Five bullet strike points from AG’s response to Speaker of Parliament

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, had cause to write to the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, recently.

The letter from the AG was in response to the decision of the Speaker of Parliament to freeze the confirmation of appointments of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for some ministerial and deputy ministerial portfolios.

Justifying why he froze the confirmation of the nominees, although they had all successfully gone through the vetting process in parliament, Alban Bagbin stated that he had been cited in an injunction sought by the Member of Parliament for South Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, against the nominations made by the president.

Using President Akufo-Addo’s excuse not to receive and assent the anti-gay bill recently passed by parliament over a similar court action as his precedence, the Speaker of Parliament said he would wait until the legal proceedings are over before he allows for the nominees to be approved.

It was after this that Godfred Dame, the AG, wrote a letter to the Speaker of Parliament, condemning his move.

Here are the five (5) major points raised by the AG in his letter dated Thursday, March 21, 2024:

1. The action filed by Mr. Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, consists of a bare writ of summons. No statement of case in support of the writ has been filed as mandated by the Supreme Court Rules, 1996 (C. I. 16). It is thus correct to say, respectfully, that the suit is not properly constituted. In accordance with Rule 46(3) of C. 1. 16, such an action will be struck out where a statement of case in support of the plaintiff’s writ is not filed within fourteen (14) days.

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2. The plaintiff has not filed an application for interlocutory injunction “seeking to restrain the Speaker from proceeding with the vetting and approval of the names of the persons submitted by His Excellency the President …”, or indeed, any other interlocutory relief. Thus, there is nothing before the Supreme Court which may constitute a restraint or fetter on Parliament from proceeding with the approval of ministerial and deputy ministerial nominees presented to Parliament by the President in accordance with articles 78(1) and 79(1) of the Constitution. Please find attached the results of a search conducted at the Registry of the Supreme Court.

3. Whilst it is true that a relief stated on the writ fled on 19″ March, 2024 referred to above, purports to be an “an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Speaker of Parliament from proceeding with the vetting and approval of the names of the persons submitted by His Excellency the President to Parliament…”, it goes without saying that same is not an application for interlocutory injunction. Every application for interlocutory relief in any of the Superior Courts, as is trite, must be by a motion specifically filed and praying for the desired relief. The mere statement on a writ of summons of a prayer for interlocutory relief is inconsequential and of no effect. It does not constitute a pending motion for such a relief, and no one is required to take notice of same.

4. In any event, it is pertinent to indicate that the substance of Mr. Dafeamekpor’s suit is a challenge on the power of the President to relieve Ministers serving in his government of their portfolios and reassign them to different Ministries. It has no bearing on the approval of persons newly nominated by the President as Ministers and Deputy Ministers and duly presented to Parliament for approval in accordance with articles 78(1) and 79(1) of the Constitution.

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5. In light of the foregoing. Parliament, in my respectful view, has no inhibition in proceeding with the approval processes for the ministerial and deputy ministerial nominees. There is no risk of a prejudice to the authority of the Supreme Court in determining the substance and essence of the suit filed by Mr. Rockson-Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor should Parliament continue the approval processes for the nominees.

See the letter below:

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