A former UN Senior Governance Advisor and CEO of JAK Foundation has taken on the Speaker of Parliament, Alban S.K. Bagbin over his justification for the payment of ex-gratia to MPs.
Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah said the position of the Speaker is untenable.
According to him, the Speaker’s current position is not in tandem with an earlier view he expressed on the same issue.
He, thus, expressed his disappointment over comments by the third gentleman of the land.
“I listened to the two speeches by the Speaker, the one from 2019 and his recent pronouncement on the matter, and clearly you have very effectively exposed the hypocrisy of our political elite in a very terrible way and I feel very sorry for him.
“Secondly, the argument that you just recently made justifying the payment of this on the basis of the personal ambitions of individuals who want to serve the nation, and saying that because you go to funerals and all that, you spend money; you must know that the state is not billed to pay your funeral expenses. So I feel sorry that the man has been very badly exposed for his hypocrisy,” he said on Joy SMS on Thursday, June 16.
The Rt. Honourable Speaker at a public lecture at the University for Professional Studies, on Wednesday, June 15, justified the payment of ex-gratia to Members of Parliament.
He contended that the money is very important for the sustenance of the MPs after serving the country.
According to him, MPs do not benefit much from ex-gratia as the public perceives.
He explained that the money spent by Members of Parliament to campaign for their election is three times more than the ex-gratia they receive.
“We are having these problems because there is some perception that ex-gratia is some huge money…You know that as MPs you don’t benefit from that ex-gratia, you don’t, because the money you spent to be elected to Parliament is thrice or four times what they give you as ex-gratia. No MP leaves Parliament better than the MP enters Parliament.
“Once an MP is elected, he must win the next election, and so they sacrifice everything to satisfy the voters in the constituency so that they could win again.
“So at the end of the day when they lose the election, they have lost everything, they have invested everything in the election, and they now have nothing,” he noted.
The subject of ex-gratia has resurfaced following the former Council of State member, Togbe Afede’s decision to reject over 300 thousand cedis paid to him after serving on the National Council of State between 2017 and 2020.
Subsequently, social media users showered accolades on the Paramount Chief for rejecting the amount paid him as ex-gratia.
The netizens praised him for protecting the public purse and thinking of the growth and development of the country.
Classifying him as a “man of integrity,” the tweethearts urged other public office holders to follow in the steps of the Paramount Chief.
However, the host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme said the renowned chief attended only 16% of Council of State meetings in four years.
Paul Adom-Otchere, said out of 242 meetings held by the Council in 48 months, the former member attended only 39, representing 16%.
“This is the bullet. The Council of State in 48 months held 242 meetings. Out of those meetings, the distinguished Tobge Afede attended only 39 of them, constituting 16 percent.
“This is the fact from the Council of State, and you can check tomorrow. We have gone for it. This is the fact. This is the man, Togbe Afede, that we are talking about.
“He attended only 16 percent of the meetings in four years. However, he was paid every month, and he took all his salaries, and he is entitled to it,” he said on his show on Tuesday, June 7.