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Article 71 doesn’t recognize spouses of Office Holders – Prof. Gatsi

A lecturer at the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Prof. John Gatsi has kicked against the payment of salaries to presidential spouses, saying Article 71 officeholders are the only ones entitled to such emoluments and not their spouses.

Parliament in 2019 approved a recommendation by a five-member committee which was set up in June 2019 by President Akufo-Addo.

The Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu-led committee was tasked to make recommendations on the salaries of Article 71 officeholders for parliamentary approval, which now includes the spouses of the president and his vice.

Second lady, Samira Bawumia (L) and First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo

Speaking to Dzifa Bampoe on 3FM news on the matter that has infuriated a lot of Ghanaians, Prof Gatsi indicated  Article 71 doesn’t recognize spouses of officeholders outlined to receive salaries including allowances, facilities, and privileges.

Prof. Gatsi told Dzifa Bampoe that payment of salaries to these spouses is a show of infidelity to the constitution and financial encumbrance on the consolidated fund.

He explained that the development amounts to the illegal accommodation of presidential spouses under Article 71.

Prof. Gatsi said the implication is that these spouses are invariably permitted to enjoy salaries, allowances, facilities that may have omnibus applications including vehicles, and retirement benefits. Meaning the cost to the public is much more than salaries.

Prof. Gatsi said while financial resource consideration is very important, citizens should prioritize adherence to legal principles because whether the economy is distressed or not , people must demand what is due them by law.

Prof Gatsi explained that beneficiaries of taxpayers’ money especially Article 71 officeholders are supposed to operate under higher transparency, accountability, and responsibility requirements of public service.

He quizzed that other issues to be discussed are whether or not the spouses will enjoy the tax exemption regime that the president enjoys.

Meanwhile, deputy General Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Obiri Boahen has justified the need for the presidential spouses to draw such salaries.

Nana Obiri Boahen is NPP’s Deputy General Secretary

Speaking on Dwaboase on Power FM, the former Deputy Interior Minister said just as the allowances for the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) are important for beneficiaries, it is equally important for the presidential spouses to be paid.

“Why not? Let’s be honest. In any case, it has approval from Parliament….Personally, I have no problem with it,” he told host Kwame Minkah. “I know before Parliament approved it, they might have debated it.”

Parliament has approved a recommendation by a five-member committee which was set up in June 2019 by President Akufo-Addo, to him and to Parliament on the salaries and allowances First or Second Spouses.

 

By JJ Gyasi Mensah|Myxyzonline.com|Ghana

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