A Governance Expert, Professor Baffuor Agyeman-Duah has called for the creation of a permanent independent commission with the function of determining salaries of Article 71 office holders.
In his view, this commission will ensure that the noise and confusion surrounding the salaries of the President, Ministers and lawmakers as well as others who fall under this bracket, is settled.
Article 71 (1) and (2) of the 1992 Constitution determines the salaries and allowances of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary paid from the Consolidated Fund would be determined by the President, on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by him and acting upon the advice of the Council of State.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday September 17, Professor Agyeman-Duah who is also Chief Executive Officer of the Kufuor Foundation said the idea of every president coming to set up his own commission to determine how much is paid these officers is totally wrong.
“I don’t think this should be subjected to the decision of one person, the president,” he stressed.
He added “If there is a permanent commission that has a longer period, don’t subject it to political elections where after four years a president goes and suddenly it changes, no. A permanent commission of independent people, experienced people to determine, every five years, so that all of us can have the sort of sanity in the way our salaries determined.”
His comments come at a time Former President John Dramani Mahama has ignited debate on this Article after stating that the government has only paid him GH¢230,000 for salary arrears and denies receiving GH¢14 million as ex gratia.
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Mr Mahama said “The only payment that was made to me by government, Accountant General, was my salary arrears of 230,000 cedis in 2013. I will show it [bank statement] to you first, and later if you want we can call a group of you journalists. Of course, I don’t want to publish my bank statement but I can put it before you and you can look through all the payments and see if there is a 14 million cedis payment. I didn’t receive any such payment.”
He revealed that he pays for things like water, electricity, rent, fuel, medical care, and plane tickets himself.
“I receive only my monthly pension like [former] President Kufuor, and [late former] President Rawlings was receiving [it] before he died. That is all I get,” Mahama said.
“I pay the electricity bill for my house and my office, I pay the water bill for my house and my office. I live in my own accommodation so the State does not pay me anything for accommodation.
In an exclusive interview with TV3, Mahama described the claims made by Bono Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party Kwame Baffoe alias Abronye DC as “absolute lies”.
“That’s an absolute lie. He [Abronye DC] says in 2013 14 million [cedis] was paid into my ADB [Agricultural Development Bank] account. I have my 2013 bank statement I will let you look through it and see if there is any 14 million payment,” Mahama told Ghana Tonight host Alfred Ocansey.
“They haven’t given me an office, I rent an office in East Cantonments, I pay the rent myself, I pay my own fuel, the State doesn’t give me fuel, I pay my own domestic staff, I pay my own medical bills, I pay my own air tickets when I travel…”.
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Responding to him at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday September 14, the Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr Richard Ahiagbah has said the posture of Mr Mahama regarding his entitlements, threatens the peace and democracy of the country.
Mr Ahiagbah said “the conduct of former President Mahama threaten our democracy, peace and security. So, the question is, what does former President Mahama wants to achieve with these needless falsehoods? Could it be so that he can pretend to champion the clamour for the repeal of Article 71? Evidence of this rather unholy politics of former President Mahama abound.
“Former President Mahama’s denial that he is actively accessing his emolument benefits simply exploits the sympathies of unsuspecting Ghanaians. There is no record anywhere that former President Mahama has been renounced or that the government has denied former President Mahama his emolument or entitlement. These bizarre and downright false claims by the former President speak to a grand electoral strategy driven by desperation and deception.