
Article 9 F (ii) in explicit terms, vests the NEC with the power/discretion to appoint personnel of the National Secretariat, apart from the General Secretary and National Organiser who are elected by the National Delegates Conference. For the avoidance of doubt, article 9 F (ii) stipulates thus:

‘The National Secretariat shall consist of the General Secretary, the National Organiser, the Director of Finance, the Director of Communications, the Director of Campaign Strategy and such other personnel as the National Executive Committee may appoint.

It is beyond controversy that if Deputy Communication Directors are part of the Secretariat then NEC has the sole prerogative of appointing them. This is clear. Nowhere is the General Secretary or any other officer or organ of the Party given the power to appoint such personnel. Indeed, for the sake of emphasis and to avert future controversy, it is hereby stated that only NEC has the power to appoint all other personnel of the Secretariat.

It follows from the foregoing that the recent appointment of Deputy Communications Directors is unconstitutional, to the extent that same was without the blessing of the NEC. The General Secretary is humbly requested to reverse them for due process to be followed.

 
Directives for certain officers to proceed on leave

The Committee observes that some officers of the Party, particularly, the Director of Communications and the Director of Finance, have been asked by the General Secretary to proceed on leave. This apparently was without any consultation of the NEC or its Steering Committee. The Committee respectfully considers this an anomaly. In the light of the provisions of the Constitution referred to above, which enjoins collaboration between the General Secretary and the Steering Committee/NEC, as well as the fact that the Steering Committee is responsible for the daily management of the affairs of the party, the Committee finds the directive given by the General Secretary for those officers of the Party to proceed on leave, improper.

Account also ought to be taken of the fact that the officers were appointed by the NEC. In so far as the directive of the General Secretary was novel, NEC should have been made aware of the said directive by the General Secretary. The Committee considers it strange that the body which is constitutionally responsible for the daily management of the Party should not be informed in advance of a decision by the General Secretary for a senior officer to proceed on leave.

In the peculiar case of the Director of Finance, the Committee finds the comments by the General Secretary on an Accra-based radio station PEACE FM, that the Director of Finance was removed from office for committing some acts bordering on financial improprieties, grossly unlawful and unwarranted.

In the first place, it would be recalled that the Director of Finance was asked to proceed on leave. He was not removed from office or dismissed. Clearly, it implies that even as of now, he is still Director of Finance.

Secondly, prior to the directive for him to proceed on leave, he was not charged with the commission of any act of financial impropriety. Neither was any allegation of financial malfeasance made against him. Clearly, this allegation by the General Secretary now comes after the facts and is impermissible in the eyes of the law.

Thirdly, if the General Secretary contemplated a dismissal of the Director of Finance on the ground of his having committed any financial malpractice, natural justice necessarily dictates that the specific charge of financial malpractice should have been leveled against him for him to be given a hearing before disciplinary proceedings would be instituted against him in line with the Party’s Constitution. It is trite learning that where any decision adverse to the interests of a citizen is to made by any person, that person ought to be given a hearing. The General Secretary clearly violated the Director of Finance’s constitutional rights with the allegations he made on PEACE FM. We respectfully call on him to retract same and apologise to the Director of Finance.

It is hoped that going forward, officers of the Party as highly placed as the General Secretary, will desist from such unhealthy actions which may only expose the Party to avoidable but costly legal suits.

The Committee respectfully entreats all officers of the Party to act in accordance with the tenets of the NPP Constitution, especially bearing in mind that the Constitution does not allocate to any specific individual supremacy of powers. The Constitution clearly envisages harmony and concert of the various organs and individuals.

 
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