Stop presenting yourselves as reps of Akufo-Addo – Minority to Ministers-designate

The Minority in Parliament has called for Ministers-designate to refrain from assuming the role of representatives of the president, urging the Chief of Staff to revoke any unauthorized appointments of Minister-designates as presidential representatives.

This request comes in response to allegations that the Chief of Staff created temporary appointments for Minister-designates awaiting parliamentary approval, designating them as ‘Representative of the President.’

Dr. Bernard Okoe-Boye, Minister of Health designate, found himself at the centre of this controversy when he conducted inspections at health facilities, purportedly in his capacity as the President’s representative. However, he denied operating unlawfully within the Health Ministry amidst delays in his parliamentary approval.

In a statement issued by Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, the Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and MP for Juaboso, the Minority emphasized that Minister-designates, as nominees of the President, lack the authority to instruct or implement policy changes within ministry agencies.

“The Minister-designate who is only a nominee of the President has no authority whatsoever to instruct or direct, implement or propose policy changes for agencies within a sector ministry and therefore under what power or authority does he/she summon CEOs and other heads of institutions, who may be busy with their official schedules, to grant him audience or presentations on their management of state institutions?

“The Minority in Parliament would therefore like to advise the Chief of Staff to revoke all illegal appointments appointing Minister-designates as Representatives of the President. We further caution persons so appointed to stop holding themselves out as Representatives of the President to designated Ministries. We urge all members of the public, particularly public sector workers not to extend any privilege reserved for Ministers to such persons.”

The minority pointed out that the 1992 constitution does not support the creation of representatives of the President in Ministries of State.

“Therefore, for a highly regulated power centre such as the Presidency, it is ultra vires for the Chief of Staff who derives all her powers from the President as prescribed by the 1992 constitution to be creating new offices alien to the constitution.”

The caucus stated that a Minister, in addition to the power and authority granted by the constitutional instrument of office and legislations passed and assented, is the representative of the President in whichever ministry he/she is assigned.

“It is therefore ultra vires for the Chief of Staff to ascribe a primary function of a Minister to a person not so appointed. Article 78(1) of the 1992 constitution states, “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament….”

“This clearly indicates that the appointment process can only occur after approval of Parliament. Therefore, Minister-designates are at most nominees whose presence in government institutions should amount to nothing more than a visit of an ordinary citizen and that is without Ministerial privilege or authority whatsoever,” the caucus stated.

The Minority also declared it unlawful for any individual to present himself as a Representative of the President to a Ministry exercising any form of executive authority of superintending, overseeing, directing, or controlling state institutions in the name of the President.

“It is for this reason that where a substantive appointment has not been made to a specific ministry, a Minister appointed to another ministry and clothed with the constitutional instrument of office is directed by the President to act as ‘caretaker’ Minister for the ministry,” it added.

Source: Abigail Arthur

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