Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chief State Attorneys retire at 65

May 1, 2012 (Page 22) The Accra Fast Track High Court Monday ruled that the law mandated Chief State Attorneys to retire at age 65. It said the Legal Service Act pegged the retiring age of Chief State Attorneys at 65 and, accordingly, dismissed a motion which questioned the retiring age of a Chief State Attorney, Mr Anthony Gyambiby, who was prosecuting a criminal case against a former Minister of Information and eight others. According to the court, Mr Gyambiby, who has been nominated by the President as a Deputy Minister of Justice, will attain the compulsory retiring age on November 28, 2012, not November 28, 2007 as was argued by the applicants. The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, subsequently declined to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for interpretation. A former Minister of Information, Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, his wife, Zuleika, and seven others have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the state. The other accused persons are Kofi Asamoah-Boateng, a former Director of Finance, Ministry of Information and National Orientation; Frank Agyekum, a former Deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation; Dominic A. Y. Sampong, a former acting Chief Director, Ministry of Information and National Orientation; Kwabena Denkyira, a Deputy Director of Finance and Administration at the ministry; Prosper Arku of Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited, and Yasmine Domua, a businesswoman. Also in court is Supreme Procurement Agencies Limited, an entity. The accused persons are alleged to have conspired to defraud the State of GH¢86,915.85 in renovation works undertaken at the Ministerial Block of the ministry during Asamoah-Boateng’s tenure of office. They have all pleaded not guilty and admitted to GH¢10,000 bail each, with a surety. Counsel for Kofi Asamoah-Boateng and Sampong, Mr Augustines Obour, had argued that Mr Gyambiby had no locus to continue prosecuting the case because he had attained the compulsory retiring age of 60 and, for that reason, had no authorisation to continue with the case. An affidavit in support of the motion challenging the retention of Mr Gyambiby as the prosecutor in the case said Mr Gyambiby was born in Ghana on November 28, 1947. It said the prosecutor was 64 years old and that in 2007 Mr Gyambiby had attained the age of 60 and, therefore, retired from public service. It stated that Mr Gyambiby could be engaged on contract basis by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department through the Public Service Commission as a consultant or contractor based on contract but not as a Chief State Attorney. Arguing for the state, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, said Mr Gyambiby attained the age of 60 on November 28, 2007 and during that period he had an accrued right which was automatic to continue prosecution to the age of 65. Mr Wiredu pointed out that PNDC Law 320 gave Mr Gyambiby the mandate to retire at age 65, in the same vein as a High Court judge.

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