The president says to suggest that Parliament is beyond the scrutiny of the Supreme Court is to imply that the House is a law unto itself.
According to Akufo-Addo, to suggest that Parliament is beyond the scrutiny of the Supreme Court is to imply that Parliament is a law unto itself.
“I’m not sure people who are saying this have actually taken the time to read the constitution of our country. It says so in black and white. The legislative power of the state, which is vested in Parliament, is subject to the provisions of the constitution,” the president said.
“All organs of the Ghanaian state – including me as the head of the executive – we are all subject to the teachings of the constitution.”
He continued, “There is nobody in the Ghanaian state that is above the fundamental law of the land. It will lead to the very matter that we have striven so long to avoid – the concentration of unregulated power in our state.
“We don’t want that. And we brought about this constitution to allow that to not recur.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known in an interview with Charles Takyi-Boadu of the Daily Guide newspaper on Thursday (10 March 2022) on the sidelines of Dubai Expo 2020.
Astonished by the “public energy” dissipated in the debate, the president said he was happy with the unanimity of the Supreme Court’s decision, especially as it is the most emphatic way in which the court can make a pronouncement.
Touching on suggestions that Parliament is beyond the scrutiny of the Supreme Court when it comes to issues of interpretation, the president noted: “The whole principle of judicial review was developed by the judges, both in America and England, to be able to check the activities of Parliament.”
Watch the president in the video below:Video Player00:0009:09
Indeed, in Ghana, he said, the first major constitutional case which looked at the work of Parliament was Tuffuor vs Attorney General (1980), which put to the test a decision by Parliament to subject the then Chief Justice, the late Frederick Kwesi Apaloo, to a vetting process in the House which had been expressly forbidden by the 1979 constitution.
“And that is the reason why the late Dr Amoako Tuffuor took the matter to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court made it quite clear that all the activities of all the institutions of our Republic that impugn, that violate the constitution are subject to the powers of the court and to the declarations of the court,” the president said.
President Akufo-Addo continued: “Me, I want to repeat it: as president, head of the executive, I am subject to the constitution and to law. I cannot set myself above it.
“Everybody has his remit, but those remits are subject to the operations of the constitution, and I am happy that the constitution has been so declared in such an emphatic manner by the Supreme Court. I support the Supreme Court to continue to do its work,” he said.