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IMANI Ghana Refiles Lawsuit Against President Over Appointment of Heads of Security Agencies

The plaintiffs sought a court declaration that the President of Ghana cannot appoint new heads to certain offices.

IMANI Ghana’s legal team and Kwasi Aning have filed a fresh lawsuit regarding the appointment of heads of security agencies, withdrawing a prior suit from the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court dismissed the previous suit on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, when the case was called.

Lawyers of the plaintiffs, IMANI Ghana and Kwesi Aning, notified the court that they had filed a notice to discontinue the case.

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Before dismissing the case, Chief Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo expressed her disapproval of the way the case was publicized and subsequently withdrawn, calling it ‘really unacceptable’.

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The seven-member panel, led by Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, questioned why a case that had received public interest would be withdrawn.

According to the plaintiffs’ counsel, Paa Joe Akuamoah Boateng, the withdrawal was to enable the refiling of the case, with additional updates.

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BACKGROUND TO THE CASE

The plaintiffs, joined by security expert Prof. Kwesi Aning, filed a writ seeking a declaration from the Supreme Court that, based on a thorough interpretation of Articles 200, 202(1), 202(2), 202(3), 205, 207(1), 207(2), 207(3), 190(1), 191, 196, 199, and 269 of the 1992 Constitution, the President of Ghana lacks the authority to terminate or remove heads of agencies from office unless it is proven that they have engaged in misconduct or misbehavior, as established through due process.

The offices in question comprised the Chief Fire Officer’s position in the Fire Service, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of the Prisons Service, and the Comptroller General of the Immigration Service.

The plaintiffs sought a court declaration that the President of Ghana cannot appoint new heads to certain offices.

“The President of the Republic of Ghana upon assumption of Office does not have the power to make a fresh appoint to the office of the Chief Fire Officer of the Fire Service; Inspector General of Police; Director General of Prisons Service and Comptroller General of the Immigration Service unless the immediate holder of the office is deceased…,” they said.

The plaintiffs argued that the president’s appointment of new heads of security services upon taking office was a violation of the constitution and sought a court order to declare it as such.

To support their case, the plaintiffs identified a case where incoming governments forced the dismissal of security agency heads, violating their constitutional rights.

“In some cases, these removals occur before the individual occupants of the office reach the statutory retirement age. For instance, in 2017, the then Director-General of the Prisons Service, Mr. Emmanuel Yao Adzator was asked to proceed on leave at the age of 54 and subsequently, another was appointed in his stead,” the suit said.

The plaintiffs are therefore seeking a court order to prevent the President of the Republic from dismissing or removing the heads of the aforementioned offices unless it’s due to proven misconduct, misbehavior, retirement, resignation, death, or incapacity.

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