According to the constitution of the Republic of Ghana the Vice President John Dramani Mahama is to take over as interim leader as Presidential elections are set for December .
The late president had recently traveled to the United States for what had been described as a routine medical checkup.
Mills took over as Ghana's president in January 2009. He narrowly won the vote in 2008 by a less than one percent margin against a candidate from the party of incumbent John Kufuor, widely respected for having bowed out following his two terms in office.
Atta Mills' profile
Late President of the Republic of Ghana, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, was born at Tarkwa on July 21st, 1944. He hails from Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region.
Prof. Mills launched a lifelong learning at Achimota Secondary School, where he completed the Advanced Level Certificate in 1963.
To further his education, he attended the University of Ghana, Legon where he received a Bachelor's Degree and Professional Certificate in Law (1967).
While earning the PhD in Oriental and African Studies from the University of London at the age of 27, Dr. Mills was selected as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford Law School (USA).
Prof. Mills' first formal teaching assignment was as a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon. He spent more than twenty five years imparting acquired knowledge to students, and rose in position from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor.
His contribution to the University was remarkable having served on numerous Boards, Committees, and Schemes. Also during those twenty five years, Prof. Mills travelled as a Visiting Lecturer and Professor to Temple University (USA) and Leiden University (Holland), and presented research papers at Symposiums and Conferences throughout the world.
Prof. Mills had more than one dozen publications to his credit. These include:
- Taxation of Periodical or Deferred Payments arising from the Sale of Fixed Capital (1974)
- Exemption of Dividends from Income Taxation: A critical Appraisal (1977)
- Report of the Tax Review Commission, Ghana, Parts 1, 2 & 3, (1977) and
- Ghana's Income Tax laws and the Investor. An inter-faculty lecture published by the University of Ghana.
His expertise goes well beyond the classroom, and is evidenced by the various examiner positions he held with finance related institutions throughout Ghana (i.e. Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Bankers, Ghana Tax Review Commission). As an advocate for recreation, active sportsman and sports fan, Prof. Mills has supported the community through groups such as the Ghana Hockey Association, National Sports Council of Ghana, and Accra Hearts of Oak Sporting Club. The following are a few of his activities and projects:
- Member of the Ghana Stock Exchange Council
- Board of Trustees, Mines Trust.
- Management Committee of Commonwealth Administration of Tax Experts.
- United Nations Ad Hoc Group of Experts in International Cooperation in Tax Matters 7 United Nations Law and Population Project.
- Study on Equipment Leasing in Ghana.
- Casebook preparation on Ghana's Income Tax.
- Review of Ghana's Double Tax Agreement with the UK.
A track record of financial knowledge and strong professional credentials led to several important appointments. In 1988, Prof. J. E. Atta Mills became the Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service of Ghana and named Commissioner in September 1996. In 1997, Prof. Mills became the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana and served in that capacity with former President J. J. Rawlings till 2000.
On January 3, 2009, Prof. Mills was declared by the Electoral Commission as the President-elect of Ghana after a second presidential run-off of 2008 the Presidential Elections and was sworn into office as Executive President of the Republic of Ghana on Wednesday January 7, 2009.
In July last year, Mills was nominated to be the ruling the National Democratic Congress party's presidential candidate for December 2012 elections. The primary represented the first time in the country's history that a sitting president competed for his own party's nomination.
Mills beat his only rival in the party primary, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, the wife of ex-military leader Jerry Rawlings.
Ghana recently joined the ranks of the world's large-scale oil producers.