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It is the President’s discretion to consult – Ghana's Speaker

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The Speaker of Parliament, Prof Aaron Ocquaye has stated that it is a matter of discretion for the President to consult a substantive Minister before nominating his Deputy, but not mandatory.

He said the President could create any ministry in addition to the constitutionally named Minster for Finance and Attorney General and the use of “shall ‘ was always mandatory while the use of ‘may” was permissible.

Prof Ocquaye made the statement, when he gave a ruling after a constitutional argument between the Majority and Minority sides regarding the nomination of Oti-Gyarko as Deputy Minister for Bono-Ahafo.

Parliament on Thursday approved the nomination of six persons for Ministerial and Deputy ministerial appointments in accordance with Article 78(1) of the 1992 constitution.

This was after the Appointments Committee of Parliament presented its report on the vetting of the Ministers and Deputy Ministers to the House.

The nominees are; Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister-designate for Information, Mrs. Cynthia Morrison, Minister-designate for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Evans Opoku Bobie, Minister-designate for Bono-Ahafo Region, Pauline Tangaba Abayage, Minister-designate for the Upper East Region, Samuel Nuertey Ayertey, Deputy Minister-designate for the Eastern Region and Martin Oti Gyarko, Deputy Minister-designate for Bono-Ahafo Region.

The Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu who presented the report of the Committee on the floor of the House observed that the nominees were capable people with knowledge and intelligence to deliver in their particular ministries.

PHOTO/ Enoch Norvor: Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu making his contribution on the floor of parliament

However, during the debate regarding nomination of Mr. Oti-Gyarko as Deputy Minister for Bono-Ahafo, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, stated that per Article 256 and Article 79, the President was supposed to consult the substantive Regional minister before nominating Mr. Oti-Gyarko.

He said when Oti-Gyarko was being nominated there was no substantive Minister for the Bono-Ahafo region as the substantive Minister, Mr. Asumah Cheremeh, had been moved to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

Mr. Iddrisu argued that Article 256 and Article 79 was clear on the requirement for the President to consult substantive ministers before nominating their respective Deputy Ministers.

The Minister for Works and Housing and Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea disagreed with the position of the minority and indicated that the President acted within the ambit of the Constitution.

He said the use of the ‘may’ in respect to the consultation meant that the President had the discretion to consult the minister or not.

MP for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, who supported the position of the minority argued that the appointment of Mr. Oti-Gyarko was unconstitutional because there was no consultation with the Minister.

PHOTO/ Enoch Norvor: The Majority Leader, Kyei-Mensah-Ose-Bonsu making submission on the floor of parliament

The Majority Leader, Kyei-Mensah-Ose-Bonsu, in his contribution stated that President had consulted the substantive Regional Minister, Mr. Asumah Cheremeh a day before he was reshuffled to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

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