Oppong Nkrumah schools Haruna Iddrisu on Presidential Transition Act
The former Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has declared that the president has mandate to make previous ministers hold on to their appointment till he appoint new ones into office.
According to him, there is an act dubbed: “Presidential Transition Act” which empowers the president to exercise that right which is previously seen as illegal.
This follows comment by the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu who said there was nothing like acting Minister or caretaker.
He said so far as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is concerned the mandate of the ministers has elapsed and if they don’t follow the constitutional process and gain approval from parliament the ministers cannot pose off as ministers.
Reacting to this on Twitter, Mr Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the president through the Transition act which was passed in 2012 can exercise that function.
“The Presidential Transition Act was passed in 2012. Section 14(5) is a new provision that empowers a new President to do new things that were previously illegal,” he said.
However, a private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, said it is legal for a newly-sworn in president to appoint interim ministers until substantive ones are duly nominated, vetted, and approved by Parliament.
His comment follows the leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu saying that President Akufo-Addo is acting unlawfully for allowing some of his first term Ministers hold onto their ministerial positions without following the legal process.
Mr Iddrisu cited the Supreme Court Ruling of the J. H Mensah versus Attorney General 1997 and argued that there is nothing like holding or acting ministers unless they have been nominated by President, and the legislature has vetted and approved them.
However, citing the same Supreme Court Ruling of the J. H Mensah versus Attorney General 1997, Lawyer Kpebu said, the NDC MP got it wrong.
He stressed that to avoid the situation of a vacuum in governance the apex court has granted the power to the executive to appoint holding ministers.
“The clear provision of the law, per the interpretation of the Supreme Court is that the President has power to appoint some persons to act as acting ministers pending nomination vetting and approval of substantive ministers.”
“But it makes sense that naturally, the President should be given sometime to organise a new government, so in the interim some people should be giving the power to act,” he stated.
The legal practitioner stated that until someone challenges the ruling of the Supreme Court in the 1997 case, the citizenry is bound to heed to it.
President Akufo-Addo in a letter on Monday, charged some former ministers to maintain their respective positions pending the appointment and subsequent approval of new ministers for his second term in office.
These former ministers include Ken Ofori Atta, the former Finance Minister; Alan Kyerematen, who was the Trade Minister; Alima Mahama, the former Local Government Minister and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, former Information Minister.