Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Agyei Agyepong has said it is wrong to pay ex gratia to persons who served in office for a particular period of time and then come to office again.
In his view, ex gragtia should be paid to only persons who exit office in perpetuity.
He was reacting to the decision by the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV to refund the ex gratia paid him for serving on the Council of State between 2017 and 2020, while speaking on the New Day show with Johnnie Hughes on TV3 Monday, June 13.
Mr Agyepong who was the Press Secretary to Mr John Agyekum Kuffuor when he was the President said “I have have heard about the issue of ex gratia. I do not understand why if you are in parliament, you finish the term, and you are coming back you should be given ex gratia, you shouldn’t.
“Ex gratia is when you are going and you are not coming back, it is like a parachute payment for you to survive because you have given so much to the state. So those who have been in Parliament for five, six, ten years like Babgin, Kyei Mensah Bonsu have been taking these ex gratia every year, it is wrong. This is wrong and we have to change it .
“These are things we have to speak about, when you are leaving office forever and you are not coming back then you can be given that kind of payment but you can’t come back and say, it is a second term. I think it is wrong.”
It is recalled that Tamale North Member of Parliament, Alhassan Suhuyini also reacting to Togbe Afede’s decision called on stakeholders to advocate against ex-gratia payment.
But, he says, the people must first of all, insist that Presidents, when they are sworn in, the first thing they do is to set up a committee that will determine the salaries of ministers, parliamentarians and judges.
Suhuyini who said he respects the decision of Togbe Afede said on the New Day show on TV3 with Johnnie Hughes Wednesday June 8 that “If we want, and I believe we should, advocate against ex-gratia, we must insist that Presidents when they are sworn in, the first thing they do is to set up a committee that will determine the salaries of ministers, parliamentarians and judges. That is the way to get away or to stop paying ex-gratia.
“So I go into Parliament and I know that as I am taking the oath my salary is 1200 or 25,00. So at the end of my four years government doesn’t owe me anything , I walk away. Let us do it and we will save ourselves all this trouble and misundetanding.”
Togbe Afede XIV had served on the Council in his capacity as the President of the National House of Chiefs.
He insisted that the payment was not to trap him, contrary to speculations after he made a refund to the Controller and Accountant General.
“I did not think the payment was made to trap me, as is being speculated,” he stated in a press release on Monday, June 6.
“I believe it was it was paid to everybody who served on the Council of State.
“However, I thought that extra payment was inappropriate for a short, effectively part-time work, for which I received a monthly salary and was entitled to other privileges. So, I was very uncomfortable with it.”
He stressed that he had written to the Council of State to state his reasons for rejecting the ex-gratia.