May 10, 2012

An Accra High Court will on Thursday, commence proceedings in acase in which 47 former Members of Parliament (MPs) in the Third Republic have sued the Attorney – General for their end –of –service benefits to be paid them.

The plaintiffs, led by Alhaji Mohammed Sani Farl, are also praying the court to compel the defendant to pay interest on the end –of-service benefits at the prevailing commercial bank rate from December 31, 1981.

In their statement of claim, they said they contested and won parliamentary seats in their various constituencies under the Third Republican Constitution and were accordingly sworn in as MPs.

According to the statement, per article 94(1) of the 1979 Constitution, MPs were supposed to serve for five years, after which Parliament should be dissolved and fresh elections held.

It said Article79 of the 1979 Constitution provided for the mode of removal of an MP from office, while Article 95 provided for end –of-service benefits or gratuity accruable to MPs at the end of their five year term.

According to the statement about 27 months into their term on December 31, 1981, a coup d’etat orchestrated by Flt Lt J.J. Rawlings and others brought to an abrupt end their term as MPs and formed the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC).

It said upon seizure of political power by Flt Lt Rawlings and his PNDC, Parliament was dissolved.

The statement added that Parliament having been dissolved, the Plaintiffs were entitled to be paid gratuity like MPs who had served under the 1992 Constitution.

It said, the plaintiff had since 2000, made several attempts and held many meetings at the highest level of government and been assured that their demands would be taken care of.

The statement added that efforts that they had made in the past 11 years had been in vain because it was now clear that the government, in spite of all promises made to them, actually did not intend to honor them.

It adds that the only option left for the plaintiffs now was to seek redress in the law court.