… High Court Set To Hear K.K Sarpong’s Overstay Despite Retirement Age Case Tomorrow
Ernest Addo writes
Aside the Supreme Court suit filed against him by the Deputy National Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Edem Agbana, at the Supreme Court, the Accra High Court would tomorrow be the battlegrounds for wits, for and against the Managing Director of the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), Kofi Kodua Sarpong’s, 65, refusal to leave office even after attaining the retirement age of 60.
Two individuals, Humphrey Nana Yaw Essaiw and Edufa Kingsley Deladem, as far back as July 4, this year, hauled Dr. KK Sarpong and GNPC to the High Court, praying the court for a declaration that the contract between the company and its CEO was illegal.
They are also praying the court for an order directing Dr. KK Sarpong, who is the 1st Defendant to cease and desist from acting as the Managing Director of GNPC.
According to the Plaintiffs, following the expiry of appointment of 1st Defendant (KK Sarpong) the Board of Directors of 2nd Defendant (GNPC) extended the appointment of 1st Defendant and on 26th July 2017, the Board executed a contract of Appointment with the 1st Defendant making him continue in his role as Managing Director for a period of five (5) years effective January 23rd, 2017.
“It is the case of the Plaintiffs that as Managing Director of 2nd Defendant, the 1st Defendant is a public officer and as such his compulsory retirement age is 60 years as stipulated by Article 199(1) of the Constitution, albeit subject to Article 199(4),” the court documents revealed.
The Plaintiffs asseverates that the sole appointing authority for the position of the Managing Director of the 2nd Defendant is the President as stipulated by PNDC Law 64, and that the Board’s conduct of offering 1st Defendant a five (5) year contract as Managing Director was illegal and unconstitutional.
Humphrey Nana Yaw Essaiw and Edufa Kingsley Deladem argues through their lawyer, Eddie Maccarthythat unless stopped by the court, the K.K Sarpong and GNPC shall continue to sin against PNDC Law 64 and the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
Article 199 (4) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana stipulates that “A public officer who has retired from the public service after attaining the age of sixty years may, where the exigencies of the service require, be engaged for a limited period of not more than two years at a time but not exceeding five years in all and upon such other terms and conditions as the appointing authority shall determine”.
Meanwhile, the defendants contend that the High Court lacks jurisdiction ‘ratione materiae’- on the subject-matter jurisdiction – in respect of some of the reliefs indorsed on the writ of summons and the statement of claim.
“The defendants contend that though the plaintiffs characterize relief (a) as a declaration of illegality, it is to all intends and purposed and in substance and essence a claim of unconstitutionality masquerading as a mere claim of illegality. This becomes increasingly clear when relief (a) is read together with paragraphs 4, 7, 11, 13 and 14 of the statement of claim, especially paragraph 13 and 14” the lawyers stated in their Statement of Defence.
According to KK Sarpong and GNPC, where, as no allegation of infringement of fundamental human rights is made and/or their enforcement sought, the Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in all matters relating to the interpretation and enforcement of the Constitution, 1992.
What has set tongues wagging, however, is how the Freddy Blay chaired Board of the GNPC could allow such illegality, if determined by the court, to go when the Board chairman is an astute lawyer with many years’ experience at the bar.