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Supreme Court ruling will protect the independence of constitutional bodies – Martin Kpebu



Constitutional Lawyer, Martin Kpebu, has lauded the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case involving Mr. Daniel Domelevo.

This concerns the directive from the Presidency asking former Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to proceed on leave.

According to him, the court’s unanimous decision describing the directive as unconstitutional is landmark and would go a long way to protect independent constitutional bodies in the country.

Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, he mentioned that the ruling is a step in the right direction to ensure that the president’s extensive powers are curtailed.

“You know there are seven independent constitutional bodies in the constitution.

“So with this decision on the Auditor General, it’s going to affect all the other six. So we’re looking at apart from the Auditor-General, we have the judicial service, we have the Lands Commission, almighty EC, National Media Commission, BoG that was spineless and last year financed the government with about 40 billion dollars which helped to spike inflation, so this decision will help BoG too in its independence, and you can check the IMF report where the IMF berated the BoG for its weakness – it couldn’t hold its own against the government. So this is a decision that will help.

“So it means that we are helping to cut back on the autocratic tendencies of our president because that has always been the bane of our democracy that we’ve given too much power to an executive president under Article 58 and 57 and that’s largely to blame for a lot of our problems,” he said.

The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision described as unconstitutional the directive from the presidency that asked former Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to proceed on leave.

The court also described as unconstitutional the president’s appointment of an Acting Auditor General while there was a substantive Auditor-General.

The presidency in July 2020 asked the then Auditor General to proceed on leave.

When Mr Domelevo pointed this out as unlawful, his leave was further extended from 123 days to 167 effective July 1, 2020.

Nine civil society groups sued the Attorney General over these directives.

They included the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Ghana Integrity Initiative, (GII), Citizen Movement Ghana, Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), and Parliamentary Network Africa.

They contended that the directives were unlawful since the president does not have the power to exercise such disciplinary control over independent bodies.

The Court, however, opted not to issue any other orders including stopping Mr Domelevo from proceeding on leave since he has since retired.

The case was heard by Justices Nene Amegatcher, Prof Ashie Kotey, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Getrude Torkonoo, Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu and Emmanuel Kulendi.

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