A private citizen has filed a suit at the Supreme Court in which he is, among other things, praying the apex court to uphold the view that board members of public corporations cannot be removed from office merely because of a change of government.
Theophilus Donkor wants the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, to defend the suit that seeks to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court as mandated by law.
Although it is not expressly stated in the suit, the recent dismissal of board members of some public corporations seems to have triggered the invocation of the original jurisdiction of the apex court.
The Chief Executive and 11 top management staff of COCOBOD were removed from office last month, generating a controversy that the Nana Akufo-led administration may have acted illegally.
Some top staff members of Cocoa Marketing Company (CMC), a subsidiary of COCOBOD, were also asked to proceed on leave.
Theophilus Donkor’s suit also wants the Supreme Court to determine if the Presidential Transition Act, 2012 makes it a just cause for members of the governing boards of the public corporations to be removed on the whims on of a new administration.
Below are Mr Donkor’s five reliefs:
1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Articles 70(1)(iii), 190(1)(b) and 191 thereof, members of the governing boards of public corporations (hereafter “members of governing boards”) appointed pursuant to Article 70(1)(iii) of the 1992 Constitution are members of the Public Services of Ghana and accordingly cannot be removed from office or cease to hold office except for just cause;
2. A declaration that the removal from office of such members of governing boards merely on account of the assumption of office of the person elected as President of the Republic of Ghana does not amount to a just cause and is accordingly unconstitutional;
3. A declaration that to the extent that section 14 of the Presidential (Transition) Act 2012 (Act 845) requires all members of governing boards appointed by the President of the Republic of Ghana pursuant to Article 70(1)(iii) of the Constitution to cease to hold office merely on account of the assumption of office of the person elected as President of the Republic of Ghana, the said section 14 is unconstitutional as being inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, particularly Articles 70(1)(iii),190 and/or 191(b) of the Constitution;
4. An order of perpetual injunction restraining any person or authority from removing from office such members of the governing boards of public corporations merely on account of the assumption of office of the person elected as President of the Republic of Ghana; and
5. Any other consequential order(s) as this Honourable Court may deem fit.
Theophilus Donkor surmises further that the “framers of the 1979 and 1992 Constitutions have made it abundantly clear that removal of members of the public services (and this includes members of governing boards of public corporations) exclusively on the basis of a change in government does not amount to a just cause.”