A private legal practitioner, and a member of the Fidelity Law Group, Mr. Elikplim Agbemava, has this afternoon, Monday 3rd April, 2017, filed a writ to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Ghana, to among other things ‘declare a true and proper interpretation of Articles 98(1), 114,95(6),44(2) and (3),155(1),68(4),
194(5),187(14)199,203(3)(c) 208(3)(c) 223(1),235(1) and 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr. Agbemava is praying the Highest Court in Ghana to declare that ‘ the approval by the President (on the recommendation of the Committee set up under Article 71 of the Constitution) of the payment and receipt, EVERY 4 YEARS, by Members of Parliament (who are still serving or continue or intend to continue in parliament for more than one 4year term) of gratuity in the form of ‘ Ex Gratia and Pensions is indefensible, excessive,unconscionable and inconsistent with the real spirit and intendment of the 1992 Constitution and therefore unconstitutional. ‘ Portions of his writ in court reveals.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mr. Akyena Brantuo, a broadcast journalists with Ahotor Fm,
Mr. Abgemave says when he prevails in the Supreme Court, members of parliament will no longer receive pension every four years unless it is a case of death or their parliamentary career has ended after a four year term as article 144(1) succinctly articulates as follows:
A person who has served as a Member of Parliament for a period of not less than four years shall be eligible, on CEASING TO BE A MEMBER OR ON HIS DEATH, for a payment of such gratuity to him or personal representative, as the case may be, as shall be determined by the President, acting in consultation with the Committee referred to in Article 71 of this constitution. ‘
However what remains to be determine if this case prevails in court is whether the Presidents who have supervised those wrongful payments in the past will be charged for Causing Financial Lost to the State and whether or not individual parliamentarians who have received gratuity for the various four year terms they kept retaining their mandate to represent their people in parliament will be made to refund such monies as they constitute wrongful payment.
On the above, Mr. Agbemave says he leaves that to the discretion of the court as he has also asked for any consequential orders the court may deem appropriate.
Meanwhile as public outcry continue to sour following recent public disclosure of gratuity of Article 71 officeholders of the last government and the monthly salaries of some Director Generals of some State Institutions, which are ailing and others infested with debt, this landmark case may just be the last straw that will break the camels back for a final national determination on what the public servant deserves as emoluments and gratuity in a highly indebted poor country like Ghana.
Akyena Brantuo Benjamin |ahotoronline.com|Ghana