Doe Adjaho erred for refusing to swear in as acting President – SC declares

The Supreme Court has declared the Speaker of Parliament erred when he refused to take the presidential  oath when he acted as President in the absence of President John Mahama and his Vice last year.

Per this decision, a Speaker of Parliament would be bound by law to take the presidential oath anytime he or she is to act as acting President in the absence of the country’s President and his Vice.

Article 60 (11) of the 1992 Constitution states that: “ Where the President and the Vice-President are both unable to perform the functions of the President, the Speaker of Parliament shall perform those functions until the President or the Vice-President is able to perform those functions or a new President assumes office, as the case may be.

Section (12) adds: The Speaker shall, before commencing to perform the functions of the President under clause (11) of this article, take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the office of President.”

But Mr Adjaho has on two separate occasions, refused to take the oath of office, while President John Dramani Mahama and his vice, Kwesi Amissah-Arthur were on official assignments outside the country.

Although his decision was widely criticised, Mr. Adjaho stuck to his stance despite a letter from the President to the Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, to swear him in as acting President.

His action prompted a legal suit from Chief Executive Officer of Accra-based Citi FM, Samuel Atta-Mensah, who prayed the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional, the Speaker’s decision not to be sworn in as President before acting in that capacity.

In a 9-member unanimous decision Thursday afternoon, the panel chaired by Justice Sophia Akuffo however declined to rule on whether the Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho committed a high crime for his refusal to take the presidential oath.

That, the court argued, was not properly before it, and consequently struck it out.

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