Amidu cautions Akufo-Addo over Major Mahama Trust Bill

Former Attorney General, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to sign into law, the recently passed Major Mahama Trust Bill by Parliament, saying it is defective in many ways.
Parliament on Thursday, 9 November, 2017 gave legal backing for the establishment of a fund to cater for the wife and two children of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, an officer of the 5th Infantry Battalion of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), who was lynched by a mob at Denkyira-Obuasi on 29 May, 2017, while on detachment duties.

He was in the area as part of an operation to clamp down on illegal mining activities known as ‘galamsey.’

Major Mahama was murdered while in the rank of a Captain and was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major. He died at the age of 32.

Mr Amidu, however, said the bill has been rushed through Parliament without the opportunity given to citizens to scrutinise it.

“Mr President, the Bill that Parliament passed for your signature suffers from several constitutional, legal and policy defects that should have been conditions precedent to its enactment.

“Portions of the Bill passed by Parliament for your signature are inconsistent with and contravene the 1992 Constitution in several material particulars.

“It also seriously undermines and puts to naught several provisions of the Armed Forces Act, 1962 (Act 105) as revised, and Regulations made there under to compose and regulate the conduct of the Ghana Armed Forces,” the anti-graft campaigner said in his latest article.

Mr Amidu is not the first to express concerns about the Act. Two lawyers, Prof Kwaku Asare and Edward Akuffo, had earlier written, expressing concerns about why the Bill was totally centred on the deceased Major Mahama rather than being broad-based to cover any security officer that suffers similar fate in the future.

“The Major Mahama Bill is problematic at several levels. First, it targets only the departed officer and his immediate family and ignores the other security personnel we have lost in the past. Second, the initiation and passage of the bill flout the principles of universalism and non-discrimination. The power of Parliament to isolate people for rewards, punishment or different treatment is dangerous and must not be countenanced. As a collective and representative body of the people, we expect that Parliament shall at all times pass general bills that are neutral, impartial, and non-discriminatory. The rule of law requires that laws are made pursuant to the generality principle, which provides that when laws are made they must apply to broad categories of people and must not single out individuals or groups for special treatment.

“We strongly believe that the approach to institutionalising the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill will not only create bitterness for other families who have lost their loved ones while serving Ghana, but as well, will affect the collective morale of servicemen and women. We as a nation have a moral duty to keep the morale of our service personnel high at all times. Without their efforts, our human and national security, as well as economic prosperity will be in serious jeopardy. We must operate a country that is committed to principles, fairness and equal citizenship as indicated by the preamble, letter and spirit of our Constitution,” the two lawyers wrote.


Story: Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu

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