Caretaker Minister of information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has responded to NDC Caucus Leader in Parliament Haruna Iddrisu’s assertion that it is illegal for the President to appoint Caretaker Ministers.
In a message on his Twitter page, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said, The Presidential Transition Act, passed in 2012 Section 14(5) is a new provision that empowers a new President to do new things that were previously illegal. Mr. Oppong Nkrumah posted a portion of the Presidential Transition Act, 2012 (845), with Section 14(5) stipulating that “before the assumption of office of the incoming Minister, a person so appointed by the President shall be in charge of the relevant Ministry but shall not take a decision involving a policy issue except in the Ministry of Justice where the Solicitor-General shall be in charge of the Ministry”.President Akufo-Addo after his investiture on January 7, 2021 appointed Caretaker Ministers to hold the fort pending the substantive appointments.
This follows the expiration of his first term and the commencement of his second four-year term on January 7, 2021. The action is in accordance with the Presidential Transition Act, 2012, (Act 845), to avoid gaps in the running of state affairs. Reliable sources from the Presidency said Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare had been asked to act as the Chief of Staff, Ken Ofori-Atta acts as Finance Minister, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen as Minister of Trade and Industry, Dominic Nitiwul, as Minister of Defence, and Albert Kan Dapaah, as Minister for National Security.
The rest are Ambrose Dery, acting as Minister for the Interior, Hajia Alima Mahama, acting as Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah as Minister of Information. Eugene Arhin is also to act as Director of Communications at the Presidency.
However, Haruna Iddrisu argued in a media interview that the President’s appointment of caretaker ministers is unconstitutional and unlawful and cited a Supreme Court ruling between J.H Mensah and Attorney-General in 1997 as the basis for his argument. Mr. Iddrisu alluded that the country’s apex court ruled in 1997 that “there is nothing like acting or holding minister”.
However, Mr Oppong Nkrumah, in his tweet, sought to disagree with Mr Iddrisu’s assertion, adding that the Presidential Transition Act is a new law that allows the President to appoint Caretaker Ministers as stated in Section 14(5) of the Act. The Caretaker Ministers have been told not to take decisions involving policy issues.
They have also been notified to be guided by a memo issued by the then Chief of Staff and Chairperson of the Presidential Transition Team, Madam Osei-Opare, in December 2020, which asked ministers not to sign any new loan agreements, engage in financial commitments and recruitment of permanent management personnel during the transition period.