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Supreme Court throws out case against DCEs holding office in acting capacity

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The Supreme Court has, in a unanimous decision, dismissed a case challenging government’s decision to permit Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCE’s) to remain in office in an acting capacity.

Member of Parliament for South-Dayi, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, had contended that government’s directive was contrary to the constitution.

President Akufo-Addo, at the commencement of his second term, asked MMDCEs to remain in office in an acting capacity as he undertook consultations towards making substantive appointments.

The legislator through his lawyers led by Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo took the matter to the Apex Court.

He was seeking the following reliefs;

1. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 243(1) and Article 246(2) of the 1992 Constitution, the President of the Republic of Ghana has no power or authority to instruct or direct Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to remain in office in an acting capacity.

2. A declaration that upon a true and proper interpretation of Article 243(1) of the Constitution, 1992, the prior approval of the members of the District and Metropolitan Assemblies is a mandatory pre-condition for the President to direct, instruct or appoint any person to either act or hold office as a Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executive.

3. A declaration that the Presidential directive dated 11th January, 2021 with reference number SCR/DA 39/314/01 directing Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to continue in office in an acting capacity contravenes Articles 243(1) and 246(2) of the 1992 Constitution and is therefore null and void and of no legal effect.

4. A declaration that all acts, decisions, orders and rules made by the said acting District, Municipal and Metropolitan executives pursuant to the Presidential directive dated the 11th of January, 2021 contravene Articles 243(1) and 246(3) of the Constitution, 1992.

5. A declaration that all public expenses arising and pursuant to those decisions, acts, orders or rules made by the acting District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives are unlawful.

6. A declaration that all agreements or contracts entered into and decisions made by the said acting District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives are unlawful and same are not binding on the Republic of Ghana.

7. A declaration that all liabilities or obligations or demands placed on the Republic of Ghana as a result of the acts, decisions, orders, agreements or contracts entered into by the acting District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chiefs Executives during the period of their acting capacity are not binding on the Republic of Ghana.

8. An order directed at all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives continuing in office pursuant to the above-mentioned Presidential directive to vacate office with immediate effect.

9. Any other Order(s) or Direction(s) that this Honourable Court may deem necessary.

A seven-member panel presided over by Justice Jones Dotse on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, dismissed the case.

The court stated that its full reasoning will be made available in the coming days. Other panel members are Justices Nene Amegatcher, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Henrietta Mensah Bonsu, Gertrude Torkonoo and Prof Mensah Bonsu.

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