Minority denies receiving double salaries

The Minority in Parliament is denying claims by government that 25 of its 106 members have received double salaries as part of their end-of-service benefits accorded article 71 office holders by the 1992 Constitution.

Believing that the allegation is a “desperate attempt by the Akufo-Addo government to criminalise and harass the Minority in what we believe to be a fruitless and cowardly effort to silence us”, the caucus said the government was seeking to use the “spurious” claim as a bait to divert attention from its failings.

At a press conference in Parliament in Accra yesterday, Casiel Ato Forson, Minority Spokesman on Finance, alleged that government was using the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, the agency purportedly investigating the allegation, for “maneuvering and underhand tactics”.

“Last week, twenty-five of us received strange letters and phone calls from the CID inviting us to confer with Mrs. M.Y.T. Addo-Danquah, Deputy Commissioner of Police and to assist in investigations of allegations of double salaries made against us by government.

“In a bizarre twist, as we were readying to appear before the CID this week beginning from Monday considering that we had been grouped to appear on separate days, the CID called some of our colleagues to inform them that they were no longer required to appear as they had made mistakes with 18 of the 25 Minority MPs originally contacted.”

Stating what he said is the standard practice, Mr. Forson said Article 71 office holders including Members of Parliament, ministers of state and deputy ministers are always paid on account awaiting the establishment and finalisation of the work of the Presidential Emoluments Committee and “this is currently what pertains even in the life of this seventh Parliament and with all current ministers of state.”

In the case of the Mahama Administration, the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam legislator recalled that the Presidential Emoluments Committee did not complete its work until November 2016.

Upon the completion of the work of the Presidential Emoluments Committee in November 2016, the then Minister of Finance, Seth Terkper issued a release to the Controller and Accountant General Department and to the Accounts Department of the Parliamentary Service, for the attention of the Accounts Unit, he said.

That notwithstanding, Mr. Forson said the amounts paid to this category of office holders were not in excess of their salary entitlements as determined by the Presidential Emoluments Committee, “therefore, there could not have been a situation of overpayment or double receipt of salaries by the said office holders”.

Historically, Ato Forson said this has always been the case since 1993 and that in 2009, when President John Evans Atta-Mills took over the reins of government, in the process of implementing the Chinery-Hesse Presidential Emoluments Committee Report, an audit revealed that some Article 71 office holders under the Kufour administration received more salaries in advance than other equally situated appointees.

“We repeat for emphasis that there has been no wrongdoing on our part. The NDC Minority stands ready to submit to the highest standards of accountability any day,” he said revealing that they are weighing their options to court to sue both government and Daily Guide for defamation.

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