May 3, 2024

The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has cautioned the Minister of Health designate Dr. Okoe Boye to stop holding himself as representative of the President in a purported creation of new appointment by the chief of staff.

According to a statement signed by the ranking member of the select Committee on Health Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, Ghanaians and the Minority were shock to hear the Minister for Health designate going on an unannounced inspection tour of health facilities as though his appointment is complete as a sector minister.

“Justifying what was arguably a misrepresentation that he had received a Nicodemus letter from the Chief of Staff purporting to have appointed him as the Representative of the President to the Ministry of Health”.

First and foremost, there is no provision within the 1992 constitution that supports the creation of representatives of the President in Ministries of State. Therefore, for a highly regulated power centre such as the Presidency, it is ultra vires for the Chief of Staff who derives all her powers from the President as prescribed by the 1992 constitution to be creating new offices alien to the constitution.

Article 78(1) of the 1992 constitution states, “Ministers of State shall be appointed by the President with the prior approval of Parliament….”.

This clearly indicates that the appointment process can only occur after approval of Parliament and therefore, Minister-designates are at most nominees whose presence in government institutions should amount to nothing more than a visit of an ordinary citizen and that without Ministerial privilege or authority whatsoever.

It is therefore illegal for any person to hold himself out as a Representative of the President to a Ministry exercising any form of executive authority of superintending, overseeing, directing, or controlling state institutions in the name of the President.

It is for this reason that where a substantive appointment has not been made to a specific ministry, a Minister appointed to another ministry and clothed with the constitutional instrument of office is directed by the President to act as ‘caretaker’ Minister for the ministry.

“President’s Representative to the Ministry of Health clothed with the authority and power of the President to represent him in the Ministry of Health is Hon Ursula Owusu Ekuful the Minister for Communications and Digitalization who is currently acting as the caretaker-Minister for the Ministry of Health and not Dr. Okoe Boye”.

The Minister-designate who is only a nominee of the President has no authority whatsoever to instruct or direct, implement or propose policy changes for agencies within a sector ministry. Therefore, under what power or authority does he/she summon CEOs and other heads of institutions and functions, who may be busy with their official schedules, to grant him audience or presentations on their management of state institutions?

The Minority in Parliament would therefore like to advise the Chief of Staff to revoke all illegal appointments appointing Minister-designates as Representatives of the President, persons so appointed to stop holding themselves out as Representatives of the President to designated Ministries and all members of the public with special emphasis on public sector workers should not extend any privilege reserved for Ministers to such persons, the Minority stated.