A Ghanaian lawyer based in the United States, Professor Stephen Kweku Asare, has questioned the legal basis for the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill which was been passed by parliament. on Thursday November 9, 2017.
He has thus cautioned Nana Addo not to set a bad precedent and undermine the tenets of the rule of law by assenting to the Bill.
According to him, the Fund, which will have Major Mahama’s family as sole beneficiaries, violates the principles of non-discrimination and generality.
In a Facebook post, he urged President Akufo-Addo not to assent to the Bill because it does not conform with the rule of law; a principle Akufo-Addo has committed himself to on various public platforms.
Prof. Asare said the bill evidently ignores other security personnel who have died in the line of duty.
“The bill targets Major Mahama and appears to ignore other security personnel we have lost in the past. It is a cardinal principle of the rule of law that laws must apply to broad categories of people and must not single out individuals or groups for special treatment,” he said.
Read his full statement below:
Dear President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo:
Greetings! It is a tough call but my advice is that you should not give assent to the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill. Rather, you should return it to Parliament for it to be replaced by a comprehensive Bill that provides timely, predictable and easy to access benefits to the families of ALL SECURITY PERSONNEL who pay the ultimate price while serving the nation.
The Major Mahama Bill flouts the principles of generality and non-discrimination and cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.
The bill targets Major Mahama and appears to ignore other security personnel we have lost in the past. It is a cardinal principle of the rule of law that laws must apply to broad categories of people and must not single out individuals or groups for special treatment.
The power of parliament to isolate people for rewards, punishment or different treatment is dangerous and must not be countenanced in this Republic. We must not traverse that path.
Even though the Bill is well intentioned, it sets a very bad precedent; it treats equally situated persons differently; it creates bitterness for families in similar situations who are hardly recognized; and it affects the collective morale of service personnel.
Mr. President, seize this opportunity to reiterate your commitment to the rule of law, which requires that our laws conform to the generality principle and are not discriminatory.
The Major Mahama Trust Fund bill seeks to give the legal backing for the establishment of a fund to cater for the wife and two children of the Late Major Maxwell Mahama.
Major Mahama, who was lynched under bizarre circumstances at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region in May 2017, was part of a task-force deployed to root out illegal mining in the area.
Following the death, President Akufo-Addo committed to establishing the fund, in which government will put a seed money of GH¢ 500,000 to take care of the late officer’s family.
Supreme Court bars exams, interviews for Ghana Law School admissions
Prof. Asare’s suit at the Supreme Court, led to a declaration that the requirement by the General Legal Council asking applicants to the Ghana Law school to undertake an examination and subsequent interview before admission was unconstitutional.
According to the court, the requirements were in violation of the Legislative Instrument 1296 which gives direction for the mode of admission.
The plaintiff, Professor Kwaku Asare, went to court in 2015, challenging the legality of the modes of admission used by the Ghana School of Law.
According to him, the number of people who were admitted into the Ghana School of Law was woefully small considering the number of people who possessed LLB.