The Parliament of Ghana

A fellow of the Centre for Democratic Development says MPs demanding ¢29.7 million ex-gratia would not have any legal bases for them to successfully assert their rights.

Professor Kwaku Asare said the legislators claim is flawed on three grounds.

Speaking on Joy News’ Newsfile Saturday, Professor Asare explained that the first flaw to their claim is the limitations act.

He said the limitations act bars anyone from further demanding the payment of a debt after six years.

Government’s debt to the affected ministers was from the year 2009, thus implying 11 years of trying to recoup a debt.

“What that tells you is if somebody owes you money, you have a certain number of years, I believe its six years and if you don’t assert your right within that period, then you’re barred from further trying to recoup that, because people must have their peace of mind.

“After six years it’s enough, if you haven’t done anything about it, as a matter of law you cannot do anything about it,” he said.

According to the Professor who is also a D&D Fellow for Public Law and Justice, he said the second reason why these MPs may never be able to recoup their ex-gratia is that they had waited so long to reignite the conversation surrounding the debt owed them.

Prof. Kwaku Asare

“Second, there is something that we call latches. Latches is not a legal right, it’s an equitable right. As a matter of equity, you cannot sleep on your rights and want to assert that. It is said that equity aids the vigilant and not those who slumber on their rights.”

And finally the third reason he gave was that, the MPs had earlier received some amount of money as ex-gratia from the erstwhile Mills government. This money they had received was not based on the Chinery-Hesse report upon which their current claims are founded on, but on the Ishmael Yamson report.

According to Professor Kwaku Asare, because the MPs had earlier received that money based on the Yamson report, they had no claims to the money prescribed under the Chinery-Hesse report which was rejected by the Atta Mills led government.

“The third problem that they’re going to run into is called estoppels by conduct. When they had this dispute, 2009, with professor Mills because Professor Mills basically rejected the Chinnery-Hesse report that’s why we have this problem.

“And he paid them some amount which I believe was based on the Ishmael Yamson report. But whatever it is, he paid them some amount. They did not reject that amount that he paid them.

“They accepted and went home and have been home for almost 15 years, because , I mean, 2009; almost 10 years, and then suddenly, they wake up and they say well, pay us the difference [on the basis of the Chinery-Hesse report],” he said.

He added, “But whatever it is, they were given something and they were happy with it, the transaction is fully executed, all parties have discharged their obligations, Professor Mills is not even here supposing we went to court that will be another problem.

“The person who determined that they are not entitled to whatever they think they are entitled to is not even here, that’s why there is a statute of limitation and there are latches because people die, witnesses disappear and so on and so forth.”

“So in my mind, there would not be any legal bases for them to successfully assert this right that they think they can assert,” Professor Kwaku Asare concluded.