Executive convener of the Dynamic Youth Movement of Ghana (DYMOG) Edward Tuttor has expressed dissatisfaction on the Supreme Court’s unanimous dismissal of the case against the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, on the issuance of a US$2.25 billion bond.
The case which was filed by the DYMOG in 2018 was thrown out of court on the ground that the suit had no merit.
The court, however, says it would file its reasons for the dismissal of the suit by the close of Wednesday at the court’s registry.
Speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb, Edward Tuttor said that the country continues to witness regimes where public officials are caught in cases of conflict of interest as well as failure to declare assets.
“As a matter of fact, we disagree totally with the judgement of the court. That is because we came in the supreme interest of the people of Ghana. Looking at constitutional cases like conflict of interest and assets declaration that do not bother on a particular regime. The issue of assets declaration and conflict of interest keep raising its head”.
The group in the suit invoked the proper jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to interpret Article 284 of the 1992 constitution which states: “A public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office”.
He also called out CHRAJ for stating that the finance minister cannot be faulted for conflict of interest because he did not make transactional gains.
“CHRAJ made a certain declaration that Ken Ofori Atta indeed found himself in a potential conflict of interest. But because he did not benefit for the transactions, he is not guilty of conflict of interest. CHRAJ has contravened Article 287 of the 1992 Constitution.”
Tuttor further indicated that the Supreme Court ruling on the Eurobond presupposes that public officials are permitted to engage in conflict of interest which should not be the situation.
“The ruling means that officials can now award contracts to their relatives, appoint their close relatives to office and if you are able to prove that such contracts do not go to the direct benefit, they are free to do so. The Supreme Court has opened the floodgate for corruption”.
“We are going to hold a forum to discuss the implications of the SC decision on the Eurobond case”, he added.
In January 2018, DYMOG filed a lawsuit seeking “A declaration that by interpreting Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution (as disclosed between paragraph 3 of page 127 and paragraph 3 of page 133 of the Report) the 2nd Defendant has contravened Article 130(1) (a) of the 1992 Constitution.”
The group also sought a declaration that “by issuing or overseeing the issuance of the said bonds to Templeton without disclosing his relational interest with a director at Templeton, one Trevor G. Trefgarne, the 1st Defendant has acted in contravention of Article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.”
The bond in question was issued in February 2017, shortly after the Akufo-Addo government was sworn into office.
DYMOG also joined CHRAJ to the suit at the apex court after accusing it of allegedly overstepping its limits in the controversial 2.25 billion-dollar Eurobond issued to Franklin Templeton.
CHRAJ was sued by DYMOG for clearing the Finance Minister of the allegation of conflict of interest in relation to the issuance of the government bond.
The group claimed that CHRAJ, in reviewing a petition on the controversial bond, decided to make some assertions on the matter that are ‘totally’ out of context thereby infringing the provisions of the 1992 constitution.