Deputy Attorney General (A-G), Joseph Dindiok Kpemka has clarified that the Supreme Court (SC) ruling in upholding the eligibility of the appointment of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor (SP) at the age of 66 following a suit placed before it did not give an omnibus ruling that all other public officers can hold offices after 65 years, MyNewsGh.com reports.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tempane constituency asserted that persons who make such claims referencing the ruling will only be reading their own opinion into the SC’s decision as the Court stated that the office of the SP is a special purpose vehicle meant to fight corruption and cannot be in contemplation of Article 190 (1) of the constitution.
In a 5-2 majority decision on Wednesday [May 13], the SC dismissed a motion filed by former Deputy Attorney General, Dominic Ayine who sought to seek a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (1), 199 (4) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retiring age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1) (d).
Dr Ayine had argued that Mr Amidu was 66 when he was appointed as the Special prosecutor and therefore per the laws of Ghana he was ineligible to hold the office. It was his contention that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (1), 199 (4) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the retiring age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1) (d) was 60 years and not beyond 65 years.
The judges who were in favour of the dismissal include, Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, Justices Bafffoe Bonnie, Marfo Sau, Nene Amegatse and Prof Ashie Kotey with Justices Sulley Gbadegbe and Agnes Dodzi dissenting.
Dominic Ayine in a media interview after the ruling stated that it only goes to create a leeway for retirees to be called back into public offices or given extended time to serve which will be problematic in the future.
But the Deputy Attorney General Joseph Dindiok Kpemka in an interview on JoyNews’s ‘PM Express’ program on Wednesday [May 13], monitored by MyNewsGh.com, indicated that Dr. Ayine’s statement is a misrepresentation of the fact as stated by the Court.
“The Court did not make a General and categorical statement that people above 65 years can work in the public sector. That is not what the Court said.
The Court made a distinction between what Hon. Dominic Ayine was asking for and the office of the Special Prosecutor. There was a clear distinction made by the Court.
What the Court said was that, the office of the SP is specialized and not in contemplation of Article 190(1) as espoused by Hon. Ayine and that has been our position all along…We have tried to draw a distinction between public officer and public office and we said that the office of the SP is a special purpose vehicle. It is not one that is contemplated by the said Article 190 and the Justices of the Supreme Court agreed with that distinction that we drew their attention to but they did not in any way endorse that all other public officers even if they are above 65 should continue to hold office.
They haven’t said so and we should not read anything into the judgement apart from what the learned Justices of the Supreme Court indicated today.”
“Our argument has been very simple. We urged the Court to draw a distinction between public office simplicita as argued by the learned former Deputy A-G and public office with relations to office of the SP which is a special vehicle meant to fight corruption and we said that the office is not contemplated by the said Article 190 and the Justices agreed with us.
It did not give an omnibus ruling that all other public officers can hold offices after 65. To say so will be reading ones own opinion into the decision.” He told host, Evans Mensah.
Not convinced with the explanation offered by the Deputy A-G [Dindiok Kpemka], Dr. Dominic Ayine who was also a panelist on the show in disputing the account of the Deputy A-G stated that the Court did not explain its ruling.
“I am wondering how my predecessor came by the reasons given by the Court…He said that the Court has drawn distinctions. I was in Court today, I listened to the judgement, no reasons were given.
The CJ, Anin Yeboah basically said by 5/2 decision and then he listed them as the members of the majority and the minority Judges who dissented and then said the writ of the plaintiff is hereby dismissed and that we should go to the registry of the Court tomorrow for the judgement.
So I am at a loss as to where my brother is drawing the distinction from except to say that maybe he is anticipating that the Justices adopted wholesale, maybe hook, line and sinker for want of a better expression the argument of the learned AG.
I find the distinction Hon. Kpemka is drawing to be an enterprise in sophistry.
I’m saying so because a public officer is a product of the public office and so the public officer must draw his legal legitimacy from the public office as created by law.
Our point has been that the office of the Special Prosecutor was a creature of Article 190 of the constitution so it means that the retirement ages stipulated under Article 190 (1) and 199 (4) must apply to him.” The Bolgatanga East MP indicated.
Article 190 (1) of Ghana’s constitution reads “The Public Services of Ghana shall include (a) the Civil Service, the Judicial Service, the Audit Service, the Education Service, the Prisons Service, the Parliamentary Service, the Health Service, the Statistical Service, the National Fire Service, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Police Service, the Immigration Service; and the Legal Service; (b) public corporations other than those set up as commercial ventures; (c) public services established by this Constitution; and
(d) such other public services as Parliament may by law prescribe.”
Article 199 (4) also reads “Notwithstanding clause (1) of this article, a public officer who has retired from the public service after, attaining the age of sixty years may, where the exigencies of the service require, be engaged for a limited period of not more than two years at a time but not exceeding five years in all and upon such other terms and conditions as the appointing authority shall determine.”
Source: MyNewsGh.com/ Evans Osei-Bonsu/ 2020.