The New Patriotic Party’s decision to add President John Dramani Mahama to its petition at the Supreme Court has been heavily criticized by one of the lawyers in its fold, John Ndebugri.
According to the lawyer, the NPP’s decision to join President Mahama in the suit is in contravention of the provisions in Article 57 of the 1992 Constitution.
In an interview with Citi News, Mr. Ndebugre cited a number of precedence to prove the president’s immunity from any legal action while serving in office.
“Clause 5 of article 57 of the 1992 constitution gives only absolute immunity to the President; it says that the President while he is in office is not liable to any civil or criminal proceedings in any court.”
“In the 1969 constitution the provision was tested in the case of Salla against Attorney General, it was held in that case that the President cannot be sued.”
Mr. Ndebugri said it was “the NPP that first tested this provision in the 1992 constitution, in the case of New Patriotic Party against Jerry Rawlings [former President]... It was decided in that case the President could not be sued personally.”
Mr. Ndebugri also added that there was a flaw in the CI 78 which was being used as a defense in the decision to join the President in the suit.
“The CI 78 is inferior to an Act of Parliament which is rather inferior to the constitution. Where the constitution says the person cannot be sued while in office and a subsidiary legislation says somebody who happens to be a candidate and who is being complained against; you can’t use that to supersede the provision of the constitution, which is the fundamental law of the land.”